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Papa Joe  ~  Travel Notes

PJ's Travel Notes

PJ Tour Notes #3

Spokane County, Washington 6/17 - 6/27, 1996

We have a lovely campsite on Silver Lake. It is full of wildlife and wild onions. Miles of ponderosa pine forests and meadows to explore. Zaque is at home. This is where we found him back in '93. Unfortunately, our hosts are working in Seattle during the week and we only saw them on the weekend. With two to three shows a day, I was sleeping most of my off time. Sues spent a lot of time studying handwriting analysis. It rained a lot.

I did talk to the trees a bit. Owl showed me a serviceberry bush damaged during the last Winter. Seems the natives once used the branches of the serviceberry to make arrows. I took a dead branch, boiled it, and bent it into a hoop. The boiling made a light red dye. Just enough to stain the hoop. Owl gave us feathers to decorate the dreamcatcher when it is finished. I wonder who it is for.

Why do so few storytellers come to Eastern Washington? They love stories here. Two of the TV stations came out and taped the shows. After some of the shows, the kids took over and shared their tales. Lots of fun! Lots of love!

Standing Rock Reservation, South Dakota 7/1-2/96

Cut short. When events seem to conspire against a visit, I always assume my timing is wrong. While Kevin Locke and I tried to spend some time together, we managed only a few hours. Sickness in their family and a death in the neighbors. I got more time with his mother, Patricia Flying Earth. They are Sioux. She is definitely the elder in that family. You can see her stamp on her children and grandchildren. She cooked Wild Rice and beans for dinner and shared some of her family's history. Can you believe she started colleges on Native Reservations in eight years?

Her grandsons taught us how to find wild turnips. In the days before refrigeration and stores, the roots were stored for Winter. These boys thought that the turnips were best eaten raw soon after the finding. Maybe that is why root gathering was traditionally the woman's role. They couldn't trust the men to save the roots for Winter.

Just to breath the air. There is a wild flower found in all the states around here, the scent is much like Sweet Grass. On Standing Rock it covers the fields. We made braids of it for the Vardo. It's much nicer than store bought air fresheners.

Pat told me a tale of how safe she feels on the reservations. "like islands of safety."

"I was visiting West, driving a car with several young boys. We stopped at the end of a line of cars and wondered what was holding up the traffic. One of the boys went down to see. It was Turtle crossing the road and he was taking just one step at a time. It took him almost an hour to cross and no one drove past until he had finished. They never even thought to pick him up and carry him or even drive around. They waited and let him cross in his own time. It was his time to cross. We knew we would have ours."

Need the moral?

She also gave Sues and I a cultural lesson. The natives here do not maintain eye contact during conversations. To stare at a speaker is to show disbelief or hostility. Our way of showing respect for a speaker needs to be modified in different places. She is a good teacher.

Kevin and I traded many things. Traded isn't the right word. Gifted might be better. Stories, insights, travels, and a few things. I ended up with another tee shirt. <smile> We'll meet again. Our paths are connected in many ways. "Pilamaya aloh, Wakan Tanka! Mitakuye oyasin." "Thank you, Great Spirit! We are related to all things."

Pat does not say goodbye. She claims it is scary to say such final words. So until we meet again...


Pax & Amicitia,

Papa Joe

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