A National Treasure

(written by John Littleton, who was unavailable to log in to post it)

Along with family members, Julia Parker will be offering her annual MAPOM Basketweaving Class on Saturday and Sunday, September 19-20, 2015 at Kule Loklo in the Point Reyes National Seashore. Enrollment is already filling in and should you wish to experience a true national treasure, call College of Marin at 415-485-9305 to reserve a spot. The deeper value in this connection lies with the opportunity to learn from a wisdom keeper who maintains her people’s spiritual relationship with the land. As expressed in the book written about Julia entitled “Scrape the Willow until It Sings,” her words speak for themselves.

“So when we gather, we are always told to give offering – no matter what we have. If I have money or if I am sitting there eating strawberries, I just throw one out there. That is paying back to the earth with the respect of a thank you. So you follow all those rules. You don’t take more than you need. And you do song, prayer and offering.”

MAPOM instructors Julia Parker and Alicia Retes

MAPOM instructors Julia Parker (left) and Alicia Retes (photo by John Littleton)

California Indian Basket Exhibit at University of San Francisco

A collection of outstanding California Indian baskets drawn primarily from mission collections will be on display from August 24,2015 to to November 1, 2015 in the Thacher Gallery’s Interwoven: Native California Basketry Arts from the Missions Forward.  The focus is on baskets made from the mission era through the early 20th century.

You can learn more at web.usfca.edu/library/thacher/exhibitions/interwovenbasketryarts or by clicking the picture.

 Interwoven: Native California Basketry Arts from the Missions Forward

Interwoven: Native California Basketry Arts from the Missions Forward

Tracing Forgotten Footsteps

On Saturday, July 18th we’ll have an opportunity to trace the sometimes forgotten path of our Native people here in Point Reyes.  From 9:30 to 12:30 in the Red Barn near Park Headquarters a dynamic quartet of speakers will regale us with reflections and personal tales in a presentation entitled: “Native American History Past, Present and Future.”  Malcolm Margolin is the renowned founder of Heyday Press, which has been publishing books for many decades on both the environment and Native culture.  Lindsie Bear serves as the editor of News From Native California, the heart full Heyday magazine that reflects both the past and present of Indian consciousness.

Vincent Medina is an Ohlone Indian, who also writes for the magazine.  He’s been particularly active in reviving the Ohlone language and associated culture.  And, our own Joanne Campbell is a cherished Miwok elder who sits on the tribal council.  Joanne received a standing ovation at the end of her talk during the recent Geography of Hope Conference.  To register for the lectures call the College of Marin at 415-485-9305 or pay the $49 tuition fee at the door.  Check out MAPOM.org for more information.

This presentation is actually an official class in the California Indian Studies Program, which is a partnership with The Miwok Archeological Preserve of Marin (MAPOM), the College of Marin (COM) and the Point Reyes National Seashore (PRNS).  The driving vision seeks to keep timeless indigenous practices alive. Classes are offered throughout the year with many conducted here at Kule Loklo.  A sample include: flintknapping, basket making, acorn processing, fire making, as well as field trips to petroglyph sites, basket museums and tracking trails.  Many of the teachers are California Indians, as well as instructors who are leading authorities on Native culture.  The cosmology and worldview which successfully sustained our original inhabitants for so many millennia is woven into these presentations.

After the morning lectures participants are invited to follow the trail to Kule Loklo for the Point Reyes National Seashore’s 35th annual Kule Loklo Big Time Festival.  Highlights include: traditional California Indian dancers, crafts demonstrations, basket making, book sales, jewelry, artifacts and more.  In the course of one day, we’re offered a golden opportunity to follow human footsteps through the 10,000 year history of our land.  Perhaps valuable lessons are embedded in that journey that could serve to address the growing ecological crisis on which Pope Francis has now focused the world’s attention.

Tracking Miwok History

          Not so long ago the prevailing wisdom held that the Miwok Indians were extinct.  In protest the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria loudly proclaim “We are still here.” Marin County was named after the Miwok hero who resisted the onslaught of the European invasion.  Anthropologist, Betty Goerke, has written a compelling biography called “Chief Marin: Leader, Rebel, and Legend” that moves from the ageless time of Native culture to the recent march of the European invaders.

Most of what’s arbitrarily presented as “our county’s history” emphasizes the past few hundred years and pays all but lip service to the thousands of years Native people successfully sustained themselves here in Marin – without, I might add, destroying the environment.  The footprint left by a few thousand hunting and gathering people living harmoniously with the natural world contrasts with the hundreds of thousands of modern inhabitants all struggling to live high on the hog.  Maybe the hard wiring of Homo dominativus (dominating humans) propels us to behave exactly as we do – and thus no real blame.  However, as the MAPOM/COM/PRNS Indian lectures and classes reflect, an alternative quality of human consciousness is also a part of our biological and cultural heritage.

In order to learn from the lessons of the past we could look to the long history of indigenous culture.  We might discover kernels of Native wisdom that could shine light on how to resolve the present climate crisis.  An ethos emphasizing the need to keep the population within the carrying capacity of the environment could point the way. A cosmology grounded in a respectful and sacred relationship with the natural world might suggest some new/old directions for us to follow.

Coast Miwok/Kashia Pomo and national treasure, Julia Parker, has been teaching basket weaving in the Indian Studies Program for decades.  She lives that ageless worldview and incorporates its precepts in her classes.  In the book about her life as a basket weaver entitled “Scrape The Willow Until It Sings,” Julia shares these precious words: “So when we gather, we are always told to give offering – no matter what we have.  This is paying back to Earth with the respect of a thank you.  So you follow those rules.  You don’t take more than you need.  And do song, prayer and offering.”  She’ll be back to teach at Kule Loklo on September 19-20.

And just recently, Pope Francis has shocked the established powers with his stunning encyclical proclaiming the necessity to rethink how we care for “Mother Earth.”  Much of his languaging has the ring of the Earth-centered spiritual practices that guided humanity for those countless millennia.  ”Praise Be To You” Pope Francis!  The tracks of many forgotten footsteps call out for rediscovery.  It’s all about time.

 

Native Americans: Past, Present, and Future

The next class in MAPOM’s California Indian Studies certificate program at College of Marin is a lecture class, NATIVE AMERICANS: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE, on July 18 during Kule Loklo’s Big Time festival.

There will be four speakers:

  • Malcolm Margolin, publisher of News From Native California and founder of Heyday Books, will focus on the past, sharing stories of what he’s learned in his forty years of “deep hanging out” in Indian country. He will discuss ancient traditions, values, and knowledge as reflected in people he’s known, how much of it is still alive, and what it has to teach us.
  • Lindsie Bear (Cherokee), editor of News from Native California and director of Heyday Book’s Indian Programs (The Heyday Roundhouse), will discuss the present. As editor of News from Native California and director of Heyday’s Indian Programs (The Heyday Roundhouse), Lindsie is in constant touch with contemporary Indian writers, artists, scholars, leaders, and cultural activists. She will talk about the challenges of “getting the story right” in a world in which there are so many ways of being Indian.
  • Vincent Medina (Ohlone), will discuss the future. A young man, Vincent has relearned his native Chochenyo Ohlone language and is teaching it to others. He is active in a variety of cultural pursuits. He will talk about his work in reviving the past and his hopes for the future.
  • Joanne Campbell (Coast Miwok), is going to discuss the cultural history of native people, revitalizing the language and life ways and what being Indian means as we go forward into the future. She has served as a member of the Graton Rancheria Tribal Council.

This class is a core class in the California Indian Studies certificate program.

Location: The Red Barn, Point Reyes National Seashore
Time: Sat July 18 – 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Class ID: 578 X01
Fee: $49.00

To enroll or for more information, visit the Community Education class page or telephone 415-485-9305.

Big Time Festival at Kule Loklo – July 18

Kule Loklo’s 35th Annual Big Time Festival is next month on July 18, 2015: Make sure to put this on your list for Summer events. Big Time is the main cultural event each year at Kule Loklo in the Point Reyes National Seashore Park. It will feature Pomo Indian dancing, traditional skills demonstrations, and many vendors.

Kule Loklo is a recreated Coast Miwok Indian Village that is maintained entirely by volunteers.  For photographs of Kule Loklo and Pomo dancing there, visit the Kule Loklo History website www.kuleloklo.com/photos.html

Kule Loklo Big Time Festival

Kule Loklo Big Time Festival

Mary Collier’s memorial service will be April 13, 2014 in Muir Beach

There will be a memorial service for Mary Collier on Sunday April 13, 2014, at noon at the Muir Beach Community Center at 19 Seascape, off of Highway 1.

Mary was a past president of MAPOM and was active in MAPOM beginning in 1974.

Mary was crucial in gaining access to the Kelly papers, and was a co-editor with Sylvia Thalman of Interviews with Tom Smith and Maria Copa.  She was beloved and admired by all. Her husband, John Collier was a visual anthropologist and her father-in-law was famous as head of the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs).

Kule Loklo Big Time is July 19, 2014

The California native village recreation, Kule Loklo, at the Point Reyes National Seashore is again the site for the Big Time gathering of dancers, native story tellers, native and non-native craft and skill demonstrators and much more known as a Big Time.

Miwok Archaeological Preserve of Marin cooperates with the National Park Service and College of Marin in this year’s presentation of many aspects of living California Native cultures.  A class for college credit is offered at the Red Barn from 10 AM to 12 PM and the village is filled with presentations for children and adults from 10 AM to 4 PM.

Watch for updates and save the July 19 for seeing Kule Loklo at its liveliest!

Precious Cargo: Childbirth and Cradle Baskets in California Indian Culture

Now through June 1, 2014

Sonoma County Museum in Santa Rosa describes Precious Cargo exhibit of  Natvie cradles this way, “California Indian people have relied on cradle baskets for centuries to protect their children and also to play a role in shaping a child’s character and directing his or her future.  The basket becomes a vehicle for the community’s most serious views concerning health and one’s relationship with the world.  This exhibition is on loan from the Museum of the American Indian in Novato.”

College of Marin Community Education is offering a course on California Indian Baskets.  Instructors are Ralph Shanks, author of two books on California baskets, Lisa Woo Shanks, co-author and Robert Brewer.  After an introduction students will be divided into groups for direct experiences from baskets from several California native groups.  A Pomo cradle similar to one illustrated by Sonoma County Museum will be among the baskets to be seen in person, not on static display.

Search College of Marin courses for:  CULT 9654A – California Indian BasketsCE01/25/14-01/25/14S10:00-12:00KTDSMN 106CLAS

Register soon for a rare, direct experience with rarely-seen California Indian baskets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://sonomacountymuseum.org/exhibits/exhibitions.aspx

MAPOM will be at the Marin Show – Art of the Americas

This year, MAPOM will once again be at the Marin Show – Art of the Americas in San Rafael. It is the largest show of early California Indian art in the nation and includes antique California Indian baskets, pottery, bead work, rugs and many other items for sale.

Contemporary Native American art will be featured in a separate part of the show, just across the foot bridge from the Marin Center, at the Embassy Suites Hotel.

The MAPOM table at the Marin Show will have a large selection of excellent California Indian books and information on the classes we offer. MAPOM board members will be at the table throughout the show.  We’d love to meet you.  Please stop by our table.

Admission is $15 per person.  This admits you into both the antique and contemporary shows.  You can learn more about the 30th annual Marin Show at www.marinshow.com.

The Marin Show – Art of the Americans will be held at the Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Americas on February 22- 23, 2014 from 10 to 6 on the 22nd and 11 to 5 on the 23rd..

Reflections On Betty Goerke’s New Book “Discovering Native People At Point Reyes”

As a school teacher I introduced the subject of Native American studies each year with the following guided visualization:

          It’s Friday night.  You’re excited about the weekend as you sit with your family for dinner about to begin your favorite meal – maybe spaghetti and meatballs with ice cream for dessert.  Suddenly there’s a heavy knock.  You jump up, run over and open the door.  In your face stands a gang of threatening space aliens wielding powerful weapons.  The leader blurts out “get out of our way” as the whole hoard forces its way into your home.  They scream, “Leave now or we’ll wipe you out with our laser guns!”  Of course you and your family protest, “But this is our home and our land and you can’t have it!”  What do you do?

The answers to this question varied from year to year but generally student responses involved some sort of angry and aggressive resistance.  However, when the power of the dominant attackers becomes evident and the family is either wiped out, dies from alien diseases or runs for dear life, the shocking reality grabs hold.  Seeing themselves as an intimate part of this teaching story allowed the kids to embody the experience of our indigenous people when the overwhelming force of the European invasion descended upon them and their traditional cultures.

Noted anthropologist and retired College of Marin professor, Betty Goerke, doesn’t dwell on this sordid affair in her latest book about our native Miwok who successfully sustained themselves and their environment for thousands of years.  But she doesn’t mince words in describing the devastating impact of the modern world upon their lives.  She writes, “Newly arrived immigrants to California, both U.S. citizens and those from other countries, were hungry for land, livestock, and gold.  They found the native population an impediment to their ambitions, which meant that being an Indian in many parts of California was dangerous.  There were few protections.”

She continues, “John McDougal, an early American governor of California, believed that a “war of extinction” directed against the native population was “inevitable.”  Kidnappings continued, Indian children and women were bought and sold, and bounties were issued for Indians accused of supposed crimes.”

Millions of Indian people across the North and South American continents were killed whether from diseases to which they had no immunity, land wars or outright massacre.  Fortunately such was not the final word in West Marin.  As the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, our local tribal organization, attest: “We are still here.”  And despite the ravages of the past, native communities, both locally and across the land, continue to cherish their cultural heritage.

How do we come to terms with the genocide upon which our country was founded?  For the most part, we don’t.  Genocide is a term reserved for what other conquerors do to those peoples they seek to dominate and/or eliminate.  Even today, I’d find myself in troubled water within many school districts across the land if I presented an opening narrative like the one above.  Or in deeper water by suggesting that the establishment of the “home of the free and land of the brave” was dependent on the eradication of its original people and the theft of their land.  But then, hasn’t this same pattern dominated the conflict-ridden history of the civilized world, at least since the development of agriculture and sedentary living?

But back to Betty’s book.  The first section flows as a well researched and highly readable narrative of the history of our local Miwok people from Francis Drake’s first contact, through the depredations of the mission period and right up to the contemporary moment.  Archival photos offer a window into that past and present.  Like the miraculous rebirth of our Bishop Pine trees after their holocaust of the Mount Vision fire, the text encourages the awareness that our first people have survived the onslaught of the modern world and their descendents remain alive and well today.  She writes, “The Coast Miwok people are now recognized by the U.S. government as a sovereign nation – an achievement that would have seemed unlikely for much of the last two hundred years.”

Betty goes on to describe a recent and momentous occasion in which some sense of reconciliation may have been achieved.  ”In December 2007, both the Catholic Church and the Coast Miwok commemorated the 192nd anniversary of the founding of Mission San Rafael at a mass at Saint Raphael Church on the site of the original mission….In a moving, and unprecedented tribute, retired Bishop Francis Quinn apologized to the Coast Miwok people for past injustices.”  Tribal Chief Greg Sarris, who spoke from the same pulpit, received and accepted the Bishop’s sincere regrets.

In the second section of her book Betty Goerke, an avid hiker, describes a number of “destinations” in the Point Reyes area and how they reflect traditional Miwok lifeways.  These special places include some of the premier hiking trails in the Point Reyes National Seashore.  In company with the narrative, these sites offer an understanding of the sacred relationship between this beautiful natural environment and the people who nurtured it for thousands of years.  The lovely photographs that accompany the text serve as a testimony to the wisdom inherent in our society’s choice to protect and enshrine this stunning landscape as a national treasure.

Available For Purchase At: MAPOM,com