Signal Trees

Oct 30, 2019

Credit K. Ouchley

In the last few years, GPS devices have become ubiquitous in our culture. Whether one is motoring the maze of big-city freeways or navigating a pirogue through the Atchafalaya Swamp, a GPS unit eliminates all excuses for becoming lost. From a historical perspective, this raises the question of how people navigated across wilderness landscapes 200 years before Garmin and Magellan. Without a doubt, such skills in Native Americans were almost innate because their lives depended on it. One of their techniques observed by early European explorers involved the concept of signal trees.