Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Earlier this year, I enrolled in the Doctoral Program of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University. My first classes began last Monday, and during the last seven days, I have immersed myself in reading literally hundreds of pages of dense, scholarly papers. At one point, I thought that I would rather stab pencils into my eyes than continue reading, but then I reminded myself that great things usually come with great cost. In this case, the cost appears in the form of hard work, perseverance, and discipline.

I was convinced that the quantity of reading would achieve no real value. Conventional wisdom would say that nothing is retained if the brain goes into information overload, but much to my surprise, some of the general themes of my reading are beginning to make sense. I'm sure in time I will mention some of these ideas on the blog.   

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Graduation Party

Our class celebrated its yearly graduation party at the IEL. The best part is that many of our students come from other countries, so we always get to try new kinds of food from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. One of my students even made tacos de lengua (tacos of tongue, cow tongue to be specific). I was convinced that I wouldn't like it, but it was actually quite good. 

Another year has come and gone, and another batch of students are moving on to college. It's bitter-sweet, as always. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Rosa Silvestre

La rosa silvestre (rosa woodsii) es muy abundante en el territorio tradicional de los indígena Spokane. Florece durante el mes de Junio, y según los ancianos del pueblo, el florecimiento de la rosa silvestre indica que están naciendo los nuevos venaditos. Durante el principio del otoño, la planta da un fruto rojo que es dulce y muy rico en la Vitamina C.  

Según la tradición indígena, las espinas de la rosa silvestre son buenos para ahuyentar a los malos espíritus. Por tanto, en los tiempos antiguos, algunas personas usaban las ramas espinadas de la rosa para hacer escobas ceremoniales que usaban para barrer las tumbas recién abiertas. Se supone que las escobas hacían limpieza espiritual del área. Ya no se practica eso, pero hasta hoy en día, la gente todavía hace atados de ramas de rosa y los cuelga sobre las puertas y ventanas del hogar para que no entre ninguna mala influencia a la casa. 

Además, se puede hervir las ramas para hacer un té suave de sabor agradable. El té también tiene varios usos espirituales. 

La rosa silvestre es la flor que más prefiero por su belleza y por su significado cultural. 

Está foto tomé hoy en la tarde en la Reserva Spokane. 

Saturday, June 09, 2012


Our Salish class took a field trip to see the bitterroots that grow in a place beyond Coulee Dam and Nespelem. Only four of us went, but we enjoyed the opportunity to discuss traditional culture and continue learning the language.   

En route to the root fields, we stopped at Grand Coulee Dam and could not help but notice the tragic irony of American progress. Inside the museum, the voice of Woody Guthrie crooned, "Roll on, Columbia, roll on," and all the while, the massive waters of the Columbia River, once powerful and free, now lay trapped behind the dam. Outside the museum, a plaque boasts that the dam stands "forever as a monument" and is the "key to new American frontiers of opportunity in agriculture and industry." But sometimes, the opportunity of one nation is the decline of another. The plaque depicts a buffalo, which like the salmon, were decimated by greed and the short-sighted vision of "progress" at whatever cost.  

My sister Kim and Elizabeth at Grand Coulee Dam.

But once we arrived at the root fields, I felt much relieved to be among familiar places. Despite the rain, cold, and hail, my spirit felt more alive than usual. 

I took a few pictures of the flowers, and my sister laughed. She said, "You take pictures of the bitterroot every year. How do you even tell them apart?" I laughed right along with her, but I didn't mention that the faces of the bitterroot are like old friends. It just makes me happy to see them year after year. 

Storm clouds gather over the sage.

On the way home, we stopped to photograph a group of iron statues near Coulee Dam that depict Indian women digging bitterroots. It was an appropriate ending to a beautiful day. 


London had her baptismal service this morning. Afterwards, she performed a song with another little girl who was baptized at the same time. It was a very sweet day for her family. 

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Sunday Drive

Rhonda and I took a Sunday drive with Dakota and visited a portion of the Spokane River that still flows free. The girls decided to stay home, but we got some great pictures of Dakota.

Amazing Grace

Dakota performed "Amazing Grace" at a piano recital with Marsha Schlangen.

He has only taken lessons for about 20 weeks, but he is using a method called "Simply Music" that uses patterns instead of musical notes. Using this method, students typically get results much sooner than traditional methods.  

Honey Dew

Whitney played "Honey Dew" at a recent piano recital with Marsha Schlangen.


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