Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spokane Falls

Yesterday evening, McKenna and I stopped on the Monroe Street Bridge to see Spokane Falls. The water level is higher than normal so the falls make a powerful roar.

Using a slow shutter speed, the water looks like a white blur against the steps.

The old Washington Water Power Building, now owned by Avista.

The Spokane County Courthouse.

McKenna at Spokane Falls.

Black Light

The cast and crew of Alice earned a "black light party" on the stage of the Bing Crosby Theater as a reward for selling more than 2,000 tickets to the show. Many of the kids dressed in white and painted their arms with florescent markers - all to create a more psychedelic effect, or course.

Dakota looks sinister.

Whitney and her friends.

The kids had a highly entertaining experience while I got some interesting photographs.

With my tripod in hand, I finally got an opportunity to take some worthwhile pictures of the interior of the Bing.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


CYT's Alice throws a modern twist onto the original story. In this version, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are a couple of high school students with punk rock aspirations. Several times throughout the show, the two strum their air guitars while the orquestra plays the real thing. It's a very cool effect.

Alice meets a giant caterpillar singing, "Who are you?" This is one of many mind-altered scenes in the play.

A close-up of Dakota in the caterpillar.

The Cheshire Cat.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Lilac Parade

The Lilac Parade is becoming a family tradition. This is now the third consecutive year that I have marched in the parade while my family watches. This year, Rhonda and the kids invited a large group of family and friends to join us.  

Marching in the parade is an opportunity to see many different kinds of human interactions, mostly positive. This year, I paused for a moment along the parade route and shook hands with a small group of Japanese tourists. They seemed thrilled by the gesture. One man shook my hand enthusiastically as we bowed to one another. "Arigato, arigato," he said over and over again. It was heartwarming to share this one brief moment of cultural exchange. Others stopped me along the way and asked to take my picture; it almost feels like being a celebrity for a day.

Some interactions are negative. Every year, at least one group of children will make stereotypical war-hoops with their hands over their mouths: "woo, woo, woo, woo..." This year in particular, one woman called out to me and said, "Hey Indian! Come here, I want to take your picture." I generally accept polite requests for pictures, but I ignored this one. I looked the other way and just continued walking. Another woman was sitting with her child. She pointed at me and said, "Look Timmy (or some other child's name), what is that?" I was stunned. I can't remember the last time someone called me that, or any other objectifying term. I almost stopped to confront her, but once again, I just kept walking.

Despite a few bumps along the road, I'm happy to say that most of my parade experiences are positive. Most importantly, I'm happy to represent the Spokane Tribe and to let the community know we're still here.


Dakota and Whitney played a part in CYT Spokane's production of Alice, which I saw for the first time on Saturday. This adaptation of Alice in Wonderland is more delightfully psychedelic than the original, but to be honest, I would be hard pressed to summarize the plot in a few simple words. The play is - well, crazy - but in a fun and entertaining way. The plot becomes irrelevant against the amazing singing, acting, and scenery.

This version of Alice takes place in a modern high school setting. But like the original, Alice enters another reality, meets the Mad Hatter (among others), kills the Jabberwock, and confronts the Red Queen. Contemporary images and music are scattered throughout the play. For example, Alice meets the Mad Hatter in a television studio, and the Red Queen is a rock star.

Tickets are still available HERE.

Alice choosing the doorway of possibilities.

Alice encounters a group of "hippies"

I didn't totally follow how this scene relates to the play, but I was entertained nonetheless.

The Mad Hatter on Vani-Tea Tea Vee.

The Red Queen sings for the cheering crowd.

Dakota's character was fired by the Red Queen.

Whitney appeared in one of the classroom scenes.

Dakota after the show.

Whitney after the show.

Dakota was part of the caterpillar and got to wear this awesome hat.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Rapture

I drove to Wellpinit this afternoon thinking about the rapture.

Of course, news reports have given an extraordinary amount of attention to the preachings of Harold Camping who predicted that rolling earthquakes would spread across the globe on Friday night (tonight), followed by the rapture of true believers at 6:00 pm Saturday night, May 21, 2011. Some people have an enduring fascination with apocalyptic theology, while many others look on with curiosity, if not ridicule.

But why the rapture? Why all the attention? Why all the doomsaying? What is it about the world that makes people long for another place? Yeah, I understand that humans have made a pretty big mess - wars, bloodshed, violence, injustice, ecological destruction - you name it. But if you step outside and see the beauty of the creation, how can one fail to see that the earth is truly a paradise? As I look upon the blue skies, the flowing river, and the green grass, I feel gratitude and love. Why would I want to leave all this behind? Instead of abandoning the world in some kind of cataclysmic end times scenario, why can't we reconcile ourselves instead?

The emphasis on rapture and deliverance seems misplaced. When Jesus taught his followers to pray, he did not tell them to seek some other world, but rather declared, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." When I see the awesome power of nature, I think that kingdom is already here, if only we have eyes to see.

The Spokane River spilled over Nine Mile Dam with impressive force.

A couple of views from the Spokane Reservation.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Drumheller Meeting

Recently, the Lands Council and a local high school group planted ponderosa pines within a culturally and ecologically sensitive area at Drumheller Springs. Many indigenous food plants were disturbed during the planting and many others threatened over the long term. I wrote about the incident here.

I expressed my concern to my friend Kirsten Angell, who is a board member at Lands Council. She arranged a meeting with Kat Hall, also of Lands Council, and Angel Spell, urban forester for the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department. The four of us met at Drumheller Springs, along with my son Dakota.

We started at the western edge of the park and walked toward the spring, stopping along the way to discuss the native plants - the bitterroots, brown camas, wild onions, arrowleaf balsamroot, wild carrots, and others. We talked about the plants from a scientific perspective, but we also addressed the cultural aspect of each one - the history, the language, and even the spirituality. Most importantly, I spoke of my deep love for this land and for all the plants growing here.

Prior to our meeting, I prepared a small sample of foods harvested from Drumheller Springs. I wanted my friends to experience Drumheller through the foods, and not just through words. After hearing all the stories, we sat together on the ground and enjoyed a small meal.

After sharing a beautiful cultural experience, we continued walking toward the new tree plantings. The contrast in mood was palpable. As we walked together, I noticed them stepping more carefully and seeing the park through different eyes. Then I think they understood.

At the conclusion of our meeting, I asked them to 1) remove the trees, and 2) get the city to create a special designation to prevent future plantings.

In the short term, I'm happy to report that Kat from Lands Council made a commitment to remove the trees to another location. For the long term question of creating some kind of legal designation, Angel agreed to address the issue with the staff at the Parks and Recreation Department. She acknowledged that we might encounter some difficulties, but she expressed an openness to helping.

I will post updates as they become available.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


tam qsipi čn xʷuy ččsax̣m č' wilbur u čn x̣ect t p'uxʷp'uxʷ.

łuʔ p'uxʷp'uxʷ epł piq snc'ʔekʷt.

nexʷ epł k'ʷk'ʷiyumeʔ picčł l' nišut n stulixʷ.

epł xʷeʔyit sq'ʷastqin.

hi q'ʷay łuʔ sččmasqt. hi čtim'.

x̣ʷelntm t citxʷ ččsax̣m łuʔ p'uxʷp'uxʷ.

Little Falls

These photographs were taken last Friday at Little Falls, Washington.

Spring run-off feeds a torrent of water over the falls.

The old Little Falls Bridge.

When I stopped to take these pictures, two Canadian geese flew directly overhead and came to rest on this tree.

Serviceberry flowers bloom nearby.


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