sgʷigʷialʔtxʷ at 20: Building upon the past, visioning into the future

Kookaburra/Recalecense Richard Rowland (Native Hawaiian). 2005. Clay, marsupial bones, umbrella, stove top element, obsidian. “The works I sometimes make are directly associated with the idea of transformation, adaptability, and the responsibilities I feel toward my culture and toward my community of people, animals, and the whole natural world. I use natural materials in an organically abstracted way that expresses who I am and where I came from – mainly my ancestral beginning, which are deeply rooted somewhere between the landscape and the heavens.”

Kookaburra/Recalecense. Richard Rowland (Native Hawaiian). 2005. Clay, marsupial bones, umbrella, stove top element, obsidian. “The works I sometimes make are directly associated with the idea of transformation, adaptability, and the responsibilities I feel toward my culture and toward my community of people, animals, and the whole natural world. I use natural materials in an organically abstracted way that expresses who I am and where I came from – mainly my ancestral beginning, which are deeply rooted somewhere between the landscape and the heavens.”

 

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

 

The House of Welcome Longhouse Education and Cultural Center located at Evergreen State College in Olympia is celebrating 20 years of groundbreaking work. Work that emphasizes promoting indigenous arts and cultures through education, cultural preservation, and creative expression. The House of Welcome celebrates the essence of that work with its latest exhibition, Building Upon the Past, Visioning Into the Future.

 

We Are One Bond Chholing Taha (Cree/Iroquois). Acrylic on plywood.

We Are One Bond. Chilling Taha (Cree/Iroquois). Acrylic on plywood.

 

 

Curated by Longhouse staff members, Erin Genia (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate) and Linley Logan (Seneca), the exhibition features the works of artists from this land, local Squaxin Island, Skokomish, Puyallup and many other Salish tribes. Tribes from across the nation are also represented, from Alaska, the Plains, and across the Pacific Rim, including Kanaka Maoli artists from Hawaii and Maori artists from New Zealand.

 

Hummingbird Moon Malynn Foster (Squaxin Island and Skokomish). 2015. Acrylic, pastel, mixed media on canvas.

Hummingbird Moon. Malynn Foster (Squaxin Island and Skokomish). 2015. Acrylic, pastel, mixed media on canvas.

 

`Works on display include paintings, drums, carving, beadwork, photography, baskets, and jewelry.

The subjects and techniques exhibited by the Longhouse artists draw from a diverse range of stylistic traditions, which arise from cultural teachings, ancestral lineages, and each artist’s unique experiences as indigenous peoples.

The exhibition was on display from March 31 – May 11. The House of Welcome was gracious to allow syəcəb staff a private tour of the exhibition so that we could share amazingly creative and exceptional Native art with our readers.

 

Supernatural Seawolves Joe Seymour (Squaxin Island and Acoma Pueblo). 2015. Acrylic on paper. “Supernatural Seawolves is a reproduction of an old spindle whorl that I studied at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington D.C. My trip to the NMAI was made possible through the National Native Creative Development grant through the Longhouse. The design shows two double-headed seawolves. I created this print while working with Lisa Sweet in Artistic Inquiry: Relief Printmaking program during the 2015 Spring quarter at TESC.”

Supernatural Seawolves. Joe Seymour (Squaxin Island and Acoma Pueblo). 2015. Acrylic on paper. “Supernatural Seawolves is a reproduction of an old spindle whorl that I studied at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington D.C. My trip to the NMAI was made possible through the National Native Creative Development grant through the Longhouse. The design shows two double-headed seawolves. I created this print while working with Lisa Sweet in Artistic Inquiry: Relief Printmaking program during the 2015 Spring quarter at TESC.”

 

Cedar Bark Fedora Patti Puhn (Squaxin Island). 2016. Red and yellow cedar bard, sinew, pheasant feathers.

Cedar Bark Fedora. Patti Puhn (Squaxin Island). 2016. Red and yellow cedar bard, sinew, pheasant feathers.

 

Swimming Together In 2015, Artist-in-Residence and Longhouse grantee Nora Naranjo Morse (Tewa) conducted a two-week workshop to create a clay fish installation that will be installed on the future Indigenous Arts Campus at the Evergreen State College. In preparation for the workshop, Nora harvested and processed clay from Santa Clara and Taos Pueblo in the traditional way. Under the guidance and expertise of Nora, the Longhouse staff team joined with community artists to hand-build ceramic fish from the beautiful micaceous clay provided. Together, the tribal participants represented many different regions of the U.S. At the start of the workshop, the group came together to tell fish stories form their tribes. “Swimming Together” represents the connection of Indigenous peoples to the land and sea, and people of many cultural backgrounds working and learning together. This installation is a selection of the fish created during the workshop.

Swimming Together. In 2015, Artist-in-Residence and Longhouse grantee Nora Naranjo Morse (Tewa) conducted a two-week workshop to create a clay fish installation that will be installed on the future Indigenous Arts Campus at the Evergreen State College. In preparation for the workshop, Nora harvested and processed clay from Santa Clara and Taos Pueblo in the traditional way. Under the guidance and expertise of Nora, the Longhouse staff team joined with community artists to hand-build ceramic fish from the beautiful micaceous clay provided. Together, the tribal participants represented many different regions of the U.S. At the start of the workshop, the group came together to tell fish stories form their tribes. “Swimming Together” represents the connection of Indigenous peoples to the land and sea, and people of many cultural backgrounds working and learning together. This installation is a selection of the fish created during the workshop.

Oregon, Washington Prison Inmates Enlisted To Rear Threatened Plants & Animals

Inmate Adrianne Crabtree and ODOC Captain Chad Naugle plant violets in a meadow of the Siuslaw National Forest to support recovery of the threatened Oregon Silverspot butterfly. | credit: Larkin Guenther Institute for Applied Ecology

Inmate Adrianne Crabtree and ODOC Captain Chad Naugle plant violets in a meadow of the Siuslaw National Forest to support recovery of the threatened Oregon Silverspot butterfly. | credit: Larkin Guenther Institute for Applied Ecology

 

By Tom Banse, Earthfix

In a growing number of Northwest prisons, inmates are rearing endangered plants, butterflies, turtles and frogs for release in the wild.

It started just over a decade ago at a minimum security prison near Olympia. Now inmates at four Washington prisons and three in Oregon are raising dozens of different types of plants, insects and animals to use in restoration, many of them rare or endangered.

Tom Kaye directs the Institute for Applied Ecology, one of the partners in the Oregon Sustainability in Prisons Project. He said the advantages of working in prisons outweigh the security complications.

“The inmates are capable of giving more attention to these organisms than anyone else because they have more time to commit to it,” Kaye said. “They can really nurture and take care of these animals. The same thing is true for these plants.”

In Oregon, inmates at the state prison near Ontario are growing sagebrush to support habitat restoration for the greater sage grouse. Inmates at a correctional center in Salem are rearing threatened golden paintbrush on the prison grounds for seed production. Female inmates at Oregon’s Coffee Creek prison grow the early blue violet, which provides sustenance for rare butterflies when out planted on the Oregon Coast.

Oregon Department of Corrections sustainability coordinator Chad Naugle said, “There is huge interest on the inside” to get these work assignments.

Kaye described gardening as a “calming” activity for inmates, who in addition can acquire vocational skills while they help to rehab the environment. “There are substantial gains on all sides,” said Kaye. “We’re able to get so much more done for ourselves in the mission we are trying to accomplish… it really helps us extend our capacity.”

Prison nurseries in the older program in Washington state have raised 64 different plant species for restoration of South Puget Sound prairies according to Sustainability in Prisons Project program manager Kelli Bush. The Washington program has also partnered with Northwest zoos and state and federal agencies to rear endangered animals as well.

“Since 2009, over 700 federally-threatened, state-endangered Oregon spotted frogs have been reared from eggs to adults at Cedar Creek Corrections Center,” wrote Bush via email from Olympia. “Frogs are released into Pierce County wetlands each fall. To increase the sustainability of this project, crickets are raised as a supplemental food source.”

The minimum security Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women near Belfair raises the endangered Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly from larvae for release into the wild.

The Washington prison program was co-founded by The Evergreen State College and Washington State Department of Corrections in 2003. Participating inmates are paid a nominal rate for their labor. Federal and foundation grants cover most of the program costs.

This was first reported for the Northwest News Network.

The Evergreen State College Creates New Position for Tribal Relations

With the goal of deepening and expanding relationships with tribal governments in the Pacific Northwest, The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington has named former Makah tribal chairman Micah McCarty to the new post of Special Assistant to the President for Tribal Government Relations.

“Micah is a noted tribal leader and artist, with great experience in health care, cultural survival, treaty resources, sustainable development, and energy issues,” said Evergreen President Thomas L. “Les” Purce. “We know his expertise and passion will help us strengthen our relationships with Native communities.”

McCarty is working with the Washington state-based Tribal Leaders Congress on Indian Education to review curricula and educational pathways for Native students, from the Head Start program up to the Ph.D. level. McCarty has also established a relationship between local tribal governments and the college’s newly formed Center for Sustainable Infrastructure to improve tribal water systems.

Some 4.5 percent of current Evergreen students are Native American. Evergreen hosts the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center, the first Native longhouse built on a public college campus in the U.S. The college also offers a master of public administration degree with a concentration on tribal governance, a program of study on Native American and world Indigenous Peoples, and sponsors a reservation-based program where classes are offered locally and the study topics are determined in partnership with tribal authorities.

McCarty previously served on the National Ocean Council Governance Coordination Committee and former Governor Christine Gregoire’s blue ribbon panel on ocean acidification. He is also focused on what Native communities have to offer Evergreen.

“Tribal governments are great educational resources, because of their growing diversity in expertise. It only seems logical that we find more ways to work together for the advancement of education as a whole,” said McCarty. “Long-term tribal leadership is based on interdisciplinary experience and creative thinking—both of which are great Evergreen attributes,” he said.

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/01/25/evergreen-state-college-creates-new-position-tribal-relations-153240

Evergreen students carve wood, imprint culture in arts program

The new carving shed at The Evergreen State College is hosting its first artist-in-residency program: carving cedar bentwood box drums.

By Lynda V. Mapes

Originally published April 7, 2013 at 8:09 PM

 In the Seattle Times

Evergreen students carve wood, imprint culture in arts program The first class of students at The Evergreen State College’s new carving shed learned to make bentwood box drums from master carver David Boxley, center, over the weekend. Clifton Guthrie, left, puts a bend in his box drum after steaming the cedar board to soften the wood.
Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times

Evergreen students carve wood, imprint culture in arts program
The first class of students at The Evergreen State College’s new carving shed learned to make bentwood box drums from master carver David Boxley, center, over the weekend. Clifton Guthrie, left, puts a bend in his box drum after steaming the cedar board to soften the wood.
Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times

OLYMPIA —

It’s the scent that hits you first: cedar. Pungent yet sweet, overpowering and cleansing.

The source was soon obvious: a stack of gigantic, old-growth cedar planks, awaiting the first students in the new carving shed just opened at The Evergreen State College. They started Saturday and will spend the next two weekends with David Boxley, a Tsimshian master carver based in Kingston, Kitsap County, learning how to make cedar bentwood box drums.

The class is the inaugural program in the shed, built with part of a $500,000, three-year grant from the Ford Foundation. The shed is envisioned as the first of very big things to come at Evergreen, with the launch of a new master’s of fine arts degree program in indigenous arts, the only one of its kind in the Lower 48, said Tina Kuckkahn-Miller, director of the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center at Evergreen.

The carving shed is intended as the first building of more to come to house the program, she said.

Awe-struck by the big, beautiful planks, some of the students had to settle down before making their first cuts. It wasn’t just the wood — though a single slab of old-growth cedar more than 3 feet wide is an awesome material to work with. It was also the realization that carving in the tradition of their ancestors isn’t just any job.

“We are about to push our canoes out; don’t take this lightly,” Boxley said before beginning class.

“What you are about to do has been done for thousands of years. Wood is being bent for the right reasons. Not for commercial purpose, but for our ceremonies. To uplift our culture,” Boxley said.

“Try really hard. Don’t get frustrated. And at the end, hopefully there will be 10 box drums, ready to make some noise.”

In addition to hand tools, including heirloom handmade carving knives, carvers ripped into the big planks with circular saws to trim off rough edges.

Fred Fullmer, of Kirkland, a Tlingit artist, brought his granddaughter and another member of his dance group along to work on the box drum they hope to use in performing their songs and dances.

More commonly used by northern tribes to accompany ceremonial songs and dances, the box drum is a coveted novelty in Coast Salish country. Here, bentwood boxes are more familiar art pieces than box drums.

They are large, rectangular musical instruments made from a plank of cedar, steamed to bend it into a box shape.

Left open on one side, the box becomes a powerful drum, to be stood on one end, or, traditionally, hung from a rope of twined cedar bark. Struck with a hand or a padded beater, the box drum speaks with a deep resonant boom, louder and lower in tone than a skin drum.

Just carving the drum is fulfilling, Fullmer said, because it connects him with his ancestors.

“When I am carving I get to go through the same experiences they did,” he said. “To me, it is part of the fabric of our culture, it’s not just one thing, standing by itself. It’s all the pieces. The language, the songs, the dances, carving.”

Brandon Mayer, 17, of Shoreline, carefully unwound a canvas tool case to use his grandfather’s carving tools for the first time.

“What a thing to be part of. It’s a real honor to be preserving this art, bringing it back,” said Mayer, who is Haida and Tlingit.

Upper Skagit artist Peter Boome, of Tacoma, usually a print maker, said he was thrilled to have a chance to carve a bentwood box drum for the first time.

Every piece of art is a chance to inspire someone, Boome said. “Complacency isn’t an option.”

Lynda V. Mapes: 206-464-2736 or lmapes@seattletimes.com