Sulustu - Where the Worlds Come Together
Friday, March 10, 2006
Sulustu - Where the Worlds Come Together
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Still catching up; the other day I gave my aunt a ride to Wellpinit from Loon Lake. It was a beautiful day, though a new winter storm was just beginning to settle in.
I haven't posted in a few days, so I"m catching up. I stopped by Little Falls Dam the other day and stood amazed at the power of the river pouring over the spillway. Our tribe has a lot of history at this place. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my family driving over the old bridge by the dam.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
This information is quite shocking, especially during a time when so many Americans worry about losing basic constitutional rights and protections. Ironically, I’ve heard people from both sides of the political divide accuse the other of undermining American values, and yet I wonder, if so few people can actually name our basic freedoms (about 0.1%), how much of the national debate is based on a reasoned interpretation of the United States Constitution, and how much is based on emotion?
By the way, as a social studies teacher and a Simpson’s fan, I am one of a few Americans who can name all five Simpsons AND the five freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
For review, I present the First Amendment in its entirety:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum operates a website and offers an interesting First Amendment quiz. Check it out by clicking below:
Monday, March 06, 2006
Sunday, March 05, 2006
Saturday, March 04, 2006
My wife and I attended a benefit banquet for ARMS, Abuse Recovery Ministry and Services, a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing issues of domestic violence and abuse from a Christian perspective. It primarily serves women, but it also offers services for men who become perpetrators of violence against women and children. It helps everyone affected by abuse to stop the cycle of violence.
Rhonda's longtime friend Ophelia Araujo-Islas is the director for the Northeast Washington region of the organization.
The banquet featured testimonials from women who survived abusive relationships and found inspiration and strength from the organization. It also featured music and a video presentation. I was very moved by the power of the message and the power of Ophelia's faith in God. ARMS is growing and will one day reach many thousands of women and men nationwide.
My sister-in-law Angela Merchant played the harp for tonight's ARMS Banquet while eveyone ate dinner and visited with one another. I think she must have felt a little insecure. At one point she asked me if everyone could hear and if people noticed her mistakes, but I think everyone loved her music. I heard rants and raves from several people. Angela playing the harp truly is a heavenly sound.
Friday, March 03, 2006
Kateri Caron of the Spokane Interfaith Council invited me to attend Spokane's Diversity Breakfast yesterday morning. The event took place on the campus of Gonzaga University, across the way from Saint Aloysius Catholic Church. Several local businesses and organizations took part, including Interfaith Council, the City of Spokane, Spokane Public Schoold District 81, and others. In addition to several thoughtful talks on diversity, interculturalism, and personal leadership, I reconnected with important people from my life, including Gordon Watanabe (who spoke at the event), Esther Louie, and others. I even got to hear a short presentation from Spokane's new mayor Dennis Hession.
I visited the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Browne's Addition, Spokane. I've been working with the museum to complete a kind of internship in Plateau Salish curriculum. I'm very excited about the project as a possible creative outlet for my limited cultural knowledge.
After I set up my work space at the museum, I took a few minutes to visit some of the current exhibits. I was especially impressed with the David Thompson exhibit, which featured an authentic birch bark canoe, handwritten journal entries from his exploration of the Pacific Northwest, portraits of Native people he met along the way, and taxidermied samples of animals he observed. I felt a spirit in that place, perhaps something from the people he encountered who would have been forgotten to history if he hadn't written about them.
During the lunch hour, I walked from the museum to the Elk Cafe. I really wish Rhonda could have joined me for lunch. The Elk Cafe is a wonderful little place to eat. It has such a cozy, friendly atmosphere; it's just someplace I love to go.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
On my way home from work this afternoon, I took my time and stopped in Chewelah to take a few pictures. I stopped along the roadside and photographed this really weird brick structure that looks to me like it used to be a giant bread oven, or something like that. Who knows what it really is? Whatever the case, I find something vaguely appealing about it.
I also stopped at the Chewelah Cemetery and photographed this statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I'm not Catholic, but something about Catholic religious art moves me. I think perhaps I relate to it on an ancestral level, from when Catholicism blended with ancient Native American religion.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
A mural stands at the entrance of the Court House in Colville, Washington honoring the pioneers of Stevens County, but I'm assuming it primarily honors the white pioneers of Stevens County, while generally ignoring the Native American pioneers who established this country more than 10,000 years ago. I find the depiction quite ironic, especially since it shows an image of a Native American looking on as white settlers flood the land; but then it goes on to say:
"To the beautiful Colville Valley in 1825 came those hardy pioneers who through their fortitude, perseverance, and industry have wrought from the earth its vast mineral wealth, have hewn from the forests the lumber with which to build and from the soil have reaped an abundant livelihood, making this a thriving, prosperous, progressive community.
"Honor to the pioneers who broke the sod that men to come might live."
This statement, while worthy of respect in its own limited way, fails to acknowledge an entire nation of people who pioneered this land many millenia before 1825; kind of like Columbus when he "discovered" a continent already inhabited by millions of people.
Monday, February 27, 2006
My mother-in-law purchased a copy of Close Encounters of the Third Kind for my birthday (upcoming next week). I have to say this was one of my favorite childhood movies. It became engraved on my memory when I saw the little boy carried away by the aliens, and I saw the boy's mother running across a field screaming, "Barry! Baaaarry!" I was just a litte boy myself when I first saw this film, and so the boy sharing my namesake had a deep impact on my psyche. All these years later, I still find myself moved by this scene, and especially the scene of their tearful reunion at the end of the movie.
My children and I watched this movie together for the first time yesterday evening, and they were equally intrigued by the little boy named after their father. So there you have it; this was a total retro experience for me, and another generation of Close Encounter fans for my kids.
I made a long and solitary drive this morning north to my work site in Colville, through the morning fog and occasional showers. Winter snow is still visible in nearby mountain tops, but the morning drizzle brings a message from the coming spring, though I have a feeling the border between winter and spring this year will be hazy at best, with no clear way to differentiate winter rains from the proverbial spring showers.
When I arrive at the community college in Colville, I park in the faculty lot across the street and take a moment to remember the LDS Church just a stone's throw away. I find a certain amount of irony that I'm now working across the street from a place with so many memories from my past. When I was still in high school, my father lived in Kettle Falls, only 8 miles north of Colville, and on Sundays I used to catch a ride into town and attend services in the Colville Ward. The people were so amazing and friendly. I have so many warm memories of that place.
My father never really appreciated my membership in the LDS Church. He used to ridicule me brutally, and somehow confused Mormonism from something out of the Holy Roller movement. If he would have ever attended he would have seen Mormons share very little in common with anything remotely Pentocostal. I would characterize "Holy Rollers" as the rock stars of Christendom, and Mormons as the librarians. Of course, my father never let reality deflate his one man comedy act. I'd come home on Sunday from attending LDS services and the jokes would start, peppered with shouts of "Hallelujah!" and fervent hand-waving.
I think most of my family regarded my membership in the LDS Church as some kind of joke, until I announced after 6 years that I was going to serve a full-time mission. When I left for Guatemala, my family's attitude shifted dramatically. It was like they finally said, "Wow. He was serious about this religion thing." After that, my father befriended the missionaries and developed a whole new respect for me as his son. My mission changed the way my family views me.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
I thought about making a surprise visit to the Brentwood Ward at the LDS Church down the street; a cameo appearance of sorts, but I was feeling sort of under the weather and two of my children were also not feeling well. Three of us stayed home and watched movies instead of going to church.
God must have sensed our absence because he sent a messenger with words from the Bible. About half way through our movie, we heard a knock at the door. Dakota answered the door and then said a man wanted to talk with me. I didn't want to respond; I was still wearing pajamas at 1:00 in the afternoon, my hair was still unkempt from the night before, but I felt obligated.
As soon as I looked out onto my front porch, I recognized my visitor as a representative from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, also known as the Jehovah's Witnesses. He wore a suit and carried a small, black briefcase. He held a Bible and several pamphlets in the other hand.
Right away I informed him we were feeling sick in our home, but I would welcome any literature he cared to share with us. He offered me the pamphlet you see above about life in a peaceful new world.
You can always identify literature from the Jehovah's Witnesses by its idyllic scenes from a paradisiacal world; lions lying down with lambs, children of various ethnic backgrounds are playing with bears, someone carrying a basket of fruit, snow-capped mountains in the distance. They promise peace and deliverance from the chaotic, violent world we see around us today. Truly, I find their message faintly appealing, if it weren't for the socially rigid and dogmatic system I know follows if a person joins their movement.
My grandmother is Jehovah's Witness, and several of my closest friends from high school. In fact, most Jehovah's Witnesses I know make ardently loyal friends if you take the time to get to know them individually; and fierce opponents if you dare compete with them for souls (as I did as an LDS missionary in Guatemala). I almost became Jehovah's Witness at one point, but something deep inside me convinced me otherwise. It's quite ironic that I once felt drawn to deeply conservative religions, like Mormonism or the Jehovah's Witnesses, and now I find myself at the complete opposite extreme of the conservative-liberal scale.
Despite differences in opinion regarding doctrine and biblical interpretation, I still find a soft spot in my heart for those who preach the word of God door to door. If I hadn't been feeling sick, I probably would have invited the man to stay a while, if nothing more than to give him a brief moment's rest and a little friendly encouragement.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
My sister Michelle suggested we visit Deep Creek to take pictures for our blogs, so we took off in her car, heading north past Seven Mile Road. At first I thought she was going the wrong way. "Isn't Deep Creek in Airway Heights?" I asked, but as we arrived, the signs indicated we arrived at the correct location. After a few minutes hike, we ran into a couple of guys who said this is indeed the same Deep Creek. We were both right.
There was no water in the creek; apprently it all gets diverted for farming further upstream. Even so, the scenery was amazing. The water cut deep channels through the basalt and left towering rock formations, caves, and natural tunnels. I never knew such a place existed in the Spokane area. I really want to go back on a sunny day and bring my little family.
We got a few pictures, but the sky was overcast and didn't lend itself to effective photography.
I saw this eagle on the corner of Dishman and Appleway. I was in the valley yesterday afternoon to meet our former foster son, but his new family must have forgotten our appointment. We waited for more than an hour before I finally left. I was feeling kind of sad, but I felt suddenly impressed to drive a different route, and then I saw this eagle. I know it must seem overly simplistic or trite to find meaning in the chance meeting of a statue on the road, but seeing that eagle cheered me up considerably. It made me feel like someone was still watching out for us, even in the midst of sadness.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
I stopped in beautiful Addy, Washington on my way home from work today. Actually, the town is kind of pleasant. Though it is obviously not a tourist destination by any means, I kind of like small towns. It reminds me of what you might expect of a backwoods sort of place; a main street with false-fronted buildings, a grange, a family diner, several abandoned buildings, and good, down-to-earth people.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
I met with Kris Major of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC) to discuss an upcoming internship with the museum. I plan to develop curriculum to address Native American cultures, while supporting state standards. This project will serve as a graduation requirement for my master's at Whitworth College.
On my drive home, the sun was setting and cast a warm glow over the streets and buildings. A couple of those pictures appear above.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Those of you who follow my blog faithfully know I post almost every daily, and no doubt notice I missed the last week. My family holds winter ceremonies every President's Day weekend in what we call the "Green House." It's an ancient ritual and requires a complete consecration of time and attention. In fact, it seems time does not exist when the spirits and the visible world come together.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
My wife bought me a used Ford Ranger yesterday, well, the money was in our joint account from unexpected funds I received a while back, but she did write the check and claimed it was my Valentine's Day present. Happy Valentine's Day indeed! Needless to say, I was quite pleased, but of course, nothing I do for her will ever compare to this.
Canadian Money: It's Colorful
Monday, February 13, 2006
Several times during our trip, I took the time to meditate alone in the mountain trails and hills. I feel a spiritual connection to this land I cannot quite explain. It feels as though I have some kind of ancestral connection to this place, or at least a connection to the spiritual ancestors of my religion. Sometimes my dreams bring me back and connect me to the spirits of this land.
The entrance to Kootenay National Park passes through an opening in the mountainside.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses
Radium Hot Springs is within the boundaries of Kootenay National Park.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses
Frost and ice form above the heated water at Radium Hot Springs.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses
Rhonda and the kids in the heated pools.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses
Rhonda and Whitney bathing at Radium.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses
Radium Hot Springs was by far the most significant stop for me during our entire trip. Of course, the natural beauty is absolutely stunning with its sheer cliffs covered with evergreen trees, but more importantly, my father and I visited these pools many years ago and created a warm memory I will not soon forget.
Official literature made available to tourists states simply that the pools were used by First Nations people more than two centuries ago for healing, but I always sensed a spiritual presence in this area. I may never know the true meaning of this place, but I find clues from time to time in my dreams. The spirits of this land remain with me, even when I travel a great distance away. Every year I feel drawn back, but only this once did I actually succeed in returning.
I'm so glad to have this chance to visit this place again and share this memory with my wife and children.
As sort of a novelty, I found out they named this place Radium Hot Springs because the water contains higher levels of radiation than any other spring in Canada. Fortunately, the radiation does not rise to a high enough level to be harmful to humans.
Dakota and I chartered a small, 3 passenger Cessna out of Invermere with a pilot named John. It was really a touristy thing to do, but we really enjoyed it. The flight lasted about a half an hour and took us over both Fairmont Hot Springs and Radium Hot Springs.