Died April, 1014
HAL Sherman was an accomplished artist adopted by the Shawnee tribe. He was a firm believer that the Walam Olum (a.k.a. Maalan Aarum) was a true history of the American Indians especially the Lenape and Shawnee. He relentlessly searched the Internet and books for evidence that his convictions were valid.
Hal found the Frozen Trail to Merica, when it was still in CD format. His email to me was the first feedback that I received. Soon Hal posted the picture below to accompany the Frozen Trail books. The event pictured is the passing of the Walam Olum sticks from a Lenape historian to Dr. Ward of the U. S. army.
Hal put impressive detail into the picture. This picture is as close as we may get to an event that changed history. The Maalan Aarum tells the history of Nordic people calling themselves "Lenape" and becoming "Shawnee" as they migrated through North America.
I am most impressed with the woman's blouse. I had no doubt that the blouse belonged to a Shawnee woman. Hal's details convinced me, when I spent days at Sons of Norway festivals looking at Norwegian women wearing similar blouses.
Hal sent one or two links to me every month. Those links sometimes became important guides to my research. The Maalan Aarum gives testimony to the Lenape being Catholics. But my paradigm was not really firm until Hal sent me the testimony of an old American Indian, who cited the behavior of Indians as evidence of their Christianity. From that point onward, I evaluated what was done rather than accept the reason the recorder used to justify the behavior. I.e. Men, who choose not to fight, may not have been cowards, they could have been Christians dealing in a non-violent manner with their neighbors.
Thus my belief that some American Indians were Christian grew firmer as Hal sent me more links.
One of Hal's most important links came a few days before his death. I had asked him about the English secret mission to destroy a church. Hal responded swiftly with a link to information about Argals voyage to attack a church in Maine in 1612. The information also contained testimony that similar attacks continued for a century. During that century the Norse Catholics were eliminated from American history. The attack on churches is evidence that the English deliberately took action to eliminate the knowledge of Norse Catholics.
Without the 500 years of Norse Catholic history there is a huge hole in North American history. School students erroneously learn that "Vikings" came to L'Anse aux Meadows and left in a few years without leaving an impact of North America. North American history during the next five centuries is not explained in history and reference books. Many tribes, which are descended from their North Catholic ancestors, do not believe they are Christian. They are trying to save their "dying" language, which is alive as Old Norse in Iceland. Hal found the testimony that may help explain why the North Catholic history as detailed in the Maalan Aarum is not in American history.
Because of Hal, because of his firm belief in the validity of the Maalan Aarum, because of his unique talent to find obscure scraps of information, because of Hal's persistence, and, especially because of Hal's friendship, we have a far better knowledge of the Norse Catholics in America.