For thousands of years, mankind has been telling stories using various forms of communication. Some passed verbal stories down from generation to generation, as others carved visual symbols deep into solid rock surfaces — cave art.
Fast forward to the battlegrounds of France during WWI where nine members of an Indian tribe from Point Pleasant, Maine, called the Passamaquoddy proudly served and carved images in the cave’s wall to represent their heritage during their trench warfare days.
Even though these carvings exist, the question remains:what stories were the Passamaquoddy Indians trying to tell us?
Shown here are the 9 documented Passamaquoddy tribe members that served in Yankee Division I company during the Great War. (Source: Smithsonian Channel, YouTube)
Although 25 Passamaquoddy men were sent to fight, 9 of them fought in the Yankee Division.
To gain more information about these findings, military historian 1st Lt. Jonathan Bratten, questioned the meaning behind these quarry cravings that only a Passamaquoddy Indian could translate.
The craving above appears to be a birch bark canoe, and the highlighted detail in the hull shows what looks like the swastika Germans would later use to represent the Nazi Reich.
For the Passamaquoddy, however, it’s a cultural symbol that dates back thousands and thousands of years meaning peace and friendship.
Check out the Smithsonian Channel‘s video below to explore the caves and learn the stories behind stories.(Smithsonian Channel, YouTube)Fun Fact: Nearly 99 years later, the families of 6 men from the Passamaquoddy tribe who volunteered to fight during the WWI conflict finally received official recognition and honored for their heroic contributions.