Caddo Indians, Carolina Dogs and Drop City

Personal Reflection: Gerald studied a variety of subjects and made connections between them which most of us wouldn’t have thought of. In this fictional letter from Karl to his friend George, he praises a certain Indian tribe, the region they lived in, a breed of dogs, and others who lived a minimalist lifestyle.


Dear G,

We were talking about taking off to uninhabited (by people, that is) regions. It looks like many of us may be forced to leave our homes some day. When we have brought up the possibility of living in abandoned areas, someone will ask, “But how can you survive there?”

My question is, if your present systems go down, how will you live where you are? You know the systems–water, sewage, electricity. Found out a fascinating thing about city sewage systems. They rely on pumps to maintain the flow because of the difference in elevations involved. When electricity goes out, so does the sewage system!

Back to the wilderness idea. How would you live there? Well, many thousands of people once lived there very successfully. A place that has qualities you speak about a lot–availability of water, trees, abundant wildlife, fertile soil, and a wonderful growing climate–was once inhabited by the Caddo Indians.

They really are interesting people. We know what kind of houses they lived in. Replicas are in existence. They must have been smart people and level-headed too. They maintained a high density population, had skilled crafts and traded with other tribes. They had agriculture, crafts, and trade. The more I learn about the Caddoes the more I like them. Could we live as they once lived and in the same areas–West Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and, I believe Oklahoma? I’m just learning about them, but I sure like what I see.

You were talking about how dogs may be our best survival companions. I agree. The great dog whisperer, Cesar Millan, said that the happiest and best adjusted dogs in America are those belonging to homeless people! They are happy because their people spend all their time with them and share their lives with them, good or bad.

Would John post something on native American dogs? Found out they are healthy, happy dogs, that are natural survivors. For instance, they form packs and when puppies are born, the whole pack cares for them. Carolina Dogs are an old variety from South Carolina and Georgia. They are being restored. Some call them the American Dingo.

Read that dog graves have been found of long ago–pets of American Indian people. Some were buried with the people and beside them was their bowl. So they could have it in their next life, I suppose?

Was fascinated by the story of a group who made huts from thrown out materials like rug tubes and cardboard boxes. It was a 60’s be-in. A book was written about it. I called Caroline (Don’t call her Caro-line. It’s pronounced like Lynn.) Downing of Significant Books. Asked her if they had Drop City, by Peter Rabbit. She asked me, “Do people ever hang up on you?”

Don’t hang up on me, G.

Author: Gerald Franz

Gerald Franz (1935-2014) was like a second father to me in the 27 years I knew him. Brilliant and eccentric, with a wide array of interests, he fit the definition of being gifted. He strove to shake people loose from their conventional thinking. As a Bible believing Christian, his favorite and most studied Bible subject was prophecy. Writing became a means of teaching in his later years. See more about Gerald here.