Monday, August 29, 2005

the stick game hall on the wellpinit powwow grounds stands empty, waiting for powwow to begin...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Raising the Tepee

Just as we finish powwow in Spokane, we start getting ready for another in Wellpinit; putting up tents, raising tepees, making dance regalia, etc. Many of the best campsites have been taken already, though our family campsite has been roped off; reserved for family members...The Orten brothers arrived days ago, and today helped me put up my pitiful little tepee. The kids went with me and enjoyed the day together.

My family has been camping at this same location since before I was born. When I was a child, family members used to arrive early and build temporary shelters and little four-walled "cook shacks." My ya-ya Messie even brought in an old pot bellied stove to cook on, and us kids would run errands all day as she made dinner for everyone in camp; things like fry bread, dumplings, or stew.

After ya-ya Messie passed away, my uncle Sam and my cousin Diane continued the tradition, though cook shacks are no longer allowed.

This will be the first year without my uncle Sam.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

womens' fancy...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

men's fancy in a blur...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Judging the Competition

I went back the powwow tonight, but this time with my sister and her children. Like my kids before, they danced with me during the intertribal songs. At one point during the night, my cousin Patrina asked me to judge some of the competitions; so I got to judge the men's traditional, and all the junior boy categories: fancy, grass, and traditional.

I really enjoyed judging the competitions...I was thankful to be seen in the public eye in a positive way.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Our veterans holding the flags after Grand Entry...Steve SmallSalmon holds the American flag, Steven Reuben holds the eagle staff, and Glenn Douglas bears the war bonnet...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Powwow at Riverfront Park

Rhonda and I took the kids to the Spokane Powwow in Riverfront Park and picked up Shingo at his hotel. It was his first powwow ever.

I didn't dress in my regalia (I haven't dressed in several years), but I took the kids out to the floor and danced most of the intertribal songs that evening. It was a bittersweet experience...on the one hand I felt happy to be dancing again and seeing old friends; on the other hand, there were a few people I would have rather not seen...people who have hurt our family. I had mixed feelings, but was glad overall.

After the grand entry, Uncle Pat gave the invocation in the Spokane Language; I was surprised how much of it I understood and was able to translate for Rhonda. During the English portion of his prayer, he mentioned Shingo and asked him to go to the front of the dance arena. Shingo was standing with me and was unsure what to do...he didn't want to run through all the dancers, but I ran with him, so he felt better about it. When uncle introduced him, he bowed to the crowd in traditional Japanese style.

I was standing at the front when they started the prayer song and the victory song. My cousin Gabby was the arena director and asked me to receive the American flag. I was surprised by his request, but I couldn't say no. At the end of the victory song, the dancer with the American flag, handed off to my uncle, and the man with the eagle staff, handed to me. So there I stood at the front of all those people, friends and enemies alike, holding the eagle staff. I felt humbled; and very unworthy...I felt like crying, but of course, I didn't.

It was an emotional day, but I'm glad I went. I'm glad for the experiences I had, and that my children got to dance, if even just a little. I'm glad to have met Shingo...I hope this is the beginning of a long friendship.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Visitor from Japan

My Uncle Pat called me to sweat on Thursday this week, instead of Friday. Apparently, they asked him to help out at the Spokane Powwow this weekend, so he would not have been able to sweat on Friday as he usually does.

We had a visitor from Japan visit our sweat tonight, a university professor by the name of Shingo. He read several books by Sherman Alexie and Gloria Bird while he was still in Japan, and wanted to see Wellpinit. Someone directed him to Pat and Thyra, and so he took a sweat with us. Uncle told him the story of the Hangman Creek song and compared that to the devastation at was all very moving.

After the sweat, Thyra made a delicious salmon dish, which we thoroughly enjoyed while we spoke of culture and spirituality.

a view of the altar at Mount Saint Michael...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Mount Saint Michael

My sister bought a new digital camera and called me up to take pictures together. We sat around for a while pathetically wondering where we could go, and finally decided on Mount Saint Michael. We hopped in the car and went; Dakota went with us.

Mount Saint Michael sits atop a hill overlooking the entire Spokane area. Originally built in the 1920s or 1930s as a school for Jesuits, it housed at its height, over 400 priests. Today it serves as a convent for the Sisters of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen and a private K-12 school. Also, a small group of monks devoted to the Congregation of Mary live just down the road.

When we arrived, a monk wearing a brown robe was working the soil near the front of the building. We photographed some of the religious statues outside the building before finding an open door.

It felt awkward just wandering around the old hallways with their granite floors and elevated ceilings. We finally stopped a nun, Sister Maria Inviolata, and asked her for a tour. She immediately agreed and began to show us the various rooms.

Perhaps the two most memorable sites were the original elevator and the chapel. Sister Maria told us the elevator is the oldest operating elevator in the city of Spokane...and it certainly looks the part. The elevator has an old-style wrought iron cage instead of doors and a set of unlabeled buttons for operation. She said one switch sounds an alarm. Good thing she was operating the elevator...I would have thought the alarm switch was the "up" switch. We stood in the dark until Sister Maria pulled a switch and a single light bulb over head illuminated. When the elevator stopped on the next floor, it stopped too soon and we had to step up to get out.

The chapel sits on the second floor, directly over the dining hall. It is truly a beautiful structure, with angel statues and stained glass windows. Sister Maria graciously allowed us to photograph the interior of the chapel.

At the end of our visit, I was glad my sister called me to take pictures with her new camera. What started as an experiment in digital technology became a cultural and spiritual experience.

Monday, August 22, 2005

my wife and i took the kids to silverwood...this is a shot of the ferris wheel just before the park closed...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Friday, August 19, 2005

My picture appeared in today's issue of "7" in the Spokesman Review performing a wedding for Erin Dresler and Tobias Looper.

Wedding Photo

About a month ago, I wrote about performing a wedding for a couple whom I did not name out of respect for their privacy; it was, after all, their event and not mine. However, it all became public in today's issue of "7" in the Spokesman Review. Titled "I do's and don'ts" by staff writer Dan Webster, the article addresses the ins and outs of planning a wedding. My picture appeared performing a "Native American" wedding for Erin Dresler and Tobias Looper.

Sadly, I was not named in the photograph or the article, but someone who knows me recognized it and gave me a copy.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

the full moon over spokane on time lapse photography (4 seconds)...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

A New Family Tradition

Every week Rainier Case Management rents me a car to visit clients in Moses Lake and Ephrata. It's fun to get a new car every week, especially when I get a free upgrade for whatever reason. I found out I could keep the cars over night and return them in the morning, so I've been in the habit lately showing off the cars to my family. It's become something of a family ritual every Thursday to take a family drive in my "new" car. It's been lots of fun!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

i took this picture of the spokane river this afternoon, shortly after a rainstorm passed through the area. this is a view of the river from the argonne bridge in millwood...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

anthony and whitney have always been very close...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Anthony's Visit

Anthony and Ginger came over to our house for a nice visit. They ate hamburgers and watched old home movies from when he was a little boy. The three little ones sure enjoyed seeing Anthony again. It's wonderful to have him a part of our lives again, even if it means only occasional visits. Afterwards, we drove them to Ginger's house. I felt happy and sad all at the same time as I watched him go into the house. After all the trauma in our lives, I sure missed him.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

the girls helped me make huckleberry pie for grandma great. they put a lot of love into that pie...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Huckleberry Pie

The girls helped me make huckleberry pie for grandma and grandpa great. They even carved a heart on the top of the pie. It was very cute. When we arrived at their house, we announced we brought them huckleberry pie, to which grandma responded, "You are most welcome here!" Afterwards we had a nice visit.

Monday, August 15, 2005

american flag...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

World War II Veteran

We visited grandma and grandpa great this morning when we picked up Ron to take him to the airport. While we were there, grandpa great said he wanted to show me something. Just as before, he took me back to see his medals, but this time there was an American flag in the case. He also showed me a hat Steve bought him that said "World War II Veteran."

I give him the flag for father's day this year because his medal case had a place for the flag, but it was empty. I didn't think too much about it since, but as we left, Ron said grandpa great talked a lot about receiving that flag. As he told me this, I got a lump in my throat to think of what it meant to him. I told Ron, "No matter what your political opinions about the various wars we fight in this country, our veterans deserve the highest honor for the service they give."

I really meant it. People have heard me speak out against our current war, nevertheless, I honor those who fight in our behalf.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

huckleberries on monumental mountain...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Huckleberries on Monumental Mountain

I traveled to Monumental Mountain with my friend Edward to gather huckleberries. We met at his home, then drove together through Valley, Chewelah, Usk, and finally up to the mountain.

Along the way, we stopped at my grandfather's grave on the Kalispel Indian Reservation, and at Manressa Grotto.

Before we reached my family's traditional campsite on Monumental Mountain, we encountered road construction and had to stop. The road was completely torn up where they were building a new culvert. The stream was diverted from its path. We hiked around the barrier and another two miles in order to reach the berries.

I suppose the blockade prevented great numbers of people from reaching the berries, for we found them in great abundance, perfectly wonderful and ripe. We conversed for a while as we picked, then sang, but finally we worked in silence, with only the sound of the passing wind to occupy our attention. Everything about that moment seemed perfect, the berries, the wind, the was what Eckhart Tolle calls the "Eternal Now." I felt blessed beyond all measure.

As I picked, I reflected on the spiritual nature of the work I do. These berries are like a sacrament to remind me of everything holy and good. They keep me connected to the earth and the spirit of life.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Temple Sealing

Congratulations to Ryan and Cassidi for their sealing in the LDS Temple in Spokane!!! Family members gathered to witness the event and still others waited outside the temple to see the couple as they first emerged. It was a beautiful and perfect day for such a joyous occasion.

The family asked me to photograph the family after the sealing.

Friday, August 12, 2005

concrete under the spokane river...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Coyote Poem at Spokane Falls...

Near the Monroe Street Bridge, above Spokane Falls, is a poem engraved in a spiral formation in the sidewalk...a poem about Coyote, the Falls, and unrequited love. I've seen the poem many times, but until now I never realized how dark and angry the poem is. How could I have missed the bitterness engraved in those words, except perhaps that I never read them carefully? Perhaps it is better to not repeat words spoken in anger, but then again, when I see the Falls encased in concrete, I too feel anger for what has been done to our River.

The author is not identified, but I heard somewhere Sherman Alexie wrote the poem.

"Coyote was alone and angry because he could not find love. No, Coyote was alone and angry because he demanded love. Demanded a wife from the Spokane, the Coeur d'Alene, the Palouse. All those tribes camped on the edge of the Spokane River, and he received only laughter. Coyote rose up with his powerful and senseless magic and smashed a paw across the water which broke the river bottom in two, which created rain which lasted for forty days and nights and which created Spokane Falls, the place where salmon traveled more suddenly than coyote dreamed, that place where salmon swam larger than any white man imagined, but coyote I know you broke the river because of love. I saw you catch salmon on the falls after you had created them. I know you slept all fat and happy beside the river, and pretended it was all done by your design. Coyote, you're a liar and I don't trust you. I never have but I do trust all those stories the Grandmothers told me. They said the falls were built because of your unrequited love and I can understand that rage Coyote. We can all understand but look at the falls now and tell me what you see. Look at the falls now if you can see beyond all the concrete the white man has built there. Look at all of this and tell me that concrete ever equals love Coyote. These white men don't always love their own mothers, so how could they love this river which gave birth to a thousand lifetimes of salmon, how could they love these falls which have fallen further, which sit dry and quiet as a graveyard now. These falls are that place where ghosts of salmon jump, where ghosts of women mourn their children who will never find their way back home, where I stand now and search for any kind of love, where I sing softly under my breath, alone and angry."

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Rhonda and her diploma from Inland Massage Institute...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Congratulations Rhonda!!!

Congratulations to my wife Rhonda!!! After a year of intense coursework, she finally graduated from Inland Massage Institute as a massage therapist. Next week she will take her national exam and then receive her state license as a Licensed Massage Practitioner. She is already negotiating with an agent to establish a practice on the north side of Spokane.

We're so proud! She will now be known as Rhonda Moses LMP!

A great many family members and friends attended the ceremony, including her father who flew in from Phoenix especially for this event. Of all the graduates, Rhonda had the largest cheering section; or perhaps it would be more accurate to say she had the most vocal cheering section!

So many times along the way she wondered if she would ever survive to see this day, but as I said all along, I never doubted her for one moment. Anyone who knows her feels the same.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

This inscription appeared on the sarcophogus of the Mayan ruler Pacal. Some say it bears the image of the great World Tree.

"Light Tree." I entered this photograph in a contest. This tree began on the edge of a parking lot, illuminated by a street lamp on a dark and foggy night, and then transcended the mundane to assume a mystical appearance.
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Photography Contest

I entered one of my photographs in a contest after receiving the suggestion from my sister Michelle. The web site is:

Monday, August 08, 2005

Love Your Enemies

"Remember: just as you cannot fight the darkness, so you cannot fight unconsciousness. If you try to do so, the polar opposites will become strengthened and more deeply entrenched. You will become identified with one of the polarities, you will create an 'enemy,' and so be drawn into unconsciousness yourself...make sure you carry no resistance within, no hatred, no negativity. 'Love your enemies,' said Jesus, which, of course, means 'have no enemies.'"

~ Eckhart Tolle,
The Power of Now.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

I took this photograph of a sunset over the Spokane River on August 1, 2005.
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Shamans Through Time

This afternoon I started reading Shamans Through Time, edited by Jeremy Narby and Francis Huxley; a collection of first person accounts made by Europeans over the last 500 years as they attempt to understand "shamans" of the various Native nations of North and South America. So far, I've only read the first few chapters, containing mainly missionary accounts from the 1500s and 1600s. In their view, Native "shamans" were seen as agents of the devil...wholly possessed of sorcery, familiar spirits, and moral debauchery. Unfortunately, much of the shamanic wisdom of the Americas was lost because of religious persecution.

Many Americans appreciate this country as a land of religious liberty, but few realize just how much the United States persecuted Native religions until relatively recently. Beginning with the first Christians to set foot on these shores, the colonial governments of North and South America began a systematic campaign to eradicate indigenous spirituality, culture, and language. I need not recount the acts of aggression committed in the name of God against Native people...the wars, genocide, forced relocation, slavery, disease, boarding schools, etc. It has all been documented before.

As recently 1913, my great great grandfather Steve Moses was tried in a court of law for exercising his religious freedoms and performing the ancient rituals of his forebears. He was acquitted, not because the legal system recognized the obvious violation of basic human rights, but because witnesses for the prosecution failed to appear. Otherwise, he would have gone to jail for the peaceful exercise of his religion.

Many Native spiritual practices were illegal in this country the United States Congress passed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978. Imagine, in a nation founded on religious freedom, American's first people could not practice their spiritual systems without fear of penalty until 1978.

Think about that for a while.

Anyway, my interest in "shamanism" and Native spirituality in general stems from an experience of spirit beyond doctrine, creeds, or dogma. It is an "faith" rooted in deep awareness of my genetic experience.

As I read Shamans Through Time, I hope to see between the lines of religious bigotry and catch a glimpse of the "Faith of my Fathers" centuries ago.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Dukes of Hazzard

OK...I need to make a confession: my wife dragged me kicking and screaming to see the newly released Dukes of Hazzard, which of course is a remake of the t.v. show from the late 70s and early 80s. I should say this is most definitely NOT my normal kind of movie...but there weren't any better options playing at that hour; and besides, Rhonda has enough southern ancestry to appreciate the humor. So I went in feeling kind of sour about the whole ordeal, but...(here's the confession), I found myself laughing at more than one part of the film. In my defense, I tended to laugh at Rhonda's reactions, but I laughed a few times just because it was kind of funny.

Oh well, I guess I can't be serious all the time...

And to think I saw Dukes of Hazzard instead of going to pray with my uncle. If there's a hell for Indians who neglect their spiritual duties...well, I hate to think about it...


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Dry Falls, Washington; During the last Ice Age this was once the site of a raging river and waterfall more than three miles wide. Hardly a puddle remains; the water abandoned this place and now flows through the Columbia River.
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Sun Lakes, oasis in the desert...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Central Washington

I made another trip through the center portion of Washington State; along the medicinal waters of Soap Lake, an arduous climb to Lake Lenore Caves, passing by Sun Lakes, the manmade Banks Lake, and Dry Falls. It's an amazing place, really; so barren, and yet rich in ancient geological history; and sacred to the memory of Native peoples in this area.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Remember to Serve

"Be of service. Whether you make yourself available to a friend or co-worker, or you make time every month to do volunteer work, there is nothing that harvests more of a feeling of empowerment than being of service to someone in need." ~Gillian Anderson.

Today I received two interesting opportunities to serve:

First, I offered myself as a human 'guinea pig' at Inland Massage Institute for students taking their practical exams. All I had to do was lay on the table and allow the students demonstrate massage strokes for the instructor. Obviously, I received my own benefit out of the deal, but it was nice to help out in such an unusual way.

Later in the day I delivered a subpoena for a friend. He got a traffic ticket more than a year ago and has contested it in court all this time. Now he wishes to bring the matter to court again and subpoena the issuing officer. For whatever bizarre reasons known only to judges and lawyers, he was not able to deliver his own subpoena and required an unbiased third party to serve the document: me.

Neither act of service was very noteworthy. They were insignificant, and yet instructive of the value of just helping out. I think I actually received the greatest benefit out of the deal: a reminder to step outside my own difficulties and help a friend in need.

"A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity." ~Buddha.

Monday, August 01, 2005

there i am at clinkerdagger's restaurant...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Dinner at Clinkerdagger's

Rhonda and I went out to dinner at Clinkerdagger's in the old Flour Mill; not that we can normally afford to dine there. We spent an even $100 on dinner, dessert, and a tip, and thankfully I had a gift card for that exact amount. It was a gift from the couple I married about a week ago.

Afterwards, we walked hand in hand around Riverfront Park under the warm sunset glow. It was a beautiful day!

My son Dakota drew this picture of the United States Capitol Building under attack, based on a dream he had last night. Is it a foreboding of things to come, or just a child's way of dealing with the horrible events of our age?
Copyright © 2005 Edward Dakota Moses.

I took this picture of the United States Capitol Building on a gloomy day in January 1991, on the eve of the first Gulf War. I showed this picture to my son Dakota and he said, "That's the one. That's the building from my dream."
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

My son's dream...

So we're sitting at lunch today and my 10 year old son Dakota asks, "Dad, what kind of building has a round part on the top and a flag?"

"Why do you ask?"

"I had a dream last night," he says, "about a white building with a round part on top and a flag, and these men in a helicopter were throwing bombs at the building, and there were also these red lines in the air going toward the building."

"Can you draw me a picture?" I asked.

"Yes," he said, and so we went home and he drew the picture you see above. Of course, the images in the drawing made me sit up and take notice. Is it a premonition, a foretelling of things yet to come? Or maybe it's just a child's way of dealing with the threat of terror. Whatever the case, I think it's a stirring commentary for our age when the horrid events of our times play themselves out in the dreams of a child.