Tag Archives: Fort Collins Museum

Clovis cache

I found out yesterday that a guy in Boulder, doing some landscaping last year, shoveling, literally, uncovered a Clovis cache 18″ under his front yard. The cache contained over 80 items, ranging from small tools to the characteristic large platters of stone found in other Clovis caches:

clovis1

Can you imagine? Finding something like this in your yard? Thirteen thousand years old. And rare — Clovis caches are so rare. A quick Google search comes up with only seven other known Clovis caches. The only reason I know anything about this is because the Fort Collins Museum is one of the lucky holders of a Clovis cache — the Watts cache, donated in 1941 by Ira Watts, who found the pieces when plowing his farm field in nearby Timnath. The six pieces of the Watts cache sat unremarked upon for decades until a specialist in prehistoric lithics saw them and realized what they were.

But — what were they? Tools? Weapons? Raw materials? Offerings? Legacies for the future? Maybe all of those — and other things we can’t guess at, being so far removed in time. Some of the pieces in the Mahaffy cache from Boulder are fashioned from beautifully patterned and striped stone, which tempts you to think they weren’t just utilitarian. And imagine the landscape! Camels, horses, the American lion, the giant short-faced bear. Perhaps all now sleeping beneath our feet, our homes, our front yards.

I won’t reiterate the details of the story, the analysis that’s been done on the pieces and so forth; it is fascinating, so do read it if you care to. The part I really liked was the plan to re-bury some of the pieces, to put them back where they’d been left, 13,000 years ago. Someone was expecting to return.

Deeper down the rabbit hole

I’m continuing my exploration into the world of Web 2.0 today by posting some Trees, Water & People videos to YouTube, uploading a Powerpoint slideshow to SlideShare (a presentation I did last summer about the Soapstone oral history project, nothing earth-shattering, this is just experimental), and some photos from the Indian Market to Flickr. Please note that all the photos from the Indian Market were taken by my dear bunny Carol! Who rocks! Who supports me and is such a good sport when I ask her to come help out at the Market and she ends up taking pix all day. Really good ones, I might add. So a big shout out to her.

I'm Part White

Here’s my favorite pic that Carol took at the Market. The t-shirt reads “I’m part white, but I can’t prove it.”

You mean you don’t still live in tipis?

I spent all day Saturday at the Fort Collins Indian Market, a gathering of Native artists and musicians, traditional and contemporary, drummers, rappers, Iroquois, Chumash, Lakota, Dineh, Pawnee, Shawnee, Cherokee, Crow, Ute, kids, teenagers, just-graduated CSU students and their parents, the surprised and curious, and everyone with their dogs. Brilliant blue sky and temperatures in the mid-80s.

I shot footage all day, we did interviews with some of the artists, but the best part for me was the last act of the day, Quese IMC and Bunky Echo-Hawk. Quese is a hip-hop artist from LA, and Bunky is a painter from Boulder. The cool thing about filming is that you’re thinking about the story as you watch the moment unfold; it’s different than being a spectator, somehow, more active; your eye is sharp for the details that will represent the feeling, capture your feeling, how it affected you. Like having to make up on the spot the answer to the question, what was it like? And instead of using words to describe it, you’re catching these images on tape that will answer for you.

So Quese is starting his rap, and as he’s performing Bunky is painting in response to the rap, just letting the paint fly over his canvas. There’s a knot of self-conscious junior high and high school age white Fort Collins kids standing off to the side, probably thinking, yeah, finally something we can relate to. But they’re shy. Their parents are probably watching. So they’re just standing there. But bit by bit, Quese is pulling them around to the front … engaging them … getting them to move … put their hands up … a little higher … now fists are pumping … now they’re jumping up and down and finally now they’re chanting along with him, call and response, and they’re just lit up, incandescent. It doesn’t matter that anyone is watching. This amazing energy thing is happening and the coolest thing is that I get to film it, watch it happen, respond in my own way by taking the pieces in through my lens and imagining how they will come back together to tell the story. I guess I’m doing what Bunky is doing with his painting.

These two guys, Quese and Bunky, are young, urban, cool and tough looking, yet still they seem tender to me in spite of the hip-hop attitude and regalia. I hope their own young people — the young indigenous kids on reservation and off — can look at these two guys and see the pride in who they are, the richness of where they come from, and find a way like Quese and Bunky have to honor the old ways and bring them forward.

And yeah, I bought Quese’s CD. My first-ever rap music. Yo. Representing the Middle-Aged Woman Nation. Dope.

Check out this video that Quese did for the Native American Rights Fund (the painter in the video is Bunky). And this painting by Bunky: “Custer’s Last Thought”

Fort Collins Indian Market

The first Fort Collins Indian Market is today and tomorrow down in Old Town Square, organized and run by the Fort Collins Museum. I’ll be there filming some of the artists and musicians, and Brenda and I will be doing short interviews with some of the Native folks (and people visiting the event, too) to get their perspectives on contemporary Native culture and how the old ways inform and inspire the new ways. Should be a great day.