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!
As I was going through the files on my camera, I came across some more photos from the excavations out at 34GT47.
Here's Lauren, our fearless leader, telling us the day's work plan. And that's Kristina, enacting said plan.
As you can see here, we were working in a very small area, limited by ODOT's right of way. The white string in the lower right corner marks the right of way line. The site actually extends far beyond the right of way, though.
The site is eroding out of the slope. Here, you can see the dark brown soil containing cultural deposits contrasted with the sterile red clay below it.
Another slope shot. It really sucked when equipment would roll down the slope.
I worked on a unit containing a deep pit. I could basically stand in it and barely see out of it.
Another pit shot, facing south instead of north this time.
Some time ago, I wrote a review of Uncommon Threads: Wabanaki Textiles, Clothing, and Costume. The book review is now out in the latest issue of Museum Anthropology Review and is available here.
In short, I really enjoyed this book. Beautifully illustrated, it is a companion to an exhibit launched by the Maine State Museum. Much more than a catalog of the objects in the exhibit, though, the authors provide an examination of the history, art, and culture of the Maritime Peninsula's indigenous population. Bourque and LaBar demonstrate how Wabanaki textiles, broadly defined as everything from fish weirs to beaded moccasins, began as life-sustaining activities, became a source of income, and today exist as an important marker of cultural identity.
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.