Thursday April 9, 2015
Wisdom of the Elders:
Wisdom’s cultural gathering, An Evening with Wisdom of the Elders will be held on Summer Solstice again this year. Be sure to set aside the evening of Friday, June 19 to join us again for our annual celebration of Native American culture and the greatness of our elders.
We are currently offering a reduced price to our friends to purchase tickets before the end of April and save. You can purchase HERE.
Wisdom will host a salmon dinner, silent auction, music, storytelling by Wisdom co-founder Rose High Bear, and a stirring keynote address by Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission Executive Director Paul Lumley (Yakama). CRITFC has been celebrating last fall’s record-breaking chinook and sockeye salmon returns, the biggest returns since the Bonneville Dam was built in 1938. Paul will discuss the restoration of salmon culture among the Columbia River tribes.
Wisdom presenting sponsor is Providence Health and Services. Metro and Oregon Health Authority have been sponsors since we began holding our cultural celebrations and will sponsor again this year.
Our special guest was Ciarra Greene (Nez Perce) who is Wisdom Workforce Coordinator and master’s student in STEM Education at Portland State University. Ciarra has a degree in Chemistry from Northern Arizona University and is strengthening our efforts to document our upcoming habitat restoration work on public lands. Ciarra joined program hosts Bill Ray (Klamath) and Nico Wind (Assiniboine, Ojibwe) and discussed her career and recent work at Wisdom, and was joined by executive producer Rose High Bear (Deg Hit’an Dine).
A “gamut of craziness” sent Native artist Falcon Birds Eye to prison; the teachings of elders, including Martin and Rose High Bear, were the beacon for his “180-degree” turn to a positive, creative life. In gratitude, Falcon’s art will be showcased at the fourth annual An Evening with Wisdom of the Elders on June 19.
While serving 23 years in Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, Falcon, who identifies himself as Pima-Mexican-Welsh, discovered the spirituality and teachings of grandmothers and the “traditions of family,” and he partook of lodges and ceremonies, all of which helped him help himself turn his life around.
Crucial to Falcon during his imprisonment was listening to the High Bears’ tapes. Those audiotapes, Falcon says, helped him “see life as grander than what society sees.” For that, he is thankful, and “to give back to Wisdom,” he will auction one of his works at the fundraising dinner.
What Friends of Wisdom will experience at the June event are works showing Falcon’s brightly colored palette and circular art. A bird’s-eye view.
More deeply, however, his work “reflects what I see.” His pieces vibrate with the beauty of life and do not shy away from color – not in the least. One of his aims, achieved through the circles and color, is to reveal the “bigger beauty of life.”
“We’re caught up in a square life,” Falcon says, but “in a circle you don’t hit corners.” Art, he adds, “releases inner beauty.”
In the months leading up to Wisdom’s fundraising event, we will share Falcon’s uplifting turnaround story. In addition to the auction donation, other paintings by Falcon will be for sale at the dinner.
You won’t want to miss any of Falcon’s story or An Evening with Wisdom of the Elders.
STEAM pilot at Highland Park Middle School: