During my visit to the Kalispel Reservation yesterday, I had the good fortune to interview tribal elder Stan Bluff. He spoke about the cultural values that have guided his life from his childhood to the present day. What an honor to sit in his presence and learn from his experiences!
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Yesterday morning, I drove to the Kalispel Indian Reservation. As I passed Davis Lake, it looked as though a cloud had collapsed over the mountainside. The clouds created a beautiful, haunting effect, like a smoky haze amid the trees.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
When I woke up this morning, I saw that a light skiff of snow had fallen over night. This was my street as I went to work this morning.
Layers of trees in the freezing air.
The Spokane River.
A leaf with a frozen pool of water in the center.
A closer view of the water on a serviceberry leaf.
By the afternoon, a light patchwork of snow remained on the ground.
In my dream last night, I traveled back in time to witness a scalp dance, like the one depicted by Paul Kane in 1847 (see above). In my dream, a recently widowed woman wailed and danced in the center of a group of other women from the community. They all sang, danced, and cried together. As the intensity increased, several of the women swooned and fell to the ground. I never saw a scalp, but somehow I knew it was a scalp dance. In any case, the feeling in the air was charged with raw, visceral emotion.
Clearly, I witnessed something powerful, but I didn't understand my relationship to the event. I finally asked my dream guide, "Why are you showing me this?"
He didn't answer. Instead, he waved his hand, and the scalp dance faded away into nothing. More than a hundred years passed in the blink of an eye, and suddenly we were standing in the exact same location, but then we saw the site as it appears in the present day. Where once there was a field, pine trees grew in abundance. A dirt logging road passed over part of the old ceremony grounds, and several HUD houses stood within a half mile of the old dance site.
Based on the landmarks in my dream, I got the impression that the scalp dance occurred near the present-day location of Elijah Road on the Spokane Reservation.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
My daughter and I attended a painting class with Van Gogh and Merlot. We have attended these sessions before, but this was the first time in quite a while. Of course, we always have the chance to paint at home, but it was important for me to create a positive memory with my daughter. My kids are growing up, so I want to cherish these moments.
The college installed a board in the student lair that invites people to write a note of gratitude. The responses were varied and interesting. Some responses were religious and others comical. A few were quite poignant:
I am thankful for:
God, the Savior.
That God woke me up from my 6 month coma.
Chocolate chip cookies.
Opening my eyes each morning.
Being not addicted to crack.
Jesus in my life.
I did not die in Vietnam.
As you read this post, what are you thankful for?
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Once the weather finally turned cold, the leaves began to drop from the trees in earnest. Normally, the changing of seasons from fall to winter sends me into a deep depression, but this year is different. For some reason, the cold air gave me a rush of happiness. I can't explain it.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Friday, November 07, 2014
Tuesday, November 04, 2014
The aboriginal tour is coming to an end. The group will visit the Spokane Indian Reservation tomorrow, and the following day, they will fly back to Australia. Sadly, their visit has been all too brief. This evening, we all shared a final meal together, and afterwards, a small group of us got together for some amazing conversation. We discussed indigenous culture and spirituality in our respective countries, and we found that the similarities are many. In the end, our common experiences created a deep sense of mutual appreciation, understanding, and connection.
In this photograph: Peta, Barbara, and Dixie.