Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kule Loklo

Yesterday Sterling Hoffmann & I went to Point Reyes to paint the roundhouse there. While Kule Koklo is a Miwok village, its reconstruction & use has included Pomo volunteers & dancers. Armando had suggested it as a good place to start. Currently it's taken care of by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. This rancheria is both Coast Miwok & Southern Pomo, as was Lanny Pinola, the wonderful storyteller who helped recreate Kule Loklo.
It was wonderful to be there. The beautiful structures belong with the trees, racing clouds, undulating land. We felt deepened & renewed.
Here's my watercolor sketch of the roundhouse & a photo of Sterling painting.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Talking Indian

A wonderful resource is Hinth'el Gaahnula (Talking Indian): a narrative history of Lake County Pomo through 1900. This dvd was produced by Round Valley Rancheria in 2006, & runs 72 minutes. Written & narrated by James BlueWolf, it begins with a view of the rich & peaceful life of the Pomo before contact with Europeans, then moves into the atrocities that followed. BlueWolf brilliantly crafts still photography, paintings by Grace Hudson, voice-overs of family memories, & perfectly chosen music.

Toward the end BlueWolf notes that some people think there's no reason to remember this stuff--let it be in the past. Unfortunately, he urges, the attitudes that led to these things still exist.

It happened here. If we live here, it's our history & we need to know it. I'd like this video to be required viewing for anyone staying in California longer than 2 weeks. It's certainly a good prelude to thinking about a reconciliation ceremony.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pomo Project

The Pomo Project started when Armando Williams, Pomo dancer and healer, stopped by Sebastopol Gallery while I was featured artist last fall. Moved by the Native content in the images, he asked to collaborate on a project to honor Pomo culture in a series of paintings. Other Sebastopol Gallery artists were excited to join in. Our members voted to set aside our October 2010 rotation to show the work that emerges as Armando shares Pomo culture & medicine tradition.

The gallery members involved in the project include ceramicists Chris Boyd & Connie Robeson, & painters Sterling Hoffmann, Bert Kaplan, Susan Saint Thomas, Teri Sloat, & me. Sculptor Rebecca Love, photographers Christine Cobaugh & Laura Shafer, playwright Janey Hirsh, & activists Jeffrey Edelheit & Magick have joined us as well.

We're collaborating with the Sebastopol City Council & the Chamber of Commerce to make October the annual Pomo Honoring Month, with a variety of events & festivities. Here are a few:

Pomo artist Johnny Clay will be showing his portraits at Slice of Life. Sprint Copy Center will be hosting art by Pomo youth. Two original Edward Curtis photographs of Pomo women on the Russian River will be on display at the gallery, thanks to a generous loan by John Omaha & his son-in-law.

We see this as an exciting return of Pomo understanding to our shared community life. This ancient ecological wisdom will help us respond to the challenges of sustainability. Plus, it's just plain right, & long overdue.

The painting at the top is Thunder Woman & the Crescent Moon. Often appearing in the Blue Coyote series, Thunder Woman is a force for the re-emergence of Native paradigms. Here she stands among the tules--used by the Pomo for clothing, shelter, & boats. She shows us the worth of this new project in an overall return to indigenous ways of life.