Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 4th, 2006
Fair is fair. I asked some questions here yesterday (although some people made the jump to the mistaken notion that they were declarative sentences). Please see specifically, Bigfoot = “Digger Indian”? Racism Revisited and the comments following that blog.
I wondered aloud about M. K. Davis’s reading of history (which seems to be different than mine), his promotional but incomplete comments for a forthcoming film that compares Native people (no matter when they appeared in America) to the cryptid seen in the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot footage, and his employment of certain terms that have a deeper history and meaning than he wishes to acknowledge. But fair is fair; M. K. Davis can have time for a rebuttal here.
Therefore, please find below M. K. Davis’s statement that is floating around the Bigfoot community, completely unedited by me (not even for spelling) and just as it was sent to me. There are always two sides to a story, and I do respect the work that M. K. Davis has contributed to the field in the past.
My grandfather was 1/2 Choctaw. I was very careful of what I meant when I said what I said. I stated that I was not referring to the derrogotory meaning that has been labeled upon various tribes in more recent times. I was referring to the term applied in earlier times to a people who sustained themselves by digging for roots and grubs with what is called a “digging stick”. I went looking for this information after I found that the Patterson subject was carrying such a stick. Here is a quote from Theodora Kroeber’s book on Ishi the last member of the Southern Yahi/Yana tribe of California.
“What then of the Digger Indians who are supposed to have been the aborigines of California, to have spoken a gutteral language, and to manage barely to maintain a miserable existance by eating the roots that they dug from the unfriendly land with that most generic of tools, the wooden digging stick? Alas the diggers are a frontier legend.”
Dr. Kroeber was obviously referring to a group of people that were different than other tribes, as she was referring to them, after discussing the possible asian origins of Ishi, who had an unusual bow relelase that was found only in Mongolia. The term “Digger” only became a derrogotory term applied much later to various tribes. It is the earlier people that I’m interested in and referred to by the only name that they were ever called. They
dug with the digging stick and were thus called Diggers. No racism was meant or implied. If you listen to the archived show, you will see that I am careful to distinguish the two terms and that I was referrring to the former.’
I sincerely hope that you understand that I meant nothing towards anyone regarding my use of the term. Do you think that Mr. Coleman really believes that I’m a racist? Maybe, perhaps he has something to lose? At any rate, if I am right, it really has to be one of those strange twists of fate, that a man that accuses me of racism, by using such an innocent term, has himself called a fellow human being a gorilla. I hope that you all understand. M.K.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.