Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Waterworks Gallery ~ Nov 3 ~ 25

Cathy Schonenberg, Mary Ann Rock & Holly Durham
Two Painters and a Ceramic Sculptor Show Recent Work
Opening Reception Saturday November 3rd 5:30 ~ 8:oo

Navajo Rug ~ Oil on Canvas ~ Cathy Schoenberg

Monday, October 29, 2007

Lee Bave directing Visitors in her Museum

These Youtube vignettes seem to have been taken by a group of visitors who stopped by the Pig War Museum with their video camera.

Emelia Lee Bave ~ The Pig War Museum

Lee Bave & Escort in Front of Pig War Museum

I’ll get back to the problem of alleged illegal alien farm animals on San Juan Island soon but first I’d like to mention the work of Emelia Lee Bave. I stopped by to visit Lee yesterday afternoon. She still has a flare for the dramatic and is, at 97 years old, truly a living Island treasure.

Historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, was interviewed on KUOW Weekday this morning. The title of Ulrich’s latest book, Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History has become a popular slogan. Says Ulrich, “History is not just what happened but its what gets remembered.” Lee Bave is one memorable, energetic and creative woman who may have veered slightly outside of the bounds of what is considered “well behaved” to keep the history of San Juan Island’s Pig War alive and vibrant. Bave maintained the Island’s Pig War Museum and was also famous for her performance of the San Juan Saga, a one woman accounting of the Pig War.

Ian Byington Releases New CD

Things Seen & Unseen by Ian Byington

from Ian's Update

"It's a whole new approach: Singing songs that reflect both the reality of what surrounds us, and the hopefulness it will take to make it better.

In this album, Ian draws from spiritual & activist roots to speak directly to the sorrows that surround us, and the chance for joy."

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Time Warps

Peggy Sue at the Woolworths in Anchorage Alaska - 1980

A reader gently corrected me. Washington and Oregon separated in 1853 not 1953 and Isaac Ebey came to San Jaun Island in 1854 not 1954. I could say, Hey, I'm the visual type, I don't do well with numbers and that would be true. It is also true that I have often felt I somehow stumbled into these modern times by mistake. I have at various times confused the 19th & 20th centuries. Wishful thinking perhaps? Even as a child born in the Pacific Northwest I dreamed of coming west with a wagon train. I loved old-fashioned things. As a young adult for a number of years I sewed all of my own clothes by hand, with a needle and thread. Those were in fact the best clothes I ever owned. The charming but rustic house I lived in on Lopez Island could easily have been a 19th century home but for the air traffic overhead. Here I am now in the 21st century working on a computer. I do love the modern conveniences, a hot shower and my email. Yet, there is a part of me that loves to linger in the 19th century. Hence my love of history. I hope you will enjoy time traveling with me through my blog.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Isaac Ebey ~ Big Tyee

Isaac Ebey (1818-1857)

Isaac Ebey is noteworthy for being the first U.S. settler on Whidbey Island. He was a farmer, a lawyer and a prosecuting attorney. He helped persuade the legislature to separate Washington from Oregon in 1853 and in 1854 as U.S. Customs collector he made several trips to San Juan Island. According to Bailey-Cummings in their book Powder-Keg Island the Hudson Bay Company had neglected to obtain a license to import farm animals therefore according to Ebey the animals were illegal and Ebey informed Charles Griffin, Hudson’s Bay agent, that they would be impounded. B.C. Governor Douglas responded by appointing Griffin as Justice of the Peace for San Juan Island. Ebey and Griffin threatened to arrest each other. Ebey withdrew leaving his friend Henry Webber as a deputy customs man.

As it was, Ebey's importance did not serve him well. In a skirmish between Northern Natives and an American warship as the story goes, 26 natives including a chief were killed. In 1857 a party of Haida came south to avenge the killing of their chief by killing a white Tyee (chief). After inquiring as to the importance of Ebey and being assured that he was an important man they called him out of his house, shot him dead and cut off his head in front of his terrified family.

According to the Sunnyside Cemetery records, a Captain Charles Dodd of the Hudson's Bay Company was able to retrieve Ebey’s scalp for “6 Blankets, 3 pipes, 1 cotton handkerchief, 6 heads of Tobacco, and 1 fthm of Cotton” Ebey’s brother Winfield noted in his diary, “At last a portion of the mutilated remains of my dear brother is returned. Near three years has elapsed since his murder and now his poor head returns to his home. The skin of the head is entire contained, the ears and most of the hair. The hair looks quite natural. It is a sad memento of the past".

Ebey was the only reported white casualty of the so-called Indian War of 1856-1857.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Invaded by a Legion of Sheep

usdaPhoto:Ken Hammond

With the establishment of Belle Vue Farm as a Hudson’s Bay Company outpost, James Douglas, governor of British Columbia and chief factor of Fort Victoria, hoped to usurp the American “squatters” who were beginning to drift onto the Island. Douglas wanted to claim the Island for the Crown. Besides Belle View Farm, the British corporation under the agent, Charles Griffin, established sheep stations at three other points on the Island, according to Vouri, in The Pig War, these included “Oak Prairie (today’s San Juan Valley), another valley just south of Roche Harbor, and a clearing above a sheltered bay on the Island’s east side (Friday Harbor). Douglas hoped this would establish enough of a presence to make it obvious that the Island was a British holding.

Governor Douglas of British Columbia

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Woolly Dogs and Salish Weavers

Clal-lum Women Weaving Blanket oil on canvas, mid 19th century
by Paul Kane Royal Ontario Museum

The textile arts of Salish Weavers were world renoun. Captain Cook collected Salish weaving and a few rare remaining weavings are cared for today in European Museums. With weaving skill a Salish woman could earn status and material independence. A woman's wealth could be measured in the number of Woolly Dogs she kept. Wool dogs were bred for their soft thick undercoat, they were kept in small herds separate from any other type of dog, fed on salmon for glossy coats and sheared like sheep once a year. Kathy Duncan writes in an article, Coast Salish Weaving that materials sometines added to the dog wool included; goose, duck or gull down, that, like fur was left on the skin of the bird and cut into long strips to be woven into the wool; nettle or hemp fibers, fireweed and catail fluff. The weavings were sometimes colored with natural dyes: alder bark for red, lichen for yellow, oregon grape for gold, copper for blue otherwise the blankets artistry was found in the texture of the weave. With the upheavel of European contact, the availability of less expensive wool yarn and trade blankets not to mention the introduction of sheep traditional weaving declined. The dogs no longer kept from interbreeding, are belived to be extinct.

All of this history is reflected in the art work of contemporary Salish artist Susan Point. You can see it in her etched glass sculptural pieces based on traditional spindal whorls and in her exclucive designs for Pendleton Blankets.

Halibut, etched glass by Susan Point at Arctic Raven Gallery

Radio Free Lopez Presents ~ Oct 29

Devon Sproule & Paul Curreri on Lopez Island
Historic Port Stanley Schoolhouse on Monday - October 29 - 7:30 P.M

On Curreri, “Exquisite… brings a renewed eloquence to the medium.” – The New Yorker

"Perhaps the sweetest and most honest folk-pop album recorded this year, Sproule's vocal and lyrical beauty is unmatched." - Rolling Stone

"Devon has recently appeared on NPR's World Cafe and has received numerous kudos for her recent CD Keep Your Silver Shined. Paul Curreri is a brillant songwriter and master guitarist" - Radio Free Lopez

link to: Radio Free Lopez
link to: Historic Port Stanley Schoolhouse

Monday, October 22, 2007

San Juan Community Theatre ~ Oct 26

San Juan Community Theatre Presents
Seattle Opera's Young Artists~ Oct 26 7:30 pm

link to: San Juan Community Theatre
link to: Seattle Opera Young Artists Program

San Juan Community Theatre ~ Nov 4

Tommy Castro Band
One Night Only ~ Sunday November 4, 7:30 pm

link to: Tommy Castro Band
link to: San Juan Community Theatre

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Native Women Save Society

Digital Scriptorium Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library,
link to: Duke University Scriptorium Sheetmusic

They came to San Juan Island from Europe, from Hawaii, from the eastern United States, from California and as far as China. They came for fortune, adventure and enterprise. One thing the new arrivals had in commen was that for the most part they were all men. Very few women ventured to the far reaches of the Pacific Northwest except for the local native women who had lived here for generations. Many of the new arrivals married native women and these women played a critical role in the settlement of the Island. The book Native American Wives of San Juan Settlers by Karen Lamb Jones traces local family roots and First Nation heritage. One such native woman married a man from Kentucky named Lyman Cutler. He was to become a key player in the Pig War.

Native American Wives of San Juan Settlers
Available through local bookstores or from
The Orcas Island Historical Museum online bookstore

Saturday, October 20, 2007


San Francisco Harbor 1850 ~ US Surveying Expedition

Just as the British Corporate Hudson Bay Company outpost Belle Vue Farm was settling in between the muddy lines of an ill defined international boundary on San Juan Island the demographics of the west were undergoing a swift and radical change. In 1848 gold was discovered in California. According to Wikipedia some 300,000 men came by ship or wagon train to seek their fortunes in the gold fields. San Francisco became a boomtown almost overnight. Many arrived too late to find gold in California so in the late 1850s when gold was discovered again in British Columbia’s Fraser River ships filled with prospectors headed north. From Wikipedia, “within a month 30,000 men, had descended upon Victoria, which until that time had had only a population of about 500”. They came from all over the world but most of these fortune seekers were American men.

link to: Wikipedia’s California Gold Rush page

link to: Wikipedia’s Fraser Canyon Gold Rush page

Friday, October 19, 2007

The 49th Parallel meets the Salish Sea

1846 Map of San Juan Island featured in
The Pig War: Standoff at Griffin Bay
by Mike Vouri

But wait! Don’t shoot the pig yet! Two important events must take place first, the signing of the Oregon Treaty and the Gold Rush. The signing of the Oregon Treaty in 1846 decided once and for all the holdings of Britain and the United States in the Pacific Northwest…well, almost. The border was drawn strait along the 49th parallel from the Rocky Mountains west to the edge of the continent. Then it gets a bit murky. Here is the actual language:

…. the line of the boundary between the territories of the United States and those of Her Britannic Majesty shall be continued westward along the said 49th parallel of north latitude to the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver’s Island; and thence southerly through the middle of said channel, and of Fuca’s Straits to the Pacific Ocean…

Did they mean the channel on the west side of San Juan Island or the channel on the east side of San Juan Island?

Author, actor, historian and National Park Ranger Mike Vouri has written the definitive book on the Pig War, The Pig War: Standoff at Griffin Bay. Mike also performs a one-man play in the character of Captain, then General George Pickett who served in the United States Army on San Juan Island before fighting for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

Mike Vouri playing Captain George Pickett

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sweet Rejection ~ Pig War T-shirts

I had mixed feelings today as I was very nicely rejected as a possible candidate for lunchroom lady at the grade school. Although a paycheck and dental would have been very nice the relief of not having to do it overwhelmed any fleeting feeling of chagrin. I got the news immediately after I took the plunge and purchased my domain name, I took it to mean that my commitment to following my blogging bliss (soon to be a web page) was being rewarded not necessarily by doors flying open but one door and least, the door to the grade school lunchroom, blessedly closing behind me. I still work two days a week at the Whale Museum and I take notes for Friday Harbor’s Historic Preservation Board, two jobs I enjoy but I live dangling precariously off the edge. Since I moved back to Friday Harbor with my Masters Degree in Fine Art I’ve worked as a dishwasher, cleaning lady, roller-skate supervisor and bookseller. There have been a few highlights in my artistic career like the Morris Graves residency but I find it hard to paint without large amounts of open time. Blogging however I seem to be able to do any time. I had already gone to bed last night when I had the idea for my Pig War T-shirt design. I got back out of bed and put it together. Today I put it up on Café Press where it is now available as a T-shirt or Tote Bag. I have some resizing to do and it will soon be available as a mouse pad or mug. Here it is, Mr. Grffin’s prize Berkshire Boar. Whoever said, “Do what you love and the money will follow” I sure hope is right because that is what I’m doing and boy do I need money.

And now, can I interest you in a T-shirt? We have organic cotton… a muscle shirt might be just the thing… and the tote bag is especially nice.

link to: On San Juan Island’s Café Press store

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Belle Vue Farm

Belle Vue Sheep Farm painting by Richard Schlecht ~ National Park Service

By 1853 Hudson’s Bay had established Belle Vue Farm on the South end of San Juan Island. The farm was named for its splendid view across the straits to the Olympic Mountains. Overseen by Charles Griffin the farm featured a truck garden, farmyard animals including Berkshire boars and more than a thousand sheep set loose to graze the Islands prairies. The farm employees were European, Native and Hawaiian. Hawaiian sheepherders were employed to maintain the sheep.

Belle Vue Farm site today photo: National Park Service

link to: Belle Vue Farm: San Juan Island National Historical Park

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fish Camp at Granny's Cove

According to Jo Bailey and Al Cummings in San Juan: The Powder Keg Island the Native Fish Camp where salmon were processed for the Hudson Bay Company was at "Granny's Cove" in what is now American Camp: San Juan Island National Historical Park. When this photograph of the beach was taken my father's family, the McRaes, Scots immigrants who moved out here from Montana in the 1920s, were still farming what is now American Camp Park. I remember my Dad, Jim McRae, saying he had the best childhood a person could have growing up at American Camp. Dad passed away in 1975.

Unfortunatly, Powder Keg Island by the Bailey-Cummings is currently out of print.

Lummi Wild Salmon Reefnet Fishing

"This is how to catch wild salmon! Lummi Island Wild reefnet wild salmon is the highest quality salmon in the world. Sustainable wild caught salmon that easily rivals Copper River and other wild Alaskan salmon. Healthy, sustainable, wild, and solar powered!"

Wild reefnet salmon are still available. To view products, learn about reefnetting, or find salmon recipies link to: Lummi Island Wild Reefnet Salmon website. Lummi Island Wild fisheries were recently awarded the Washington State Govenor's Award for Sustainability for their innovative solar powered fishing vessels.

"Lummi Island Wild is preserving the ancient art of reefnet wild salmon fishing and helping to shape the future of this fragile Pacific Northwest salmon fishery."

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Dawn Of Corporate Globalization

Hudson's Bay Company Coat of Arms

In 1620 Hudson’s Bay Trading Company was incorporated with a Royal Charter from King Charles II of England and was granted a monopoly of all of the Indian trading in the entire Hudson Bay drainage, roughly a third of Canada. In 1674 the original founders of the Hudson Bay Company, two Frenchmen, founded the competing North West Company. After decades of hostilities between England and France the North West Company was ceded to Britain. These were the days when the sun never set on the British Empire or its commercial interests. In other words it was the dawn of corporate globalization. British trading interests spanned the globe with outposts in far flung places as remote as the East India Company in Bombay and the Hudson Bay Company at Fort Victoria on Vancouver Island with an outpost on San Juan Island where beginning around 1850 HBC paid Indians in wool blankets for salted fish packed in barrels. According to Jo Bailey and Al Cummings in their book San Juan: The Powder-Keg Island the natives got one blanket for 60 fish.

The Hudson Bay Company still sells Wool Point Blankets made in England

Inconclusive Evidence

This small Chinese bowl belonged to my grandparents who lived on San Juan Island
I do not know where they got it.

Inconclusive Evidence: I had heard that Menzies, author of 1421, had not done good research, hence my "his evidence is not conclusive". A reader offers these websites:

Four Corners: Investigative TV Journalism

"Unfortunately, reporter Quentin McDermott points out, his book (1421) has a credibility problem. Professional historians label it naïve scholarship or worse, straight-out fabrication. Menzies writes, amongst other things, that New Zealand Maori are not Polynesians but a cross breed of Chinese concubines and Melanesians. The evidence for this, and many similar claims, is tissue thin".

But as far as I know, no one has disputed the factual integrity of Victoria, British Columbia's The Daily Colonist.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Early Chinese Artifacts

Han Dynasty Chinese Coin

The 1492 The Year China Discovered the World Website features an interactive map showing where throughout the world early Chinese artifacts have been found. The following entry describes Buddhist relics found in British Columbia.

An article from ‘The Daily Colonist’, Victoria, BC, Thursday August 31st, 1933 describes a Buddhist relic found in Northern British Columbia, and now in the possession of John Forsythe. The Chinese talisman dating back to 200 BC was found in an oriental jar with other early Buddhist relics, entwined in the roots of an uprooted tree several centuries old. (Lester Lee)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Westward Ho! Eastward Ho?

American History is taught in school in a broad westward sweep through time and space across the map. It starts on the eastern seaboard in the colonies and steadily progresses west over the course of the first American century. But before I get into the settlement of Europeans here on San Juan Island it is worth noting that there was an Eastern movement going on as well. Hawaiians, then called Kanakas took advantage of the western sailing ships as soon as they began to harbor in the Sandwich, or Hawaiian Islands, by boarding them as seamen and traveling the world. Many ended up in the Pacific Northwest. Some right here on San Juan Island. It is also highly likely that even before Juan de Fuca sailed into these waters Chinese and Japanese vessels arrived here via the Japanese currant. While his evidence is not conclusive in the book 1421: The Year The Chinese Discovered the World by Gavin Menzies the author creates a compelling case for early Chinese exploration. We have been programmed both by our education and the cultural mythology of the west to think of our history only in the context of the United States. To think instead of our history within the context of the Pacific Rim and its influences throws a slightly different light onto the way we view our past.

"In total, some 34 different lines of evidence have been found to support the theory that the Chinese circumnavigated and charted the globe, a century before the Europeans staked claim to having done so.

1421: The Year The Chinese Discovered the World

Historical Museum Auction

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Lunch with a Seagull

Today, I had the best lunch. First, I cruised through Uptown Espresso where I picked up a coconut latte and a bagel with lox and cream cheese and then I headed out to South Beach. This bagel sandwich was good! I shared bits of the salmon with my lunch companions; a Seagull and a Yellow Jacket and they thought it was really good too!

Just like anywhere else life here can be absolutely frantic but one of the truly great things about living on an Island is that it really is surrounded by water.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Island Stage Left Presents Doubt

Island Stage Left
Presents Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award Winning Play
Doubt by John Patrick Shanley
Roche Harbor Pavilion November 1st - December 1st
Thursdays - Saturdays 7:30 PM
Sundays 4:30 PM

"The best new play of the season. That rarity of rarities, an issue-driven play that is unpreachy, thought-provoking, and so full of high drama that the audience with which I saw it gasped out loud a half-dozen times at its startling twists and turns."

Admission Free. Donations welcome

Monday, October 8, 2007

Who Discovered America?

They call it Columbus Day. The post office and banks are closed. I would never begrudge a federal employee a day off but what thinking person actually believes Columbus discovered America?

We know who discovered America.

Leonard Peltier March and Rally, Tacoma Washington. 2007
Photo: Michele & Jack Storms – link to: Storms PhotoGraphic

link to: The Myth Keepers of Columbus - By Robert Robideau


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Film Screening at San Juan Island Library

feature-length documentary
by Tim Bennett and Sally Erickson
will screen at:
The San Juan Island Library on October 13th at 5:30pm

A middle class white guy comes to grips with Peak Oil, Climate Change, Mass Extinction, Population Overshoot and the demise of the American Lifestyle.

Contact Adrienne Bourne at the San Juan Island Library 378-2798 for more information about the screening.

Now Showing at Waterworks Gallery

OCTOBER 6 - 28

Repose - Plaster for Bronze
Kevin Pettelle

"I look to the figure as a road map to explore how form, shapes and shadows, positive and negative space direct the eye through a sculpture on a tireless journey."
Kevin Pettelle

Friday, October 5, 2007

What Would Sitting Bull Do?

"The reason for killing and destroying such an infinate number of souls is that the Christians have an ultimate aim, which is to aquire gold, and to swell themselves with riches in a very brief time and thus rise to a high estate disproportionate to their merits."
From Devastation of the Indies by Bartolome de Las Casas ~ 1542
In reference to, Christopher Columbus

" we are celebrating a man who... began the genocide of indigenous peoples, exploitation of resources in this hemisphere and also was the first person to initiate the transatlantic slave trade in this hemisphere."
Roberto Mucaro-Borrero ~ Indiginous Activist
In reference to, Christopher Columbus

Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce

"I will fight no more forever"
Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce led a band of men, women and children throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho for over 1,000 miles pursued by the U. S. Army. Only 30 miles from the Canadian border on October 5, 1877 they were captured and surrendered.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Banned Books Week

Read a Banned Book

"According to the American Library Association (ALA), "more than a book a day faces removal from free and open public access in U.S. schools and libraries." This is why I find it so important to celebrate and promote Banned Books Week every year."

Laura Tretter ~ San Juan Island Library

Ginny Snowe & John Miller in Concert

Ginny Snowe & John Miller
Isle Be Jammin'
Two Concerts Saturday, 7pm & 9pm, October 13

"If ever you have wanted an enjoyable evening of mellow jazz vocals and absolutly superb guitar playing, this is it." ~ Kirk Fuhrmeister

Ginny Snowe & John Miller celebrate the release of their new CD, "You Fascinate Me So". The concert will focus on Jazz standards by composers like Hoagy Carmichael, Cy Coleman, and Burt Bacharach, as well as Brazilian classics from people like Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gilberto Gil and Ary Barroso, which Ginny sings in Portugese.

Admission is limited to 20 people per show and will cost $10.00..... tickets will be available at the hall on the night of the concert and in advance at the store. Please call to reserve your seats. 378 5151

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Dervish - Eurovision 2007

Dervish At San Juan Community Theatre


Dervish at the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki

Globally popular Irish band Dervish
will be playing traditional music from the west of Ireland
in Friday Harbor, One night only, Sunday, October 7, 7:00 pm.

Tickets are $24 adults; $12 for students reserved $5 student RUSH tickets available at the door.

link to: Dervish
link to: Eurovision

Monday, October 1, 2007

Contemporary Coast Salish Art

Coast Salish artist Shaun Peterson spoke in Friday Harbor last night in the Gubelman Room at the San Juan Community Theatre. His talk cleared up the mystery as to why Coast Salish art has not been as prominent in the 20th century as the art of northern Northwest Coast tribes such as the Haida or Tlingit. Peterson explained that traditionally the northern tribal arts were crest driven and had to do with tribal identity. Conversely, the Salish arts were ceremonial and considered private. One common motif in contemporary Salish art is the spindle whorl form as used in traditional Salish weaving. One reason for this is that the spindle was a functional tool and safer for contemporary artists to use without garnering the criticism of elders who may disapprove of revealing art motifs of a more ritualistic and therefore private nature. The spindle whorl has beautifully inspired the Coast Salish artist Susan Point.

Ancestral Guardian - Susan Point – Arctic Raven Gallery
Carved and Slumped Glass Spindle Whorl with Carved Red Cedar Base

"Although many of her contemporaries were producing designs which were representative of more northern native groups, she chose to concentrate on the designs of her own people. Consulting with her uncle, Professor Michael Kew, an anthropologist at the University of British Columbia, Susan began to investigate traditional Coast Salish art forms. One of the forms that intrigued her was the Spindle Whorl, a wooden disk, elaborately carved, which was used in the spinning of wool."

Excerpt from Susan Point's website Susan Point