Opportunity & Uncertainty

Three months after its dedication, I stand at the foot of the John T. Williams Honor Totem. The totem has bold lines and bright colors, and its significance fills my eyes with tears. There is no mention here of how Mr. Williams died. Rather than proclaiming that he was felled by a police bullet, the totem … More Opportunity & Uncertainty

Everybody Dances

I wish I could show you a photo of this event, but I can’t. The storyteller said that if there is dancing during his sessions, then ‘everybody dances.’ So I smiled and clumsily complied. I didn’t take any photos of the kids, because I was too busy dancing. When I explore my interconnections to the … More Everybody Dances

America Discovers Columbus

I wouldn’t normally use my blog for a ‘book report,’ but every now and then comes a book that demands to be shared. One such book is 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus. Author Charles C. Mann has managed to upend the mainstream Euro-American version of history. Most of us recognize that Columbus … More America Discovers Columbus

What’s Changed?

It’s been almost five months since I wrote a blog entry. What happened? Well, nothing, really. I simply got waylaid by a doctoral dissertation. Most PhD candidates fail to do something important while writing up their research. In my case, I failed to blog. But even while the blog was on hiatus, I have continued … More What’s Changed?

Since Time Began

A wonderful thing has happened. A friend has pointed out that I made a mistake, and this brings me great joy. I know that I, with my European-American cultural background, make many mistakes in my attempts to learn about First Nations’ history. I also know that true learning means having friends and colleagues who are … More Since Time Began


Continuing on the theme of last month’s meeting at the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center, another comment offered that evening made a point about the land. A gentleman pointed out that anyone who wants to live in the Puget Sound region should show respect for the people who lived here first. “You guys are walking on … More Acknowledgment

When ‘Peace’ Hurts

Seattle is on edge following the police shooting death of John T. Williams.  Mr. Williams, a talented carver from the Ditidaht First Nation of British Colombia, was well known on the streets of Pioneer Square. Investigations are underway, but many Seattleites question whether it was necessary to fire 4 shots at a 50-year-old man with … More When ‘Peace’ Hurts

Sacred Spaces

The word ‘sacred’ has cropped up often this month. Or maybe this word has always been prominent, and I’ve been slow to notice it. I attended a powwow orientation class through the Episcopal Diocese, where I learned that the space inside of a talking circle is sacred. So are the sage, cedar, tobacco and sweet … More Sacred Spaces