Monday, November 22, 2010

Snow!

This is my backyard. It's snowing! It's so nice to be inside a warm house and see the beautiful snow. But it's a bit scary because Seattle isn't as equipped as Provo to handle snow.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Waiting in the cold

Hollis and I have very nearly opposite schedules, so we don't travel together as often as we did in the summer. But sometimes we get to ride the bus together. And then it is a lot more fun.

See how excited we are?

Okay, so this was mostly just an excuse to take a picture and blog using my new iPod :)

Identity

I wrote this email to a teacher sharing my thoughts on the topic of Identity. We had been discussing that day what was a real Indian? In my mind this is closely tied to anyone's personal identity.

Just for reference, Blood Quantum is how much percentage someone has of a certain racial, or ethnic ancestry, particularly in reference to whether an American Indian is considered by the US government to be an American Indian.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Elissa

Today we were talking about Indian "Identity" and I wanted to share some thoughts I'd had on the subject.
The first time I remember investigating my "heritage" was in fourth or fifth grade when we had to do a presentation on a foreign country (or culture) in our blood heritage. It was the first time I tried to track my genealogy out of the country. My family has been born in the US for about 3 or 4 generations on all sides and by the time I got people that were born in another country, it was scattered all over. I think I ended up being about 1/4th English and 1/8th Danish and then 1/16ths and 1/32 other stuff. Oh and like 1/8 Swiss, which means they were part of another country or culture when Switzerland was formed. I didn't want to do England, cause like 3 or 4 kids were already doing England, so i ended doing Switzerland. After that I don't remember thinking much about the culture my ancestors were from. This is not to discredit the culture and heritage of my parents and their parents and grandparents, but that was about as far as it went for me.

Then I got into a multicultural studies class my sophomore year in college and was one of two (three including the teacher) of white, middle class, christian males. I got the impression from the class that the accepted view of multiculturalism was that I, being of the oppressing class, would never know the hardships of those that I had oppressed, regardless of the actions of my or their ancestors. I didn't really get it and it didn't affect my relationships with any of my friends (arab, asian, african, european, american etc.) but it did expose to me the importance that many people put on race, and ethnicity. And that we do have distinct and different heritage and that that shouldn't be ignored, and that past oppression has modern day consequences and affects.

As part of my personal statement in my transfer application to the University of Washington, I was asked to include how multiculturalism has affected me and life. I didn't understand the question. Because it was much more than who am I, ancestrally (a northern European mutt), or how much money my father makes (middle class), or what schools and church I went to, and what friends I had. I had to some how comprehensively talk about it all, and it was the first time I tried to figure out how I identified myself.

Ok, here goes. I was white. Check. Little confusion about that. I had no known relatives from Africa, Asia, South America, or that were "Native Americans". I was part of the middle class, a culture all of its own (or so I'm told). My parents made a decent living and spread over 11 kids we always had enough, but we sure didn't have luxuries of cable TV and large birthday parties. I was Christian, but a special kind of Christian. One that many Christians didn't consider Christian. Some even called us a Cult. I was (and am) Mormon. That was how I primarily identified myself. I was more Mormon than I was of European decent. More than I was middle class (the church easily crosses financial lines, and thus my social circle founded therein did as well). More than I was from Seattle (and I am a Seattle-ite through and through). But this Christian subsection was hardly ever recognized in school. Never discussed in multicultural classes I had taken. The only reference I remember from K-12 education was eighth grade high-cap social studies, where someone did a vague and extremely skeptical report on the founding of the church by Joseph Smith, and how they were the primary settlers of Utah.

And so I wasn't sure how well this identity fit in with the "academic" view of multiculturalism that this question was addressing. I decided to include it and voice my opinion on the lack of history of mormons and mormon persecution in college and primary education. It being once acceptable to kill blacks because of their skin color, must be as outrageous as an extermination order passed in Missouri to kill all mormons in the state. There weren't concentration camps. Instead those that didn't escape were killed on site.

The people who endured this and pioneered to find freedom and worked hard to do so (in Utah of all places) are the people I claim to be my cultural ancestors. I've thought a lot about this cultural portion of ancestry and feel that who you define yourself as should have more impact on the way you are defined as others to be than who your parents and grandparents were and what they did. Would Bruce Wayne be a great man if he squandered his father's fortune because his father fought for social justice? No, he had to.

Anyway, I've blathered on and this is a bit disjointed, but to get down to my point, I think cultural self identification (and acting as part of those identifications, practicing what you preach) is more important than any sort of blood quantum or whatever. I understand that religious culture is a lot easier to adopt into your own life than racial or ethnic culture, but are American Ex-pats living in Britain (that want nothing to do with the United States) American? Are they British? Should it matter?

Hollis Crapo

Monday, November 15, 2010

My new iPod!

Earlier this summer I got a checking account at Key Bank. They had a
special - get an account, do some things with it, and get a free iPod.
Simple. So I jumped through some hoops and then waited for my iPod to
arrive. I expected to get one of the 3G iPods because the newest ones
were released after I signed up with Key.

To my extreme surprise and delight, I got a new iPod! It has a camera
that takes photos and video. And Hollis and I went to the Apple Store
to buy this awesome case for it.

Hollis and I use our iPods for calendars - we have them synced with each other. And then we are also starting to use them as our phones - for free! We love it. As long as we have wi-fi, we have a free phone line. So after December, you shouldn't call our cell numbers. You should call our google voice numbers. We'll try to remember to let everyone know ;)

Friday, November 12, 2010

School Fall 2010

So Michelle and I are in school right now, I in my senior year at UW and Michelle in her last year of her Masters program there as well. So I thought I would tell you about my classes. I'm taking Northwest Coastal Indian 2D art. It all about learning the shapes and forms of Coastal Indian art and involves a lot of drawing and is super fun. Its been about 8 years since I've taken an art class, and I love it. I'm taking an intro to American Indian Studies class. It's required for my AIS minor and is very laid back and broad and . . . well . . . easy. But the best class by far is Wood Carving. It's taught by the same teacher that teaches my 2D art class. He is an Indian artist that lives locally and has been teaching for years. He only teaches these two classes and teaches them both every quarter. He is also a curator at the Burke Historical Museum.

For the Wood Carving class, the first project was make an adze, a traditional wood carving tool. First we went to the Pratt Fine Arts Center and received a piece of steel that used to be a suspension strut for truck. It was cut into 6" strips and trimmed to about 1 1/2" wide. We then used a trench forge, hammer, tongs, anvil, grinders and sanders to make it a blade.
Then we were given a trimmed tree branch to make into a handle that we de-barked and shaped. Then we used hose clamps to fasten the blade to it.
From there our teacher cut down a tree (alder) and cut it into 14" tall rounds. He brought them to class where we partnered up, picked a round and used a froe (a long thin wedge attached at a right angle to a handle at one end) to split the round in half. then we took our round, measured out a rectangle on one side, and then using squares and yard sticks to transfer the rectangle to its exact mirror on the other end.
Then using the froe, we cleaved the round at the edges of our rectangle.
Then used our adze to square up the block.
We are now tracing our sketches for our ladle (our second project), on the sides and then top and bottom and using the adze to trim away the excess wood. After that, we use straight knives and crooked knives to carve from there. Its really awesome.