Friday, April 12, 2013

RIP: Maggie Price, Artist (1947-2013)

The art world lost a wonderful artist and pastelist when Maggie Price, New Mexico Artist and Teacher, lost her battle with brain cancer and passed away April 4, 2013.

Maggie Price (1947-2013)
Her work can be found online at Maggie Price Art.  The Blog that she and her husband and fellow artist, Bill Canright, shared is Painting Partners.

Here is an Art Video of her teaching pastel painting:

Here is an interview with Maggie Price:

Special Exhibition in June, 2013:

"The Best of Maggie Price" Show and Sale 

Maggie Price, Bridge
Bridge at Blair Castle, Maggie Price
NMAL presents this special showing of works by our friend and mentor, the late Maggie Price. The exhibition will feature both oil and pastel paintings of her travels as well as of the land she loved best, New Mexico. The exhibition will be shown through July.

Reception Sunday, June 9, 1-4 pm

New Mexico Art League
3409 Juan Tabo NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87111

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Beautiful Buffy Sainte-Marie

Buffy Sainte-Marie (1967)
I first heard Buffy Sainte-Marie in the 1960's.  She had a big hit called "Universal Soldier" on her first album, It's My Way,  produced in 1964. Donovan recorded it and it became a  popular hit in 1965 in both England and the USA.. 

Universal Soldier

He's five feet two and he's six feet four
He fights with missiles and with spears
He's all of 31 and he's only 17
He's been a soldier for a thousand years

He's a Catholic, a Hindu, an atheist, a Jain,
a Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew
and he knows he shouldn't kill
and he knows he always will
kill you for me my friend and me for you

And he's fighting for Canada,
he's fighting for France,
he's fighting for the USA,
and he's fighting for the Russians
and he's fighting for Japan,
and he thinks we'll put an end to war this way

And he's fighting for Democracy
and fighting for the Reds
He says it's for the peace of all
He's the one who must decide
who's to live and who's to die
and he never sees the writing on the walls

But without him how would Hitler have
condemned him at Dachau
Without him Caesar would have stood alone
He's the one who gives his body
as a weapon to a war
and without him all this killing can't go on

He's the universal soldier and he
really is to blame
His orders come from far away no more
They come from him, and you, and me
and brothers can't you see
this is not the way we put an end to war.

I got to meet Buffy Sainte-Marie and see her perform at a fundraiser for the American Indian Movement (AIM) in San Diego in 1973. The event was a wonderful gathering of progressive people like The Black Federation, the Migrant Ministry, the UFW, etc. to help raise defense funds for the AIM defendants arrested at the Siege of Wounded Knee.

Dennis Banks (Co-founder of the American Indian Movement)  (1973)  

Vernon Sukumu (Executive Director of the Black Federation) and Dennis Banks 
In 1973, I was working for the United Farm Workers Union
and taking  lots of pictures with my Pentax camera.
She was a great young performer who was politically black-listed by Presidents Johnson and Nixon because of her activism for the Native American Movement in the 1970's. Her music wasn't played on radio stations in the USA for the next two decades. She got a gig on Sesame Street from 1975-1981 where she appeared with her first son, Dakota Starblanket Wolfchild. 

In her native land of Canada, she achieved great popularity as an educator, musician and song writer and artist.   Her impact on the modern Native American/First Nations music and cultural scene has been profound. Her influence has produced many new musicians among Native Americans. Her original songs have been recorded by other musicians and have become hits throughout the world for other artists..

In 1982, she received an Academy Award for Best Original Song, Up Where We Belong, the theme song for An Officer and a Gentleman.  

Buffy show-cased her talents when, at 68 years old, she performed before the world at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. Here she performs live her Cho Cho Fire:

At 72, Buffy still rocks and is still relevant. She's still fighting for the people and the land we live in.  I love her strong and vibrant No No Keshagesh from her 2009 CD Running for the Drum:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

One Eyed Dreamer

There I go again
dreaming with one eye open.
Credulous thoughts taken seriously,
consuming new ideas fatuously.
Funny how I can believe
in things that will never be.
Perhaps that is the way
humans do persist,
when finally we see
what we may have missed
in lives lived with endless yearning
we now must face the season's turning.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Talking about Immigrants

The US has been debating delaying changes to its immigration policy for many years. Congress may soon propose immigration policy reform that addresses the millions of undocumented immigrants that live among us.  America is a nation where the vast majority of its citizens have ancestry that goes back to foreign-born immigrants.   Starting with largely European immigrants who came to the New World to seek their fortune or to escape religious persecution in their own homelands in the three centuries before the establishment of the United States of America, immigrants from every continent have continued to flow into the New World by the millions
For the first three centuries of immigration to America, there weren't any visas, passports or "green cards" required.  These foreigners assumed that they could expoit the resources of the New World and take ownership of the seemingly endless land.  The original native population was not asked for permission to immigrate.  The ownership rights of the native population was not an issue for these early European explorers and settlers who believed that all that they needed was God's providence and that His hand directed them in their acquisition of these new lands.  Of course, the gun was a necessary and constant companion in their taking of the land because the native people did not go gently from their ancestral homeland. These early settlers were followed by an endless stream of Europeans and African slaves. African captives were forced to come to the New World and spend their lives toiling for the enrichment of white men and women.  Their native-born children were born into slavery and were not free people until the American Civil War resulted in the prohibition of slavery.  In the 17th century, many of the poorest new immigrants "indentured" themselves to wealthier men to pay for their passage to America. Beginning in the 19th century, Impoverished and war weary immigrants filled the ships that sailed to the New World in the hope that they could escape such travails and find employment. 
Russians tried to establish ownership of the West  Coast of America.  Perhaps because their own supply lines were so far away, their colonies were financial failures for the Russian Empire. In 1862, 586,412 square miles of Russian-owned land in the far northwest of North America was purchased by the US government and became the Alaskan Territory and thereby ended the Russian early immigration.  
The land seemed so endless and the need for labor so great, that immigrants were welcomed without limit.  Chinese arrived on the West Coast in the 1800's and greatly increased their immigration when gold was discovered in California in 1848. Racism and xenophobia grew among the white population and resulted in the first immigration law to restrict immigration  in 1862, followed by Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
My Family of Immigrants
My father's ancestors immigrated from Norway in 1881 when many Scandanavians experienced economic pressures and unemployment at home.  Six brothers left a family farm to pursue a better life in the northern states of Wisconsin and Minnesota. This area was very much like the land they left and many communities were Norweigian-speaking and Lutheran, the state religion of Norway.  My great grandfather was a wagon-maker and wood-worker in Minnesota. He brought a wife and two children with him. After his first wife died, he remarried to the daughter of a Norweigian immigrant who homesteaded land in the state of Wisconsin.
The Six Gregerson brothers who immigrated from Norway to the USA in 1881.
My Great Grandfather is Carl Gregerson (second from the right lower row).
On my mother's side, my ancestors immigrated from Germany (or Prussia as it was called then).  My great-great grandfather, Carl Charles Molt, immigrated from Prussia in 1860. He became a farmer in the state of Kansas and married an American-born woman of German ancestry.

My husband's grandfather and grandmother immigrated from Austria (Slovenia) to the US in 1905.  His grandfather worked as a laborer, was uneducated and never learned to speak English.

By the second generation, most Americans born of immigrant parents become highly acculturated to  American values and life-styles, fluent only in English or bilingual in their own family's native tongue.  By the third or fourth generation, most Americans don't even know their ancestral origins.  I have only begun to have an interest in my heritage in the past 20 years.  With the help of online tools like, the Mormon Church records, and census data, I have begun to piece together my family history.

I hope the US Congress is successful in passing immigration policy reform and that immigrants who do not have papers to establish their own and their children's legal residency will get a chance to live here legally.   The anti-immigrant voices of American Nativism are gradually being diminished in the political debate, perhaps because the Republican Party sees the writing on the wall that they cannot win elections with an anti-immigrant message.  Immigrants are the lifeblood that keeps American innovation and its economy blossoming anew.  Huffington Post has a an excellent overview to the history of US immigration and its present-day issues at this link..