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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Revisiting Henderson's Past: Extraordinary Citizen

It's time for another peek into the archives ...

Darrell Posey: Hendersonian Extraordinaire

When Darrell Posey was a young Henderson County farm boy, his parents didn’t think much about the child’s seemingly special traits. He was extraordinarily curious, and he spent his time catching and studying insects and bugs of all kinds. Then again, those are just the sorts of things little boys do, right? Perhaps, but in Darrell’s case, he grew up to make a living of it, and quite a spectacular living, at that.

In high school, Darrell excelled in his studies, earning honors at national science fairs. He attended Louisiana State University, pursuing his undergraduate degree in entomology. These studies were what attracted him to some hands-on research in the Brazilian rainforests in 1977, where he lived for 14 months and acclimated to the folkways of the KayapĆ³ natives. The young, blond Caucasian sharing fluent discussion in the elders’ councils may have seemed like something contrived by Hollywood producers, but the young Mr. Posey went on to earn his doctorate in anthropology and to later become one of the most internationally recognized anthropologists of his era.

To many, it is awe-inspiring to think of the little farm boy from Henderson County who grew up to receive the United Nations’ “Global 500 Roll of Honor” award for his work in fighting rainforest destruction and defending the rights of various South American indigenous tribes and to pave the way to impart to us of the sophisticated values of the cultures of “savage” peoples. Perhaps the moral of Dr. Posey’s life can be summed up in a few words he composed on one of his many quests, “Paddle, paddle, on we go; Till we can go no more. Lightning, strike at every stroke; Still we cannot give up hope.” Ever progressive, Dr. Posey never gave up hope on a better tomorrow.

Dr. Darrell Posey wrote 184 scholarly articles and eight books regarding his adventures with indigenous tribes. To read about his adventures in the Brazilian rainforests or to check out one of Dr. Posey’s books, come visit us at the library. To see what else the archives and genealogy department has to offer, visit our web page here.

Read previous “Revisiting Henderson’s Past” entries.

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