Grousing over chickens

It’s a battleground

What would Teddy Roosevelt do about the sage grouse?

What would Teddy Roosevelt do about the sage grouse?


Since when do we treat folks who disagree with us as enemies?

Is your commute to work a war zone? Do you battle your way through the grocery store? Are there thieves camped outside your door?

One consultant advised a call to arms when he lectured leaders in the oil and gas industry.

His views on how to best position your cause is to consider the opposition as an enemy that needs to be destroyed. Continue reading

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A stick of gum for Mother’s Day

When a large family meant a Ford station wagon

Our large family meant a Ford station wagon

My earliest memories of travel meant loading up at daybreak in the back of the family station wagon with three of my sisters and armloads of pillows stuffed in between.

While our parents planted themselves in the front we bundled together in the rear.

We’d drive hundreds of miles from Southern California to visit the cousins up north.

After the sun rose we’d rearrange the car, sit on the vinyl seats and stare out the windows as we wound up and around the Pacific Ocean.

About half-way I’d get car-sick. Continue reading

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A blow to freedom

Poster from the Texas event

Poster from the Texas event

The class assignment is to take an important and controversial issue–current or past–and dig deeply to find the hidden parts of the story.

Stories like the Boston Tea Party of 1771.

Most of us learned the event signaled the critical moment when colonists broke ties with the English motherland by protesting high taxes on tea and dumping a ship full of brew in the harbor.

But historians say the Destruction of the Tea–as it was called until a textbook 100 years later changed the title–was driven by rich merchants who got better prices on the Black Market with cheap tea offered by the Dutch.

The event was more about cash than freedoms. Continue reading

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Indians under glass

C30-Shield
The Indian exhibit currently underway at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City takes an unexpected turn.

The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky
assumes a soft approach.

There’s an Osage pipe, a beaded dress from the turn of the century, a parflesch and a ghost dance drum. Continue reading

Posted in american indian, authenticity, framing, Indian, Indian relocation, Metropolitan Museum of Art, native american, Native American Heritage Month, native press, Native Science, Osage, Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky, propaganda, repatriation | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blinded by perspective

Tibetan woman from the Epic of Everest

Tibetan woman from the Epic of Everest


Ninety years ago John Noel joined a group of determined mountaineers to capture on film their adventures climbing Mount Everest.

Noel’s 1924 silent film has been refreshed and recently celebrated a North West premiere to a packed house.

And while the press coverage of the film will undoubtedly center on the lives that were lost (climbers George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, and porters Manbahadur and Shamsherpun), the celluloid story also offers up images of the Tibetan people eating, praying, working and lounging.

Like the documentary Nanook of the North, recorded in the same time period–and essential viewing for film students everywhere–The Epic of Everest assumes the perspective of the outsider’s gaze. Continue reading

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Do ancestors deserve respect?

Members of the 1924 expedition to Everest.

Members of the 1924 expedition to Everest

I didn’t expect to find a full house Friday night for an hour-long, black-and-white, silent movie from the 1920s.

But Portlanders came in droves to see the West Coast premiere of a newly restored, colorized version of John Noel’s hand-cranked motion picture of the 1924 climb on Mt. Everest.

The Epic of Everest features a clutch of British mountaineers, including George Mallory and Andrew Irvine—who would perish on the trek—and the indigenous souls who guided them.

Two porters also died—Manbahadur, a cobbler from Darjeeling, and Shamsherpun, a Gurkha Lance Corporal—yet their names are missing in the film.

What drew me to the event is the story of George Mallory. Continue reading

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Missing truths

Originally posted on Cynthia Coleman Emery's Blog:

Lithograph of Junipera Serra and subjects Lithograph of Junipera Serra and subjects
As a kid growing up in Southern California (we moved overseas when I was 10) we visited missions that dot the west, built by Spanish priests centuries ago.

I remember the missions reverently: made of adobe and tile that cooled the warm air, surrounded by olive and eucalyptus and madrone trees.

When I read this week that one of the mission’s founders is being considered for sainthood, I recalled the cool missions we visited, smelling the fragrance of the shrubs.

Turns out the stories we heard as kids missed a chunk of truth.

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