Clarissa Rizal with her half-completed Chilkat robe “Egyptian Thunderbird on the loom; the pattern board is on the wall behind her — May 2016 — Photo by Tulsa Photographer, Jeremy Charles
The National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C. announced their Lifetime Achievement Awards today. I received one of nine selected for 2016!
I thank everyone who helped put me in this position of honor! (I have to run out the door for grandma duties; will write more later on this!)
Please click here for more info.
Bernie Worrell – rehearsing with Native-inspired jazz funk band “Khu.eex” — June 2014
72-year-old Bernie Worrell “walked into the forest” today. Pretty much a whirling wizard since he began playing piano at 3 years old, It’s hard to describe the feelings of loss. His musical influence reached vast and wide; even Stevie Wonder learned new styles of riffs from Bernie. Yet what I remember most about Bernie was his natural gracious humility.
Bernie Worrell — June 2014
Bernie was our keyboard artist in our Native-inspired jazz funk band “Khu.eex” which was formed in December 2014. Our first double LP’s will be released during our performance in Seattle (July 9th); little did we know our band and the recordings would be the last musical sounds with Bernie Worrell.
Bernie Worrell and Stanton Moore — rehearsing with the band “Khu.eex” — June 2014
Read more of Bernie Worrell’s musical genius, please check out his website at: www.bernieworrell.com —— So many in the musical world will miss you, Mr. Bernie Worrell…! Big hugs and lots of love to all who knew him and especially to Bernie’s family!
Asiatic lilies and 5 red roses grace the headstone of my parent’s graves; William and Irene Lampe — June 2016
A few weeks before my father passed in December 2008, he requested that when I visit his grave, I put 5 red roses in the vase. I asked why? He told me: “In WWII, 4 of my childhood friends were blown up in a tank; we all grew up together, we were best of friends. I would have been amongst them in that tank had I passed the qualifications of joining the army; I was 1/2 inch too short…”
For Father’s Day this year, I placed 5 red roses to his grave. In honor of my Mother, I added the fragrant, Asiatic Lily.
Alone in the afternoon misty rain, I stood wondering if I had ever visited graves alone before: No.
The headstone of my maternal grandparent’s: Juan and Mary Sarabia — June 2016
Louise Dangeli weaves Chilkat — 1991
Every late night
He would take himself down
off the cross
tucking the nails neatly
into the chambers of creation
breathing in the earth
through His feet
a tender smile
accentuated His grace
as He touched what She touched
as He saw what She saw
as He heard what She prayed each day
for the love and safety and peace
for Her family, friends and all She knew
near and far
He answered with His blessing
by dawn He would climb back up
to His position
though with a lighter heart
knowing fully well Her world
Louise Dangeli “walked into the woods” on Valentine’s Day. She was one of my very first Chilkat weaving students 25 years ago in 1991, with her daughter Arlene and Carol McCormick (grand-daughter of the McCormick herbs/spices). She was one of the most outspoken women I have met who did so with soft-spoken, firm grace, so when I found out that one of her clan emblems is the Beaver, that said everything. I have noticed that grace is a trait of those born in the Beaver clan. We will miss you, Louise, though many of us are learning your grace.
I think this is the first time I have posted a writing by someone else here on my blog. A friend emailed me this to me today and I felt compelled to share it.
These words are from Clarissa Pinkola Estes (American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves.)
My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.
You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.
I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.
Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.
In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.
We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?
Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.
What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.
The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.
John Trudell – photo courtesy www.johntrudell.com
The year I discovered the word and meaning of “Native” I was 15 years old. It was then I discovered there was such a thing as racial discrimination and oppression. I could not believe there was this concept that caused such turmoil and grief in the world.
Reflecting back upon my school years with certain teachers, I felt shock and hurt that certain instructors looked upon me as “lesser than”, which then led to anger because I realized that even though I was a bright, intelligent, fast learner that wondered why I wasn’t placed in the same academic category as my upper classmates, it was the discrimination of my race that kept me from advancing and being an equal!
When I realized this, I tempered my anger by getting educated about our First Nation’s people’s history across this continent. I subscribed to the famous Mohawk newspaper from Cornwall Island Island Reserve in New York called “Akwesasne Notes” (1969-1996); it is there I read about many atrocities committed in the past and present day against the First Nations across this continent. The historical accounts committed against the Native peoples near and far broke my heart. I also read several books that had been recently published by First Nation’s authors as “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.” I read anything I could get my hands on regarding the U.S. Government and the Native peoples no matter what tribe and, I kept up with the exciting news about A.I.M. (American Indian Movement). The newscasts on the TV is where I first heard of Leonard Peltier, Russell Means, and the legendary John Trudell.
Yes, believe it or not, I was politically involved in my own small way with the American Indian Movement. It’s hard to imagine that I was so caught up in the politics that I remember times where I put my fist to the television image of our state capital in D.C.!
By the time I was 18, I made a distinct decision. I made a choice to be an active politician working for our Native people, OR I was going to become an artist. (Obviously, you know what I chose, otherwise I would not have a website about this work I do.) I decided that I was going to keep the politics out of my art; there was no room for political art in my life. I chose being a “clean” artist because I already knew politics caused me to be ill all the time.
I saw John Trudell once, in person. He gave a lecture at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM in the spring of 1989. Our poetry class instructor, Authur Zhe required us to attend John’s lecture. We were in a small lecture room. Though I was in awe, I felt extremely intimidated; there he was just 10 feet away sitting in a chair before us, in his long brown hair and tinted glasses. I listened and hung on every word but I do not remember a word he said. I just remember the feeling.
To me, John Trudell was legendary way before he passed because he represented the truly free man. When a young man, he survived a huge tragedy; he became that caged bird that kept on singing! He was the grey wolf scouting the caverns and valleys! He was a common man walking amongst all peoples carrying a big heart. Though I quietly kept him in my shirt pocket my entire life and never spoke of him and his work, I felt he represented one of the first Native men of our generation who broke free from the cage of oppression and wanted to free the rest of us! Like Crazy Horse, Geronimo and Chief Joseph, I kept the representation of what these men meant to me close to my heart.
So when I heard that John Trudell passed away yesterday, the silence inside my shirt pocket above my heart ceased. The silence wailed. Who is going to be our spokes person to speak in defense of our Mother Earth, of our un-civilization, of the need to come back to our human being-ness? Who? WHO!?
That’s up to the rest of us. It’s up to the rest of us to carry our torches higher! Let’s see how the last few days, months or years of my life pan out. Let’s see what happens now that our Trudell Crazy Horse Geronimo Chief Joseph continue to manifest the intent of their lives within this world!
Please, I invite you to read up on the legendary John Trudell from news article from Indian Country Today. There are also about 79 videos you may watch on You Tube. And about 10 years ago, the actress Angelina Jolie and her mother produced a documentary on John called “Trudell” that is also available on You Tube.
He led a remarkable life in his 69 years. Remarkable. — Rest in Peace, JohnJohn…take as long as you need for a little while, and like your wife Tina did for you all these years, help us from the other side!
70 years this house has been kept in the Rizal side of our family. Inflated taxes has forced my cousins to sell and move. Not easy.
Because of my name change, many people think I re-married. No, when I divorced I dropped Hudson so I dropped my married name of Hudson and was left with my middle name as my last: Rizal. Yes, I am a direct relative of Jose’ Rizal, the Filipino martyr who inadvertently led the Phillipines to independence of Spanish rule. Jose’ was uncle to my grandmother Patricia Rizal.
Patricia (Rizal) Lampe arrived in Seattle in August 1945. By the U.S. Army, she was guaranteed her husband, Fred Lampe’s West Seattle home when she arrived with their remaining five children. To their surprise Fred’s siblings sold the house as soon as they discovered the news that their brother had died in the Japanese concentration camp in the Phillipines; they did not want the house to be left to the “mucks” or dark-skinned. My grandfather’s family was left homeless.
Eventually destiny would have it that a house in the Capital Hill district was up for sale. Taking pity upon the family, a benefactor friend bought the house for them under contract which the Rizal family eventually paid off.
Though I only visited my grandmother, all my uncles and aunts and cousins and 2nd cousins and other relatives of the Filipino Jewish side on the average once a year since I was 14, I have had many memories in this home. And most recently I spent my last two nights with my 69-year-old cousin and her husband amongst the boxes and boxes of memories.
I witnessed the aged walls cracked as if desiring to speak of all the secrets held within about to be completely demolished and refurbished by the new tenant. The floors creaked at the light weight of my footsteps slipping past the bedrooms of my cousins and my cousins and my cousins. We talked until the wee hours of the morning reminiscing of our parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins over food; always over food we discussed politics. (My father’s side of the family is very political and quite outspoken.)
Letting go of a home due to the inability to keep up with the rising taxes is a real shame. I noticed that many of the older couples who once lived next doors and across the street are no longer; a new generation of kids have shared the block. They are the ones who can afford to pay the mortgage AND the taxes. It is a shame the western culture does not provide a tax break with the consideration to the elderly because many would like to remain in their homes until their death.
My cousin was born and raised in this home 69 years ago, just a year after my Grandmother bought it. Last weekend, with her brother, husband and son, she moved into a 2-bedroom condo on Seattle’s south side. As usual with the Rizal/Lampe/Villaflor/Edwards’ traditional hospitality, she extends an invite for me to come stay whenever I come through Seattle. That hospitality is part of the way things were way before the legacy of the 17th avenue home, and no matter what town or country we live, no matter what house, and no matter what age, or what time in history, it’s the way that hospitality will remain.
Hankyboy Hudson – on his master’s 28th birthday
7 years and 2 days ago, Hank was given as a birthday gift from a boyfriend to a girlfriend. A sensitive young pup who never outgrew his loving kindness, he passed today in his master’s arms. She said it was the first time she had experienced the spirit pass from its body; as it was leaving, just for a few seconds Hank looked like a bear. Not surprised as his master’s name is Ursala.
We’re missing you Hankyboy!
Stylish dancing shoes go out on the town in rainy Juneau, Alaska
It’s true; all three of these women are artists. They work hard for a living and how often do they get a chance to wear a nice pair of shoes from “Shoe Fly” and go out and boogie and shake out weeks’ worth of working, working, working!? Especially in Juneau, Alaska? For many, many years Juneau was known as the dancing capital city of Alaska. Now it’s very rare to dance to a live band; it’s the culture. It seems the latest generation of young folk don’t create dance bands anymore? I guess they are all plugged into their iphones music app instead of creating their own music?
“Haa Shagoon” film written, directed and produced by Joseph Kawaky – 1981
I was not even 25 years old when this film was shot. In the Summer of 1980, because of sudden news of a death of a dear love, I was in Haines on a private retreat in a small cabin on Paradise Cove with my then 9-month-old daughter, Lily Hope. I remember hearing about the struggles the local Tlingit were having with the local, state and federal governments regarding the Native rights and use of the Chilkoot Lake and River. It was an emotional time for many of the local Tlingits. Over the next couple of decades, I had come to know many of the folks in this film. I watched this film many years ago when it first came out in 1981, just a year after it was filmed. I bought this copy for only $10 at the Sealaska Heritage Institute retail shop and watched it again. All but one or two of the elders in the film have all passed. It was emotional 34 years ago as it was today.