I went back to Louisiana for Thanksgiving and snapped a few photos of the Brown House. I guess it probably was painted brown at some point, but that was a long, long time ago.
This is the back of the Brown House. The house is mostly used for storage now, a sort of family dumping ground for old furniture and back issues of National Geographic.
Light at the front of the house and some remnants of brown paint.
The electric meter. I'm not sure when this was last connected to power.
The front of the house, home to spiders galore.
This week marks Oklahoma's 105th year as the 46th state in the United States, so in honor of that, I decided to fly my Oklahoma state flag.
This was the original Oklahoma state flag, used from 1911 until 1925. The design changed to the one we have today because some people felt that the red background was "too communist."
While I appreciate the design of the "new" flag and its nod to Oklahoma's Native American heritage, I still really like the original flag.
A few weeks ago, I went out to Wetumka on a project. As you probably already know, I'm a sucker for old buildings.
My best guess is that this was some sort of water treatment facility, but I really have no idea.
I liked the colors and contrast of this sink, which was inside the building and up the stairs.
The exterior of the building. No idea what's going on with the architecture here.
And a beautiful sunflower to close out the post. It was growing right outside the building.
On a side note, I love my new (used) camera!
Every Wednesday afternoon, my whole family loads up in the car and heads to Binger. We've been bringing Jameson along since he was 2 (before then, we were super-strict about his bedtime and he stayed home with Dad). This past month, he's had the honor to sit at the drum with the big boys. Last week was his first time to hold a drum stick (above), and with some help from Dakota, he's actually starting to get the hang of it.
He does get a little bit of practice at home, usually on a much smaller drum. Or an upside-down laundry basket -- whatever works!
The other day, I took some photos of the Caddo dance ground. I was helping with a memorial dinner and went up the hill after we'd finished cleaning.
This is the Community Building. I've heard that it is the first structure to be built here, well before the tribal complex was established. This is the south end of the building. The north end has bathrooms with showers -- which get a lot of use during the summer camp.
This is the dance ground, looking northeasterly. This dirt has amazing staining properties. When folks refer to Oklahoma's red dirt, this is what they are talking about.
Being here when there is no one else around is sort of lonely. Since we haven't had much rain this summer, you can still see the footprints from the last dance (probably the closing dance at this year's Hasinai camp).
Looking east from the parking lot at the Community Building. You can't help but think of all of the folks who have danced here over the years, who set up camp and cooked over a fire, who visited with family and friends in the shade of the trees.
When I got back into my car after taking these photos, I had a hitchhiker.
It's time for the Indian Fair! I drove out to Anadarko this morning and met up with Tracy's bunch to watch the parade. Boy howdy, was it hot! The bank's thermometer said it was 125*, but I don't think it was really that hot. This is going to be an image-heavy post. You've been warned.
A Color Guard to start off the parade. This is the Comanche Indian Veterans Association Color Guard. They were followed by a marching band and bag-pipers (in kilts!).
Charlie Parton, Anadarko Schools' most devoted and spirited fan. "Let's get fired up!"
Here come the floats.
Two staples of the Indian Fair parade -- princesses and ponies. This is Arapaho Tribal Princess Mikayla Skye Horse.
A couple of lovely ladies carrying the banner for the Delaware Nation.
Here's Delaware Nation Princess Silvina Kionute. See those beads she's throwing? I caught 'em!
I don't know how these little guys managed not to pass out from dehydration.
Samantha Wells is serving as the Junior Princess for the Oklahoma Southwest Vietnam Veterans organization.
Next up is the Caddo Nation.
Shayna Sullivan was selected as the Caddo Nation's princess.
Remember that I mentioned is was REALLY hot today? These guys know how to stay cool.
The Apache Fire Dancers are always a favorite.
Some of these men were sweating off their paint.
This mischievous guy helped himself to a kid's candy.
Aiden Cozad, braving the heat in buckskin and wool, is the Kiowa Tribal Princess.
This sign was one of several on a vehicle, representing a drug intervention program (I think). I have many questions, not the least of which is why would someone replace their thumb with a beer bottle.
Here's Comanche Nation Princess Desire' Attocknie. Smart girl has her water close at hand. A lot of floats threw bottles of cold water instead of candy. Best. Idea. Ever.
Comanche Little Ponies Princess Angelica Blackstar has that princess wave down.
And in the last photo, we have Carrie Makah Klinekole, the Princess for the Kiowa-Apache Blackfoot Society. This young lady deserves big time credit for making it to the parade this morning since the Blackfoot Society had their annual ceremonial this past weekend. That's dedication, right there.
Last Saturday, we had a memorial dinner for Diane Sparks, an elder who recently passed away. Memorial dinners are always bittersweet events. We remember those who have left us and share a meal with those who we hold dear. Diane was an important part of the community. She regularly attended the Hasinai Summer Camp and was a member of the Caddo Nation's tribal council. We will miss her quiet presence at camp, as well as her wise advice.
The flags were flying at half-mast Saturday. A dedicated group of ladies prepared a traditional meal, including habushko, corn soup, pork and hominy, fry bread, and grape dumplings. Everything came out perfect. Other folks brought side dishes and desserts. After a short service, people shared remembrances of Diane and sang Caddo hymns. It was a beautiful send-off for a beautiful lady.
If you don't have anything to do this weekend, come on out to the Kiowa-Apache Blackfoot ceremonials. The Hasinai Society is co-hosting this year and helps take care of the flag. It'll be hot, but you can always stop by Shirley's camp to cool off!
A couple of days ago, I loaded up a car and drove around southwestern Oklahoma. Totally work-related. I needed to check out a potential traditional cultural property, to look for a relocated bridge, and to meet with the folks over at the Comanche Nation.
This is what I got to walk through. Overgrown, and not much to see, except for someone's deer stand. And judging by the poop I spotted in several different places, they picked a good spot for that stand.
A few flowers were blooming, but begrudgingly. Turns out that there was no traditional cultural property to be found, which is a good thing. There were, however, ticks to be found, not such a good thing.
After leaving the woods, I stopped by Trivets Restaurant in Elgin. If you are ever in the vicinity of Elgin, stop at Trivets and eat some pie. You'll be glad that you did.
My next stop was the community of Faxon. There's not much to Faxon. I was looking for a relocated historic bridge. This is not the bridge that I was looking for, but I took a picture of it anyway.
I drove all over town and took pictures of interesting things, like the abandoned playground at the school
Sort of a bleak beauty to the place.
This building has obviously seen better days.
It turned 100 years old last year.
I know 100 years isn't all that old for a building, but to put that into context, Oklahoma had only been a state for 3 years when this building was constructed.
Another building up the street was in similar disrepair. At one time, it was a grocery store and filling station, with a staking rink to boot!
Scenes from the movie Fast Charlie... the Moonbeam Rider, starring David Carradine, were filmed here. Reportedly, that's when "Hotel - Weekly Rates" was painted on the side of the building.
More recently, someone started to renovate the building into a bar and converted the original windows into wagon wheel portholes.
This old gas station was on the other side of Faxon. It reminds me of the a store near where I grew up. The floors were wood, and the soda pops were in chest-style coolers.
On the way out of town, I came across this building. I really liked the shadows on the wall.
Finally, I made my way to Lawton and had a great (and productive) meeting with my friends over at the Comanche Nation. It's always nice to catch up with them.
And on the way out of Lawton, I stopped for this lovely sign.
So, there's a day in the life of ODOT's Tribal Liaison -- tromping through the woods, exploring small towns, and meeting with tribal folks. What a great job!
Rhonda S. Fair
I am a cultural anthropologist, currently employed
as the Tribal Liaison for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. This
position gives me the opportunity to apply my ethnographic training, as well as
do archaeological fieldwork. I am also on the faculty of the University of
Oklahoma's College of Liberal Studies.