Civilized men in all his wisdom, cannot comprehend the wisdom of those who live in harmony with nature.
It is in the rock writings throughout the world, on different continents. We will come together if people all over the world know about it.
Dan Katchongva (1865-1972), Hopi
"Rocks do speak, if you know how to read them. LaVan did. Before he passed away in 2000, he devoted over 44 years to learning their secrets. His entire life has been spent among the Indians. He was familiar with their ways, traditions, and philosophies. Knowledgable in the sign language, fluent in Indian tongues, versed in cryptonalytical methods.
A man who could produce the key to the mystery of rock writings had to be an unusual man, a man tenacious in the quest for discovery. Here is a man with the right tools and the right background to tell this story, not his story, early man's story, the Language of the rocks. This was: LaVan Martineau."
Author of The Rocks Begin to Speak
KC Publications first printing 1973
Douglas LaVan Martineau was born in the middle of the depression on January 3, 1932 to Douglas and Mavis Martineau in Kanab, Utah. He was the oldest of two siblings, sister Betty & brother Marty Martineau. He was orphaned at a young age when his father died, he had no place to go when a Paiute Man by the name of Edrick Bushhead told him “If none of your relatives want you, then I’ll take you in”. Edrick lived in a sheep wagon that was 8 X 12 with no wheels, had one arm cut off and didn’t have a steady job.
LaVan was under age at that time and was eligible for his dad’s social security but nobody told him of this nor did the welfare agents find him to see if he was ok or ask if he had a place to stay, he was left to fend for himself. His sister was taken in by his dad’s drinking buddy until she married at an early age and his brother who had a different mother was living in California with her.
Edrick moved often with LaVan and they worked side by side in the fields as they followed the migratory workers bunching onions, carrots, topping the sugar beets, picking tomatoes and working in a turkey plant. They herded cattle and mended fences and so began his life as a Paiute Indian.
Living amongst the Paiutes expanded his family tenfold as the Paiute people never left an orphaned child alone. The other Paiutes who took him in were James and Mabel YellowJacket who treated him like their own son and their children called him brother. Wedal John called him his adopted son and Maimie Merrycats called him “Moamon e’toouts” (Mormon son).
It didn’t take him long to learn the Paiute language since English was the Paiutes second language and they always spoke Paiute when they could. He learned the different Paiute dances and songs and traveled with his new family to other reservation where he learned about their culture through song and dance and opened his eyes to the sign language used by the elders to communicate with each other when their hearing was fading or gone.
He eventually married a Paiute woman, Doris Kanosh from the Koosharem Band of Paiutes and they had two girls together. While she was in labor with their third child the doctor made a mistake and thought the baby was breach and in the process of turning the baby around killed both the mother and child. She would have delivered a healthy baby boy but hospitals back then did not give special privileges for x-rays or other machines to Paiute Indians and so the doctor made the horrible mistake.
Four years after his first wife’s death, he married Evalina McFee from the Shivwits Band of Paiutes. They had three girls together and had 7 years of marriage before their divorce. They had since remained friends until she passed away in 1996.
LaVan joined the Air Force in 1951, a year later he was assigned to an advanced school, that of an Air Traffic Control Operator and received the rank of corporal (airmen 2nd class), after graduating he was assigned to go to Korea.
After 6 months he was assigned the job of ARTC Supervisor or Crew Chief because of his time and experience. In 1952 he received the rank of Sergeant (Airmen First Class).
The center where he worked was located in the same Quonset hut as the Cryptanalysis Department and most of his tent mates were Cryptographers. These people sent all their messages in code throughout Korea. The science of breaking codes always intrigued LaVan and so with this exposure, he later studied it in earnest.
In November of 1959, LaVan received an honorable discharge and returned to his Paiute life where he soon became interested in learning more about the writings on the rocks. He asked the Paiutes their meanings and was told they all had stories and it was their Indian library full of history and tales.
With his interest sparked he began to write down everything that was told to him and with his knowledge of Cryptanalysis that he learned while in Korea. It became a passion and his mission in life to break the “code” of this mysterious writing system.
While living in the St George, Utah area with his second wife. He noticed that Washington County had become one of the worst counties in the country for petroglyph destruction. When they had put in the Gunlock Dam, at least 40 boulders were covered. He went to the state, county, the contractors and even the front-end loader to try and get them to take an hour and move most of the rocks above the water level of the reservoir so they could be protected. But he got no response what so ever. When they widened the road going to the dam, many more were destroyed.
When the pipeline was put around the base of the Black Hills in St. George, again many petroglyphs were destroyed that could have also been protected.
He was in disbelief that the white community would not listen to him and with that it fueled his fire to make sure that what was written on the rocks were learned and shared and then maybe people would listen and want to protect them.
Little did he know back then that what he learned through Indian teachings and the knowledge that was given to him being raised as an Indian, the world was not ready to hear what the Natives have been saying all along that the writings could be read.
LaVans book “The Rocks Begin to Speak” published in 1973, had opened up a door of controversy due to no prior written proof from the Indigenous people of this land saying the petroglyphs could be read and were instead labeled “Art” by those not understanding its true meaning. Because of the denial of the Indians having a writing system they were called savages when in fact this writing structure is one of the hardest in the world to decipher.
He had organizations formed to oppose his teachings of a written system and therefore called theirs “Rock Art” just to discredit what his book was saying. Anyone who attended their meetings in defense of LaVan was asked to leave.
That did not hinder him and he continued to defend to true meaning of the rock writing system being based on the sign language which was a universal language among the Indians, understood by all tribes of this land.
Those who continue to call it “art” that can’t be read, are themselves deciphering their meanings according to their own theories of the way the sun hits the symbols or that its shaped like an alien and therefore they are correct in their decipherment and all the Indians knowledge are completely wrong. (click on “In the News” link for more on this subject)
LaVan had spent over 40 years devoted to reading the rock writings. He passed away in February of 2000 due to cancer and even the last few months of his life he devoted to writing his final book based on what he had unlocked in the rock writings of the true history of the Indians as told in their own words. This book too will be controversial as he wrote it only for the Indians of the Americas who have lost their knowledge of their true history written on stone, meant to be kept a secret by those who found the truth and set out to silence them.
His life was filled with adventure and wonder and hopefully through this website we can better understand who LaVan Martineau really was and finish what he had started but never had the chance to complete.