Saturday, part of The Child's class travelled south to watch and participate in a Native American blessing of a cedar trunk which the kids will help to turn into a totem pole. I was a little worried that it would be a show, or cultural tourism, but it turned out fairly cool. There were four tribes-people present, three elders and one young woman. The eldest, Joe, burned sage for a purification smudge. I believe the women were from the Coos Tribe, but I don't know Joe's affiliation.
Mark normally doesn't like incense, but he said that this smelled nice, which surprised me. I haven't smelled burning sage (and probably sweet grass) in such a long time and I hadn't realized how much I missed the smell from various rituals I've attended over the years. It made me miss rituals from Carleton College. I wish I had thought to ask him what he was burning, because it burned much more sweetly than the sage we just happen to have at our house.
The kids were interested, but antsy and a little mystified by what was going on as we lined up for the purifying smudge. After a walk along a very muddy trail, we got to the place where a cedar had been blown over in a recent storm. One of the elder-women spoke about how cedars were used by the natives for housing, fabrics, and basket supplies. The natives used as much of the tree as they possibly could, similar to the way the Plains peoples used all of the buffalo that they could.
Then the other elder woman sang and drummed. I don't know anything about Native music (other than the song "John Wayne's Teeth"), but I think she wasn't singing words other than "hey." She did explain that some of the higher faster beats were honor beats. Her song reminded me of the songs I once heard at a butterfly dance on a reservation in Arizona.
I hadn't realized cedar roots were used in basket weaving, and that one could harvest the runner roots like willow branches. The other thing I learned was that cedars are considered "female" trees, while others, like yew, are "male" trees.
The kids are going to work with a Native carver at their school to carve a totem pole. The Child wants to put PacMan figures on it, but I think the plan is to put local animals or animals one might see upon the Oregon Trail on it. Which might include Tuantuans.
Sunday was my sister's birthday, so we had a family celebration in Corvallis. And I fixed my Mom's laptop.
Working Out: Wednesday: Went to the gym. 200 cal and 20 minutes on the elliptical. 3X8 at 16, 14, and 12 on the assisted dip/chin. 3X12X50 on the pec-fly. Tried Russian curls with a 10 lb ball, some sets of scissor kicks, and attempted to do a pike-plank with a yoga ball (that was mostly laughable).