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Chapter 3: Robert Mirabal – Stilt Walker
I first became familiar with Robert Mirabal’s work through a clip I saw on YouTube. I’m not sure who sent the link to me, but if the sender is by chance reading this, thanks for sending it my way.
Mirabal is a Grammy Award-winning composer and a Native American Pueblo. I watched fascinated as the video began and immediately recognized high production values and good camera work.
The “play,” or the telling and reenactment of the old stories handed down orally for generations, was staged outdoors and at night. The lighting of the scene created another world, almost like looking through a window-in-time of what might have taken place a thousand years ago. As the narrator off stage began the story, I was transfixed by his words.
And a long time ago they say that there were giants that roamed the land. They came from the sky and fell in love with the sons and daughters of the earth. They had the ability to read your mind and foresee the future . . . .
The men would go hunting in the mountains for deer and elk while the women would make gifts to honor these giants.
When I heard this, I was taken aback, because the similarity to the Genesis 6 account and also what we find in The Book of Enoch was too much to be coincidence, in my opinion.
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bear children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
In Mirabal’s Stilt Walker, we hear this:
. . . when the men would go hunting in the mountains, for deer or elk, they would bring gifts to the giants.
The actors are Native Americans and are dressed in period costumes. The scene appears as if the viewer has been transported back in time. The women are preparing the gifts and each of the men is given a gift. The men move slowly and deliberately to the center of the stage where they kneel and face the audience.
Throughout this entire production music composed by Mirabal lends itself to this other worldly tableau. There is a cellist, flutist, and percussionist creating a musical tapestry while synthesizers are also used to layer the sound. Voice modulation is used for a great effect, but more about that later.
The men are statuesque as they wait in silence. At this point the audience must be wondering what is about to happen as there is a sense of anticipation. From out of the wings we hear a cry that is not quite human. And then we hear the thudding of a deep drum as if a very large animal, like an elephant, is coming close to where the men are.
However, it is not an elephant which comes into view but a giant which slowly comes onto the platform. He is at least 10 feet tall! His face is painted white and black and his dark black hair hangs to his waist. He raises his head and once again utters what sounds to me like a cry of anguish. (This is accomplished through an electronic voice modulator.) With every step he takes, the loud boom of the drum is heard. The effect is startling and takes the viewer completely by surprise. He makes his way behind the men who are not moving and waves his large staff over their heads, as if blessing them.
So there you have it, and the first question that ran through my mind was where did this story originate? Why was this being presented here and now in the 21st century? Why the story of sky beings who came to earth and sired giants? How far back did this story go? Did Robert Mirabal know where it originated?
Until the later part of the 20th century, many anthropologists and archeologists did not acknowledge the validity of Native American oral accounts. In other words, they discounted these stories because they viewed them as mythos and superstition.
However, recently there has been a shift in this position and now these stories are being listened to and recorded.
I immediately set about to find Robert Mirabal. I Googled his name and a web site came up. I then went to the site and found his contact information. I called the number, and was a little caught off guard when he answered, but delighted to hear his voice.
My first question after telling him how much I thought of his piece Stilt Walker was where did you hear the story? Did you make it up or was this part of the oral tradition from your tribe?
Robert dived into his answer without any hesitation.
(The following is a transcript from my notes as we talked. Mirabal lives in northern New Mexico and is a Pueblo.)
“It’s an old story from my tribe. To us there’s no mystery. There’s no huge mystery. These elements. It’s the fact that when the US of America has created a system that keeps the people in darkness. It’s not a big deal to us, there was a time when giants roamed the earth and we believe this [emphasis mine].
“When you say folklore and legend people wonder if it really happened. That lifestyle to us is when this took place.
“Were there a race of people that came from the stars? Yes, we believe it.
“Where does the corn come from? What was the origin of the corn? It’s fed thousands of my people. If you study it creates a geometrical shape that encompasses all of life.
“If you were to ask a person a thousand years ago if the corn that fed our people would be destroyed, the people would not have believed you.
“There is no proof from an anthropological view point. I can’t prove any of this happened.
“You can try to find the proof. You will find disheartening features. They—the star people—are all going to show up when the time is right.
“For me, I believe in it. I believe in the old stories. People of the corn believe there was a race of people who co-existed.
“Can we prove it scientifically? No we can’t but we have the stories.
“I’m not interested in proving anything. When it comes to native culture you don’t have to prove it.”
I replied, “Noah, Abraham and those stories we find in the Bible were at first an oral tradition.”
Robert continued: “This—the corn—enables us to survive. How can you grow corn in rock?”
(He is discussing how seemingly impossible it is to grow anything in the barren desert of the southwest, yet his people grow corn in these harsh conditions!)
“What tribe are you from?” I asked.
“A few of us believe there were giants here. Everybody knows the story. To us they are true.
“For me, if you asked my people a thousand years ago that we would be living a fractured existence, they would have told you you are crazy. They would never have believed the wars we have today.
“These stories were shoved under the table as they didn’t fit into what we were supposed to be. If we had won the war—the wars with the white man—things would have been different. We have stories when men would go hunting and the giants would look into your eyes and know if you were telling the truth.
“We are brothers with the stories. We are brothers with the legends. The indigenous people have the stories of the giants [but] they have always stayed low-key because we know they are going to come back.
“For something to be sacred, it needs to be secret.
“Who we are, is a way of life. The people of the stars. Those are the ones who come from the heavens.”
“Is it safe to say these secrets are guarded?” I asked.
“Yes. They—the giants—could read your mind. At one point we could all do that. They knew and kept the people at that time in line.”
“Are you aware that this story parallels the account we find in the Bible, except the star people are called fallen angels?” I prodded.
“You can also go to the angels gone astray.”
Here we have a story handed down through the years, father to son, grandfather to grandson and so forth. Can we trace it back to its origins? Of course not. Should we dismiss it as the mythos of a primitive people that has no basis in scientific fact? The old school might do this, but I believe what Robert Mirabal was told. I believe there was a race of giants that his ancestors encountered.
The Judeo/Christian Bible is full of accounts similar to this. Before writing was invented, stories were passed down orally, just like we see in the case of Robert Mirabal.
Years ago in the ground breaking book Roots by Alex Haley, part of the story hinged on an oral account handed down from one slave to another. I remember seeing this in a documentary about the making and writing of the book.
Haley went to Africa, to the village he was told Kunte Kinte had come from—I’m getting goose bumps as I write this—and there he was led to a man who had memorized the oral traditions of his tribe, going back hundreds of years. He was privileged to sit and listen as the old man went on and on for hours. Finally there it was. He heard the name Kunte Kinte!
Haley asked the interpreter what had been said and he was told that the old man said Kunte Kinte went out into the forest to find wood to make a drum and never returned.
It must have been an amazing moment for Haley and I still recall seeing it vividly, even though it was years ago.
Bottom line for me is I believe Mirabal’s account; there was a race of giants. We may differ as to their origins. Mirabal believes they are from the stars or the sky.
When we read the account in The Book of Enoch, we see that in the days of Jared two hundred watcher angels descended and landed on Mount Hermon. Is there a similarity between the accounts? Was the story Mirabal heard from a more recent time, more specifically after the flood of Noah? If so, this would establish what I believe was yet another incursion by the fallen watcher angels. From Mirabal’s point of view and from the stories handed down to him, giants roamed the land.
Were these the Nephilim? I think they were….