Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Neah Bay

PLU on the Beach. Darlene Reilley
Is it possible to cram the rest of our experience into one blog entry?  We've done so much and had so many great experiences, I'm not sure if I can contain the whole thing here.  You wouldn't think that you could cram so many experiences into 12 days, but it's possible.  Over the last week and a half, we have: helped with a funeral, attended orientation, toured the village and the museum, hiked to Cape Flattery and Ozette, attended Church, rode in canoes, played the Bone Game, helped with service placements, attended basketball games, toured a woodshop, made cedar mats, learned a bit of the Makah language, made Cedar Rope bracelets and letter openers, learned about Tribal Journeys, delivered gifts, watched a carver rough out a small canoe, made drum keychains, attended lectures about Forestry, Marine Mammals, Veterans, Ozette and Chamber of Commerce, and listened to stories around a campfire.  If you've read that straight through, you should be as out of breath as we were at the end...and many of us were debating whether we wanted to come home.

View from our Cabin. Darlene Reilley

Getting ready to do a Polar Bear Plunge!

Stories and smores around the campfire. Darlene Reilley 

Playing on the Beach. Darlene Reilley

The Makah are generous hosts; they have welcomed us into their lives and homes.  It was an honor meeting them.  I can't step away without mentioning President and Dr. Krise and Tamara Williams and her sons's visit.  It was an honor to meet them all.  The entire group shared dinner with them and I hope we were able to convey how special an experience it is to visit Neah Bay.  I know they were able to walk on the beach at Hobuck and tour the MCRC.  Dr. Huelsbeck has brought students to Neah Bay for 18 years and I hope that continues and that other Lutes follow behind us and spend time with our friends.

As we went about our time there, one thing sticks out: people kept approaching us and thanking us for our service, especially at the funeral.  It was an honor to be able to help out.  We appreciate the fact that they invited us into their lives.  We were able to help the community when they needed it and in return give back to the community for allowing us to have the experience of entering their community as junior family members.

The experience of meeting several Makah people and sharing experiences with them has been one of the highlights of my time at PLU.



Monday, January 27, 2014

Drum Key Chains

One of the most exciting experiences that we have had is learning how to make traditional crafts from artists in the community. All the traditional arts and crafts that we made in the past few days put together can hold a small exhibition. Comparing to the memory of making my clumsy fingers shuttle back and forth in the woods of cedars, the process of making drum key chains is like one of the open areas in the thick coastal forest of Ozette, giving me a chance to take a deep breath.

The drum head is made of deer hide. Each of us also got a piece of PVC pipe either larger or small, a key chain, either round or eight-figure, sinew, suede, Olivella shells, and a variety of beads. We punched small holes around the edge of deer hide, sewed it with sinew, and made a cross tie on one side of the pipe. Then Vicky, our teacher and a professional drum maker, drilled two holes on the pipe, one on top and one on bottom. We then strung all our beads, key chain, and shells together with suede, made ties at the end to secure the beads, and a nice drum key chain was done.

  Dr. Huelsbeck holding a pre-made drum key chain. Photo by: Jane Hu 
  Materials. Photo by: Jane Hu
  We are trying so hard while having a lot of fun. Photo by: Jane Hu 
The drum key chain I made. Photo by: Jane Hu

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ozette and O'Henry's!

We are now half-way through our time here at Neah Bay. This has been a crazy realization for many of us because it feels like we just arrived yesterday, while at the same time feeling like we have been part of this community for much longer than five days. The warm welcome and generosity that we have experienced from everyone in the community has been amazing. Whether it's a wave as our white PLU vans make the trek down the main street, a trip out to Gary's smokehouse for a bag of "Makah candy", or another invitation to someone's house for dessert and stories, the community of Neah Bay has made us feel so welcome. Their hospitality and openness has in many ways made us feel like we are a part of the community for the eleven days that we are here.

While the weather during our time here has been nothing short of spectacular, our trip to Ozette yesterday really was the best day of them all. We began our one-hour drive out to Ozette Lake after picking up Glenn, our hiking guide--there wasn't a cloud in the sky and the air was crisp. When we arrived at the trailhead, Dr. Huelsbeck handed out the hiking "spikes" for their annual use. These spikes really came in handy on the slick boardwalk that covered most of the trail. The trail wound us through lush forest and a few open prairies here and there. After about 1.5hrs of hiking we arrived at the beach, looking right out to Ozette Island. The view was breathtaking.
Ozette Trail. Photo by: Anna McCracken

We followed Glenn and Dr. Huelsbeck along the beach to the the Ozette dig site. Their is a small cabin located there, along with a replica long house that is full of various bones and shells that hikers have found over the years. We ate our lunch on a log in front of the cabin, complete with Capri Suns and O'Henry's (some members of our group even got a bit of a sun burn...who would have thought this could happen in January on the NW coast of WA?!). After lunch Dr. Huelsbeck told us a bit about his experience at the Ozette site in the late 1970s and even pointed out to us his "secret" camping spot! It was incredible to see the place where all of the Ozette artifacts came from and to be in this place that we have heard so much about. Considering the sheer amount of artifacts that came from the Ozette site, I was surprised at how small the site actually was. After the talk, we had some time to explore the beach, say hello to a few local deer, and swing from a rope on the beach before heading back up the trail.
Dr. Huelsbeck telling us about the Ozette project. Photo by: Anna McCracken

Laura in awe of all the awesome finds inside the long house! Photo by: Anna McCracken

Our day of adventure at Ozette ended with delicious soup and dumplings back at Hobuck. While the resort directors here may think the cabins fit only four people, our group of 17 fits just great, especially when a good meal is involved! Today was our first day at our site placements, but we'll save more of that for later!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hello from Neah Bay!

Hello from Neah Bay!  We arrived the evening of the 16th and settled in, but picked up the pace the next day and it hasn’t slowed down.  Of course, the first thing we did after settling into our beach-side cabins was walk down to the beach and watch the sun set. 

Sunset on the Beach by Darlene Reilley

Feet in the Sand by Darlene Reilley

Friday the 17th we had an orientation session at the Makah Culture and Resource Center (MCRC) before having brunch at the Senior Center.  Then we toured the Wellness Center, which is new—they built it above the tsunami zone.  An elder passed away and we were invited to help set up and take down chairs and tables for the funeral.  It was a honor to assist as junior family members.  The Makah are very welcoming and generous hosts. 

The view from Cabin 25.

View of the Ocean from our Cape Flattery hike. 
The Anthropology group at the most Northwest point in the United States.  In the background is Tatoosh Island. 

Saturday the 18th we had a village orientation and a tour of the MCRC.  My favorite part was sitting in a replica of a longhouse which was recreated in the museum to resemble House 1 from the Ozette archaeological dig.  It is huge!  You could fit over 60 people in there easily.  We then hiked to the most Northwest tip of Washington—it was beautiful!  Several of us scampered down a basalt area to look at the ocean.  There were sea lions out in the water and across the area on a rock off Tatoosh Island.  After the hike we ate Fish Soup at the Lutheran Church—picture 1 and 2 inch square halibut with potatoes and celery in a light broth.  It was delicious! (I love food…don’t we all?)
Time for canoeing! 

On Sunday several of us attended church.  Although there were several to go to, I went to the Lutheran Church.  After lunch at the church, we took a canoe ride down a river.  It took two long canoes to fit all of us!  After that we were treated to salmon spread and stories.  I love hearing people tell their oral history.  We then went to the marina for Indian Tacos and the Bone Game.  My favorite moment drumming during the Bone Game.
Today many of our group are hiking to the Ozette archaeological dig with Dr. Huelsbeck.  Stay tuned for more updates from the coast!



Monday, January 13, 2014

Preparing for the Journey and Logistics

Hello!  We are Darlene, Anna, and Jane, students of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA.  This J-Term (January Term) we and several other PLU students are taking Makah Culture Past and Present with Dr. Dave Huelsbeck.

Our class has prepared for the journey to the coast all month.  We've read the textbook: Social & Cultural Anthropology: A Very Short Introduction by John Monaghan & Peter Just.  We've also read scores of journal articles in order to establish a base knowledge of what contemporary and traditional Makah culture are.  Most anthropologists spend years in preparation work for field studies, but for this experience we have experienced two intense weeks of studying the archaeology and history of the Makah culture.

At the moment we are studying for our midterm exam which takes place on Wednesday before packing for Neah Bay.  We head out on Thursday.  While our internet connection may be spotty at times, we will update this blog as often as possible so you can share our experience.  Welcome to the team!


Darlene, Anna, and Jane