With all of the fear and uncertainty of recent weeks, we had a blessing fall into our laps. We had commissioned a video account of our Main Street sculpture project last summer, and we now have the completed 4-minute video. Read The Article
Our Josephy Center book group is reading Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, by indigenous writer and professor of botany Robin Wall Kimmerer. We’ll have a discussion of the book on Monday night, March 9, at 7:00 p.m., at the Josephy Center, but anyone is invited to listen in—and at least comment by email— https://josephy.org/book-group/. Read The Article
First off, thank you for reading my blog posts, coming to Brown Bag programs, stopping by to talk about books, Indians, treaties, wild foods, dams, fish, art, and the state of the world.
It’s been a fine year at the Josephy Center: wonderful exhibits featuring “Women on the Edge,“ “Art and Words of the Lostine,” “The Wallowas in Historical Photos,” and “Nez Perce Music.” The Josephy Center took on and managed the annual Wallowa Valley Arts Festival to great applause. The clay studio hums, and we teach special art classes for the Joseph school along with regular Friday student classes. For those of you in blog land, do visit the web site—josephy.org—and take in some of our shows and events when you come to town. Or click on https://josephy.org/video-audio/ to see or listen to some of the Brown Bag programs, exhibit openings, and goings on here at the Center.
My role at the Center is to run the Read The Article
Like many Natives, Doug Hyde was born off-reservation, is of mixed tribal descent, and is a veteran of the Vietnam War. Unlike most, but still a significant number of talented Native artists, Doug was sent from his reservation to the Indian Art School at Santa Fe as a young man. It was there, between growing up on the Nez Perce Reservation at Lapwai, Idaho and serving in Vietnam, that his training as an artist began, and there that he later returned to teach.
Doug is in his 70s now, a mature artist with a large body of work in galleries, museums, and on reservations across the country. But he has no intention of leaving the work and world of a Native artist.
|Nez Perce Tribal exec Ferris Paisano III and artist Doug Hyde|
A recent sculpture project brought Doug and his work, ‘etweyé·wise—“The Return,” to the Josephy Center this June. The project began with a grant to the Oregon Community Read The Article
On Saturday, June 22, 2019, we dedicated a new sculpture at the Josephy Center on Main Street in Joseph, Oregon. Two years of preparation and the artisanship of Doug Hyde gave us a work he calls ‘etweyé·wise—which is an old word meaning “I return from a hard journey” in the Nez Perce language.
|Sculptor Doug Hyde and the Returning Nez Perce Woman|
The walwa’ma band of the Nez Perce was forced out of this country in 1877, leading to a war in which the Indians fended off government armies for almost 1400 miles through some of the most rugged country in the West. They were within 40 miles of Canada when the armies caught the cold and hungry people. A promised return to the West became eight years in exile in Kansas and Indian Territory—what the Nez Perce still call the “hot country.”
The Nez Perce War survivors were allowed to return to the West in 1885, Read The Article
(Uh oh! Sounds like he is going to ask for money—yes, but nicely.)
First, I want to tell you what a privilege it is to work at the Josephy Center. Exhibits are fun—and fun to be a part of. Seeing classes and students, from pre-schoolers to adults, trying paint or clay for the first time can make my day.
And the opportunity to work with the books, papers, and people that are all part of the Josephy Library is just too good. It is humbling to listen to Nez Perce elders who remember their War and exile generationally, as if it were yesterday. It is exciting to hear an elder tell us that some of the kokanee in Wallowa Lake—“The ones trying to get out at the base of the dam”—will find their way to the ocean if given a chance, that a sockeye salmon run, gone for 130 years, is possible again with fish passage at a Read The Article
If you are “in the territory” in June!
Salmon talk—and controversy—today is about “spills” on Columbia and Snake River dams to help push salmon smolt to the sea. Fifty and sixty years ago it was about getting salmon upriver to native spawning grounds.
The June exhibit at the Josephy Center, funded in part by a “Arts Build Communities” grant from the Oregon Arts Commission, opens on Saturday, June 2 at 4:00 p.m. It builds on one that Tamástslikt Cultural Institute on the Umatilla Reservation did last year on Celilo and the dam at The Dalles. They called it “Progress vs. Protest,” and told stories of the economic and energy gains—and the losses of fish and Indian culture on the Big River. In planning this exhibit, Tamástslikt Director Bobbie Conner suggested that we localize, with stories of the dam at Wallowa Lake and the High Mountain Sheep Dam—the one that did not get built—joining text and photos from Celilo.
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 Read The Article
|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 Read The Article
Allen Pinkham Jr. got his dugout canoe into the water at Wallowa Lake in November. He’ll be back for some finishing work on this 16 footer, and then on to the 30 footers! The plan is to build one with the help of modern tools–as was done with the smaller canoe–and then one with traditional tools and methods. And then—he wants a trip on the Snake River in 2018.
Meanwhile, here’s the run-up to launch, and the canoe–and Allen and granddaughter–In the water. That’s son-in-law Travis, whose day job is in a commercial boat-building shop, working with Allen.
|Canoe, Allen, granddaughter, Wallowa Lake|
On Sunday, August 19, we launched Allen Pinkham Jr.’s dugout canoe. This one, as described before, is about 16 feet long, was shaped with help of Jim Zacharias’s mill, Allen’s work with electric chain saw, and his further work—with some minor help from a few of us locals—with chisel, hammer, and adze.
Six of us hoisted it onto James Montieth’s pickup bed, and the six of us lowered it into the water at the boat dock on the north end of Wallowa Lake. There was a big, fancy powerboat across the dock from us, but our craft immediately attracted attention and drew a crowd of 40 or more, including a raft of kids who wanted to try it out.
Which they did. And it floated, and it floated true—not listing port or starboard. Both ends took on about same amount of water, but Allen thinks he can adjust that as he does final shaping of Read The Article
A couple of years ago Allen Pinkham Jr. was here at the Josephy Center teaching beading and drum building. At the end of his stay, he said that “We Nez Perce were canoe people. I think I’d like to come back here and build a dugout canoe.”
I wrote this and sent it out to people on my “blog list,” a couple of days ago, but forgot to put it up on the blog itself, so that those of you who find these musings by other means can know a little more about current doings and future plans. If you would like email notification of new blog posts, send me an email at email@example.com. In any case, thanks for reading, and best of holiday seasons to you…….
So I understand it is “Giving Tuesday” and the tugs on your giving budget are many. And I know that many of you on my blog list also get emails and/or mailings from the Josephy Center—the big house that holds the Josephy Library and hosts music, exhibits, lectures, art classes and workshops. If so, you got a recent fundraising letter, and this Tuesday missive will just be more specific with a library pitch. If you have already donated Read The Article
Dear Friends of the Josephy Library,
It’s been a fine year at the Josephy Center, and for me and the Library. The May exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Nez Perce National Historical Park was outstanding, and the centenary celebration of Alvin Josephy’s birth, which dovetailed with the Indian art and included the opening of a standing exhibit explaining his life and work, matched it. Albert Barros came with a Nez Perce Tribal Proclamation; Bobbie Conner gave a stirring speech about her grandfather, Alvin, and living on this sacred ground; Nez Perce Drummers sang and drummed. One of them, Gordie Higheagle, remembered staying at the Josephy Ranch during a Day Camp, and a long friendship with Al Josephy. Al spoke too, as did daughter Diane.
And visitor after visitor spends the half hour looking at the pictures and reading the texts to learn why the Center is named “Josephy,” and how Alvin and Betty Josephy wove their ways through Read The Article
|Beadwork byAllen Pinkham, Jr.|
|Lyn Craig and Rich at the Josephy Library shelves|