The First People’s Fund put a call out for nominations for their Community Spirit Award. They asked: “Do you know a Native artist who has dedicated his or her life and work to sustaining cultural traditions within their commuity? first Peoples Fund has opened nominations for the 2017 Community Spirit Awards, and we want to hear from you by tomorrow, July 15th! — “If your life has been touched by a Native American, Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian artist who embodies the Indigenous values of generosity, integrity, humility and wisdom, consider nominating them for the Community Spirit Awards,” said Lori Pourier, president of First Peoples Fund. — the Community Spirit Awards, launched in 1999, are national grants for established Native culture bearers who demonstrate substantial contributions to their communities through their careers as artists. Each year, First Peoples Fund seats a national panel to select four to six Community Spirit honorees from tribes across the country.”
So I thought about all the artists that I have known a long, long time, who would fit this bill. I thought about all the artists that I know who are not just talented in what they do, but are passionate about their lives and sharing their work to the extent that they will leave the comforts of their own home and studio for great lengths of time and share with the younger generations, AND they need money!!! My friend of 36 years came to mind: Wayne Price…he fit the bill…this is what I wrote in the nomination:
“For 40+ years, Wayne Price is a Tlingit master carver in silver jewelry yet mainly known for his wood carvings of totem poles, masks, and is one of four men who knows how to carve the traditional dugout Tlingit canoes. For the past 10 years he has been on an aggressive mission to educate the general public, mentor and teach the methods of the nearly-extinct dugouts of the Tlingit. Each canoe takes about 5 to 6 months to complete so these carvings are quite the accomplishment and are designed for ocean-going waves. He has led expeditions in the wilderness of Southeast Alaska with the younger generation of men in their traditional dugouts that they had carved. He teaches how to read the ocean, how to hunt and fish, how to survive on the land, and teaches the spiritual laws and ways of being of our people. In 2007, with no other dance group in Haines, he began a dance troupe called “North Tide” which is also the name of his mentor group of young carvers because he also teaches them the stories, song and dance. Wayne is passionate about his work and his life and terribly passionate about teaching the next generations; he wants his students to live a clean life without drugs and alcohol; he feels that training his students from a young age in the cultural arts and lifeways is the way to deter them from even having a wagon to fall from! With his wife Cherri, he owns and operates the Silver Cloud Art Center which is his 16,000 sq. ft. home where he has conducted retreats in weaving, carving, subsistence food hunting and gathering, and dance troupe practices. The front porch of their house always has a large carving of a totem pole or a dugout canoe in progress with the younger generation at his side either working and/or just listening. Wayne has lived and worked in almost every community in Southeast Alaska and Yukon Territory; his name and character is known far and wide. He is a natural born leader (who he himself will admit he is always still learning).”
We’ll see what happens, Wayne! If you don’t receive this award this time around, then there’s always a next time. Just make sure you remain safe and happy cuz we need you for the long haul…!
Being the creator (or “mastermind as my Mother would have put it) of this community-based project, would I had known that when I have receive each of these priceless 5×5 woven Chilkat and Ravenstail weavings, I would feel such honor and a privilege to hold each one in the palm of my hands!? Would I have known that I would feel such pure and raw power in each simple image!? And would I have known that I would feel such intense protectiveness as I hand-carried these in my carry-on luggage; like worse than when I am transporting a robe that I have designed and made!?!? — In the purity of this power, I feel immense grace and lovingness; I feel such excitement and peace; I feel strength and healing; I feel the connectedness of all beings through the anticipation of connecting all of these weavers’ weavings together. This is already a powerful robe. My goodness, we share in the excitement and most likely all of what I feel too in the completion of this robe!
The past couple of nights since my return to Tulsa, which is where I will be working day and night on putting this robe together for the next month, I put a cloth cover over all the little weavings who lay side by side with one another, like the way we cover our weavings for the night. Already these little ones have become dear. —- Thank you to all our present-day weavers who have contributed their talent through a piece of their spirit to become unified as one in this special, ceremonial robe. We look forward to receiving the other 31 pieces due by the extended deadline of July 19th!
Remember to mail your contribution insured to me at: Clarissa Rizal, 40 East Cameron Street #207, Tulsa, OK 74103
For more information on the mission and purpose of this robe, please visit the initial “invitational” blog post by clicking this link: http://clarissarizal.com/blog/calling-all-chilkat-and-ravenstail-weavers/
One of my favorite poets, David Budbill has been dealing with rapidly declining health lately and while the conversations I’ve had with him over the years have been marked by a striking optimism, the challenges of being a writer who is losing the physical ability to write are becoming too much for even the most optimistic and zen of mountain recluse poets. Here’s a recent conversation between Budbill and longtime friend, David French. HIt the link for the full conversation, http://www.davidbudbill.com/1500/a-conversation-with-david-budbill
David French’s questions and comments are in italics. Unless otherwise indicated, all the poems are David Budbill’s.
But let’s talk about what’s happening in your life right now.
The major thing that I’m dealing with is my Parkinson’s disease, my rare form of Parkinson’s disease. It has incapacitated me and made me incapable of all the things I used to love to do: I would cut wood and garden and mow, and I can’t do any of those anymore. So I’ve had to revise my life completely. So far I haven’t revised my life; I’ve just cancelled it, dropped out.
Now that’s not entirely true, because before I dropped out, I was able to finish a novel and a short story and a collection of poems, and they’re all coming out in the next year. So I did that before I cancelled my life.
The last time I was here, you said all this happened a year ago, when you moved to Montpelier.
Up until then, you’d still been working on your novel and your stories and your poem.
I suppose, yeah.
There recently was a song cycle of your poems at the Elley-Long Music Center. One song was about doing things for the last time. It was beautiful, but with an ache to it. You must have done a lot of that leaving Wolcott, walking around, looking around, knowing that was the last time you’d cut this wood or stack it or put it in the stove.
It was. Yeah, it was heartbreaking, because that was my identity, and now it’s no longer that. Which is no doubt one of the reasons I’m in limbo now.
So you’re not writing now.
No, I’m not.
You’re not making music.
Another theme that keeps coming up in your poetry, sometimes in very funny ways, is the lament over not having been a major voice in the poetry world. You wrote about the life of “genteel poverty and meditation” you lead:
…which gives me lots of time
to gnash my teeth and worry over
how I want to be known and read
by everyone and have admirers
everywhere and lots of money!
Is that something you would still write a poem about at this point, or is that an old theme that isn’t something you think about anymore?
I certainly think about it.
You still do?
You would like to be higher on whatever the poetry best-seller list is?
And have more money from it, recognition.
Yeah. Of course, who wouldn’t?
When I came to Judevine Mountain
all my troubles would cease,
but I brought… my ambition –
so now, still,
all I know is grief.
Well, that’s true. I have this thing about ambition. I can’t live with it, and I can’t live without it.