Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Canoe Notes #4

Allen Pinkham Jr was here this weekend working on the canoe. He had some help in a Saturday work party, and the small canoe--16 feet--Is looking like a canoe. To remind, we had it in the water much earlier--Allen wanted to make sure it floated right, without tilting port or starboard. It did, and we got some pictures, etc.

Which means that he could start thinking about the finer points of design and function: making sure the bow is heavier to compensate for the oarsman in the rear; comparing the shapes of bow and stern to photos of old canoes and the new ones being built by river and coastal tribes. It means we took off another 50 pounds I guess. Allen estimates weight at around 300 pounds now, and thinks we can take off more as we clean up the inside hull. Here is what it looks like now, blunt bow to left:


The next move is to finish this one and begin on two 30 foot logs now stored in Jim Zacharias’ yard. Allen talked with Jim this weekend, and the plan is to float the two logs in Wallowa Lake and establish their density--I.e. find the natural bottom of the canoe.

After that--and this is a variation on earlier plan--both logs will be hauled to the Josephy Center, and with a little bit of space on neighbor Sports Corral’s side yard, set them both up to be carved. One will be worked--as this one has been worked--with power tools. The other will be stone and fire. Well, antler, stone and fire to burn out the hull. The power-tool canoe will be another workshop lab, as the 16 footer has been, aimed at making the traditional canoe better.

This all started when Allen taught a beading workshop here a few years ago and said something like “You know, we [Nez Perce] were canoe people long before we were horse people. I’d like to come back and carve one.

Well--our goal is to help him carve three!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Doug Hyde chosen for Joseph Main Street Art project

Nez Perce Removal and Return
Artist Doug Hyde was born in Hermiston, Oregon, and traces Nez Perce, Assiniboine, and Chippewa tribal ancestry. He attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and the San Francisco Art Institute in the 1960s. While recuperating from serious injury after a second tour in Vietnam, Doug learned to use power tools to cut and shape stone. Sculpting in stone and bronze became the passion and focus of his life.

Plateau Indian Art on Main Street is a project of the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture, funded by a generous grant from the Oregon Community Foundation. The Josephy Center’s namesake, Alvin Josephy, Jr,, helped bring the Nez Perce story back to American attention with his classic history of the tribe, The Nez Perce Indians and the Opening of the Northwest, published in 1965.

The grant is part of OCF’s “Creative Heights” initiative, which encourages non- profits, artists and citizens throughout the state to test new ideas, stretch creative capacity, and provide unique opportunities for Oregonians to experience innovative arts and culture. The initiative has thus far invested more than $945,000 through 13 Oregon nonprofits, part of a $4 million, four-year investment by OCF in arts and culture around Oregon.

Hyde will receive a $25,000 artist award in three installments over a year-long period, with additional grant money available for artist travel and expenses, and artwork production. The second finalist for the project was Yakima artist Toma Villa. Each finalist had time to draft a proposal for jurors from tribal and local communities. Doug’s proposal deals with Nez Perce removal and return to the Wallowas. He will visit the city and meet with local artists and Josephy Center and city officials in the near future before developing a final plan.

In 1998, one of Hyde’s sculptures was installed at the White House. In 2008, his bronze, Little Turtle, was purchased for the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s Cultural Resource Center. Hyde has focused most of his efforts in the past decade to help Native American tribes tell their stories.

The Josephy Center and Oregon Community Foundation are proud to give Doug Hyde the chance to tell the Nez Perce story in the town named for its most famous leader.

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Daybreak Star--a Nez Perce Woman



Thursday, April 5, 2018

White Privilege

Washington D.C. April, 1968
Fifty years ago this week I was living in Washington D. C., near DuPont Circle on New Hampshire Avenue. I worked at the Peace Corps office, which was across Lafayette Square from the White House. It was less than a mile walk on Connecticut Avenue from home to work, and walking was sometimes quicker than taking the bus. This was before the Metro, so everything was above ground.

The city ignited with Martin Luther King’s assassination on April 4, and our basement apartment was only a block or so away from the National Guard’s line, established immediately to cordone off a mostly black neighborhood in disarray.

I can’t remember whether we went to work on April 5 or 6, but do remember that there was an immediate curfew in the city (in memory, 4:00 p.m.).  So when we did go back to work the Peace Corps and everyone else shut down by 2:00, so that we could get home and inside.

The curfew went on for days, our basement apartment got dimmer, and, with the curfew, alcohol deliveries at night—a questionable D.C. practice, but one I enjoyed at the time, were not possible.

So after a few days of it, frustrated and looking for a way around it, a work buddy named Charlie, who lived with his wife just a few doors away, my roommate Ash, who worked at the Washington Times, and other Peace Corps friends arranged a pizza and monopoly party at the latter couple’s apartment. Which couldn’t have been more than 4 blocks away.

On a weeknight after work, instead of scurrying home, we grabbed pizza and beer and met at Ted and Carol’s apartment. And after a long game of monopoly, but certainly no later than 11:00 at night, Ash, Charlie, Charlie’s wife, and I started walking home. We hadn’t gone far when a police car wheeled back and put its lights on us. Two black officers got out and asked us what the hell we were doing. And, flashlights in our faces, why did a bunch of well-off white folks think the curfew didn’t apply to us? And why did Charlie, who was black, think that having a white woman at his side and hanging out with white people should exempt him from the curfew?

We were soon at the closest jail, which had been turned into a triage center where protesters, drunks, streetwalkers, and miscellaneous out-too-late-during-curfew folks were sorted by sex, condition, and, presumably, seriousness of suspected offences. After a couple of hours in a crowded cell, we were herded onto a bus and sent to Lorton Penitentiary. There a large gymnasium sized-room had been filled with cots, and we each got one.

I don’t remember much about the night at Lorton, but do remember that we got “tickets,” and that the curfew breaking cost us each about $30 and a missed morning of work. And I remember details of the stop, the jail and the bus ride, where a few black cops used the time—and maybe their grief at King’s death and the turmoil in the city—to spit out a little venom about white privilege.

It would be years before I heard the term.

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