Month: February 2016

Fancy dancing at the Seafair Seattle Pow-Wow

I really like pow-wows. They are lively, loud, physical, colorful, cultural, competitive, creative, and welcoming. One of my favorite activities in Seattle, when I lived there, was to visit Discovery Park for the annual Seafair Seattle Pow-Wow. The event fell on hard times recently, and has been cancelled, but it looks like funding was secured once more and it was held again, most recently in 2015. These shots all date from July 2013. All but one are of the male elders. What I noticed was a lot of intensity among the younger male dancers, and more energy conserving movements of the older, more veteran contestants. The most athletic did not win; it was the one who was in a space of personal expression, feeling the drum, and how that moved him.

Contestants who participated came from across the Northwest region and Canada, and tribes from the Spokane, to the Colvilles, to the Warm Springs, to the Umatilla, and more, were represented. Everyone I saw appeared to love it. The place was packed and everyone was taking pictures.

(Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

 

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Lake Couer d’Alene in Winter

I made a very quick stop in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, during a recent trip to Spokane. It is still a beautiful place, as I last remembered it from my last visit, now many years ago. (Click on the photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

Bottoming out in Spokane

During a recent trip to one of my favorite cities in the United States, Spokane, I toured lots of neighborhoods. I was struck by the degree of poverty I did not recall seeing before. There are pockets of despair in any city in the United States, but Spokane surprised me because of how close some of these neighborhoods with high numbers of foreclosures were to downtown. The number of foreclosed properties is reportedly higher in Spokane than either Washington State or the United States, according the company Realtytrac.com.  January 2016 alone saw 200 foreclosed properties in the city of 484,000 residents. As of 2014, the U.S. Census reports that more than 15 percent of all residents in the city alone lived below the poverty line.

Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.

Three of my favorite mother and daughter portraits

I have published these photos before on either my blog or web site, or both. Some times, everything comes together nicely when you get family members to pose. You cannot fake a warm smile.

Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.

A warm winter walk in Forest Park

On most weekends, I can be found running or walking the Wildwood Trail of Forest Park, the best public park in a major city on the West Coast, if you ask me. On Sunday, it was freakishly warm, which brought out everyone and their dogs. You could hear the sound of spring in the bird calls echoing in the forest. You cannot have a bad day in this park, even in the rain. But it can be totally awesome when the sun comes out.

Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.

Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Louis

Every time I return to St. Louis, I find new gems and treasures that continue to shine in this once grand, older Midwest City. In January, I stumbled very accidentally on Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church, just south of Lafayette Square. The more than century old church continues to be a part of the community, inviting residents to Friday fish fries and events like Serbfest. Other Midwest cities, such as Detroit and Cleveland, also have churches and communities halls that highlight the history of ethnic settlement in the now decaying industrial cities. I recommend a quick visit if you are in St. Louis. It is a short walk or drive from Lafayette Park.

Before the armed militants came to Oregon, there was the Portland pioneer statue

Before the meteoric rise to fame–and then collapse–of a small group of well-armed militants professing to be on a mission from “god,” there were others who came to Oregon more than 170 years ago on a not-so-different quest. Oddly, they too were looking for land to farm and ranch as well, and they carried guns and brought their bibles. We call them the Oregon pioneers, and they are celebrated with the Promised Land statue in Chapman Square, in downtown Portland.

The one chapter missing from this statue is what happened to the Native Americans who were living here when these settlers arrived. At the time the American pioneers began pouring into the region by wagon train, Native tribes were experiencing large-scale public health disasters, from malaria, smallpox, measles, and tuberculosis and other diseases that destroyed entire villages and decimated the original inhabitants of the region. Nine out of 10 lower Columbian River inhabitants lost their lives to disease between 1830 and 1834 alone. When many settlers arrived, they truly found land emptied because of these radical changes brought about by these diseases.

The more recent group who wanted to “reclaim” federal land also seemed to have forgotten that the land once belonged to others, before it was lost in the very painful chapter of history in the region. Yet the legacy that we see is the family, with a bible, a gun, and a wagon wheel.