An Anniversary

Friday, December 7th, 2018
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Thoughts & Meditations | Comment
Photo of Clarissa Rizal by Sioui LaBelle

Mama kept her bedroom curtains open so that in the morning she would be woken by the sun. She would point the foot of her bed toward the east-facing widow when possible. She would drink her tea in the warmth of the sun rays, and plan her work schedule around gardening time. Every weekend drive had a road-side landmark, when ”the lighting” was praised.

I’ve come to notice that I chase the light now, the warm yellows and Southwest rays. In truth, it is the presence of my mother, and all the essence of her that comforted me as a child, and made me present, still, safe; and so it is love. And if my mother is looked past, it is all those that came before her, and those that come *from* her; and so it is life.

In this early light, seven hundred and thirty mornings since I last held her hand, the anniversary of her passing carves out time for remembrance of the lifeforces that came before me. Those resilient, traumatized immigrants and natives, continue to pump out innovative, fierce, motivated human beings… and as I turn my face to the truth of the morning glow, today I’m softened and reassured that all is as it should be.


Paper Moon

I always wanted my photo taken on a paper moon. So when my bro-in-law Blue Haas and partner-in-crime, Chenni Hammon, thought we should do a Prohibition-themed fundraiser for the Pagosa Peak Open School, I demanded that a paper moon be made (that my other bro-in-lawJeffry Haas executed). While it was one of the most popular features for the event, there was so much more that made it a roaring success. Thank you to everyone who came out to help support the charter school, or maybe just came out to dance to the blues. It was one of the most fabulous things I’ve ever organized! And I still can’t fathom how we were able to wrangle up enough support from all the dozen of volunteers that made such a crazy party possible… and the incredible band that played for dirt cheap, including the screamingly talented Faith Evangeline, Dc Dave Duncan, and Blue Haas, and those that sang/played for nothing including Chris HaasKathy Keyes, and Dale Scrivener.


A Visit to the Burke

Demonstrating weaving at the Burke Museum on my mother’s full-size robe loom.
This video about the Bill Holm Center features a short clip of Lily and I getting pumped on the observations of an “old” Chilkat robe — but also explains why the Center is so dang awesome! An amazing resource to have as an indigenous person.

Lily and I were fortunate enough to visit the Burke Museum in Seattle, Washington in place of our mother, whom was awarded a research grant from the Bill Holm Center before her passing.

We also offered to demonstrate weaving Ravenstail and Chilkat on two separate days, and gave two lectures on basic history and current practices of traditional and contemporary Northwest Coast textile weaving.

The staff at the Bill Holm Center was amazing to work with during our visit — Haliehana Stepetin (Unangax) and Justin McCarthy (Yup’ik & Tlingit) assisted us in viewing anything in the [massive] collections that our hearts desired, shared findings and speculations from other artists and anthropologists that had visited before us, and inspired us in new ways with their own creative thought-processes and personalities. We shared long conversations and drives with Katie Bunn-Marcuse (Center Director) and Bridget Johnson (Assistant Director), who were mainly tasked with organizing our stay and making us welcome… but I think we were having much more fun with them than either of us had anticipated.

Helen Carlson and John Nicholson from The Legacy Ltd gallery picked us up from the airport and shuttled us around during our brief 4-day trip. I sure hope it’s not the last time we get to see them.

Chilkat weaving templates
Insanely large Tlingit spruce root baskets in the Burke collections
A small Chilkat apron with the cutest faces and most perfect circles, by Evelyn Vanderhoop. In the Burke Museum collections.
Intricate Chilkat ceremonial weaving (photographed upside-down) with puffin beaks. This was at one point a single woven, and then cut into two pieces to wear as leggings. Around a hundred years old; in the collections at the Burke.
My sister Lily, inspecting a perfect Chilkat nose on the front of an old tunic. Back is pictured below.

The entire experience was exhilarating… from visiting with the works of our ancestors to eating delicious Pho in the University District, being tended to by an generous crew of individuals to being humbled by the amount of knowledge we’ll never grow to old enough to learn… I am filled with immense gratitude and everlasting inspiration.

(L to R) Lily Hope, Bill Holm, Ursala Hudson
(L to R) Lily Hope, Justin McCarthy, Ursala Hudson, Bridget Johnson