Camas Journal 2023: Baby Camas, Mowing, Cultural Fire

This year I tried to get out there into the field when the camas is beginning to erupt from the ground. I am not sure I have seen the baby camas when it just erupts before, only when it is already in full leaf. It helps that I transplanted some camas, and seeded camas some years ago at my home so I can see on a daily basis the progress of camas in my area of the Willamette Valley. When I saw it erupt in my well-managed and weeded garden, I then knew I needed to get out into the … Continue reading Camas Journal 2023: Baby Camas, Mowing, Cultural Fire

Socialites and Indian Baskets: Success of Harwood Hall at Sherman and Chemawa

I have always been confused as to why there is a Chemawa Jr. High in Riverside CA. The word Chemawa is from the Kalapuya tribes of the Willamette Valley and designates a village just north of Salem, Oregon. As well there is a Native boarding school, Chemawa Indian School, that began in 1880 located north of Salem that is still operating.  In recent research I found there was a pre-existing Chemawa Park in Riverside which predated Sherman Indian Industrial school by one year (1901), and Chemawa Jr. High, built within the former park, which is still operating as Chemawa Middle … Continue reading Socialites and Indian Baskets: Success of Harwood Hall at Sherman and Chemawa

Camas and Micro-seasonality at Minto-Brown Park

We all are aware of the annual seasons, winter, spring, summer, and fall, but in the growing cycle of the plants of the Willamette Valley there are micro-seasons when specific plants rise and expend their energies. (there is probably a botanical term for micro-seasons but not sure what that is.) This is the case at Minto-Brown park, during the first spring micro-season, with few flowers and plants just beginning to grow. For Camas, in about March-April, they sprout their long leaves and it takes some weeks for the central flower to begin to rise.   There are a few early … Continue reading Camas and Micro-seasonality at Minto-Brown Park

Draining Lake Labish

In 1981, I took a job weeding onion fields out Hazelgreen Road on the outskirts of Salem, Oregon, as one of my first jobs. In the summer after high school got out, I began cycling out Cordon Road, on my Raleigh Reliant, from my house near Sunnyview Drive, at 7 in the morning. From my doorstep, I would arrive at the onion fields in about 45 minutes of hard riding through the cool morning fog. The onions, likely Wallawallas, were large and grew in long rows in near-black soils. The weeds too grew large as the soils were rich in … Continue reading Draining Lake Labish

Native Salem Exhibit

This summer (2021) I was approached by the Bush Art Museum to do something for Native American month. Over the period of several months of discussion, we centered the exhibit themes on a few Native stories directly related to Salem. I wrote out those themes over the course of a few days and then we began picking images for the exhibit. What emerged was a mostly narrative-driven exhibit with some images to support the narrative. This was decided even though the majority of exhibitions are light on words and image-heavy. But the nature of the early history of Salem, Oregon … Continue reading Native Salem Exhibit