Originally published in 1858, Traditions of DE-COO-DAH is William Pidgeon's chronicle of befriending an Indian named De-coo-dah, last of the Elk Clan from Northern Iowa and Southwestern Wisconsin. After a mutual trust is accomplished, De-coo-dah takes Pidgeon on a walking tour of his ancestors? city sites and ceremonial earthworks. Pidgeon surveys, records data and illustrates most of the locations. Today, one can use De-coo-dah's directions on the Wisconsin River and the Mississippi River and actually locate earthworks still standing after all these ages past. A fantastic read and window into old Wisconsin and its river systems.
First published in 1852, Traditions of DE-COO-DAH is the only remembered work of American writer WILLIAM PIDGEON (1818-c.1870). Today, it is considered an amusing and telling example of the flaws and prejudices found in white researchers of the era, and has been called "a crazy masterpiece of pseudoscience." Pidgeon suggests that the various burial mounds found throughout North and South America are the work of an unknown civilization that lived in those areas prior to the American Indians. American Indian tribes could not have constructed something so grand on their own, according to Pidgeon. Even at the time of its printing, Pidgeon's work was rejected by academics and academic societies, including the Smithsonian Institute and the American Antiquarian Society. While mounds have been found in the places he describes, they do not match his descriptions in exact location, size, or arrangement. Nor has any evidence ever been found to suggest that a more advanced civilization than the American Indians would have been necessary to have built them. Students of history and archeology will find this book a valuable lesson on pitfalls of prejudice and assumption.