‘Whoa moments’ at Art Week

Confluence Project: Mid Valley students marvel, learn and create

ODELL — Art Week at Mid Valley Elementary is always an eye-opening experience for the 500-plus students who get to participate, and this week was no exception.

One of the artists, Jefferson Greene, a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, said there were many wide eyes as he shared his personal stories and stories of the Columbia River Indians way of life.

“They were surprised to hear that even to this day we use all the parts of an animal: the hide, meat, hooves, cheeks, bones and horns,” Greene said.

As part of his week-long residency Greene introduced children to his culture through stories, art, social dance and legends. From canoes to horses Greene conveyed how Native Americans have adapted and continue to adapt to their environment. His recounting of his annual 20-day voyage by canoe down the Columbia River starting at Rock Creek Lake in Washington and ending at Quinault Indian Nation near Taholah was another one of those “whoa” moments.

As an artist and a performer with the N’Chi Wanapum Canoe Family Dancers, Jefferson Greene visits schools throughout the Mid-Columbia Region with the Confluence Project’s Gifts from Our Ancestors program. These educational grants offer schools the opportunity to bring traditional and contemporary Native American artists, storytellers and cultural teachers into their schools to engage students, teachers and their communities with place-based learning about the rich heritage practiced among the indigenous people of the Columbia River Plateau and at Celilo Falls. Students also create a permanent project at their school that reflects that understanding.

Art teacher Peggy Dills Kelter has applied and been awarded this GOA grant for two years. Jefferson’s visit was jointly paid for by Confluence Project and by the PTO at Mid Valley.

“We always try to have at least one residency that has an interesting cultural or cross-curricular connection,” said Kelter.

Last year, traditional Native American artist Pat Courtney Gold, an acclaimed basket weaver, worked with the older kids.

In addition to Jefferson Greene, Shelley Toon Hight taught an integrated art/science project and 11 artists total participated in this four-day event, the brainchild of Kelter and Principal Dennis McCauley. Students previewed the artistic offerings and out of the four they selected each child was placed in one of their choices.

It was a week where art took center stage and children got time to creatively express themselves in a small group setting.

“One of my favorite parts about (Art Week) is that there are only 10 to 12 children in each session with the artist, so the one-on-one contact is superb,” said Kelter. “The kids are always totally jazzed about it; it’s definitely the highlight of the year for many of them.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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