I have been registered as a voting Cherokee Nation citizen since 2006. I am also Modoc, a tribe along the Oregon/California border. Since 2009 I have been an active member in the Mt. Hood Cherokees, one of 25 official At-Large groups recognized by the Cherokee Nation. I volunteer with an outreach group of the Great Spirit Church, a Native American Fellowship.
In addition to tribal preoccupations, I have one child about to receive a Geology degree at Oregon State University in Corvallis. I belong to a women’s relay team. I keep a blog. I own and manage my own 5 acres out in Rainier, Oregon, along the Columbia River, where I raise chickens and post silly TikTok videos of them interacting with local black tail deer. My constant companion is my 14-year-old cat, Racecar.
mt. hood cherokees
At Mt. Hood Cherokees I attend monthly meetings and maintain close relationships with the Council, as well as many of the group members. I have edited Talking Leaves, the group newsletter, for six years. In 2017 the Council selected me to attend the Annual Conference of Community Leaders in Tulsa and Tahlequah, OK.
great spirit church
Though I am not a member of any church, Great Spirit invited me to work for them because I am a tribal member. I have edited their church newsletter for two years. I belong to their Outreach group that seeks to assist Native communities across the state of Oregon and in the Portland Metro area in particular. We have been able to donate masks and fire extinguishers to groups along the Columbia River, and food, gift cards, blankets, and cedar to Portland Natives in need. We have also assisted the Klamath Tribes with an acquisition of a building to use as temporary housing for victims of domestic abuse.
natives helping natives
The end of May 2020, a group of Yakama fishermen I had just met asked me for help, and Warm Springs residents that she had just met asked a fellow Cherokee for help. We got approval from the Mt. Hood Cherokees Council to sponsor a fundraiser. It was outstandingly successful and we raised over $25,000 to help the two Native groups.
While the Belle Brigade has nothing to do with Native Americans, we are yet a group of warriors. We are Portland to Coast relay walking team that will participate in the Hood to Coast relay in August 2021. We are an all-women veteran team of 12 and we have been together since 2019.
I recently completed an examination of the events leading up to the Modoc War of 1872-1873. First I present a picture of what life was like for Modocs at the time of first contact, before General Sherman gave the order to exterminate the tribe. In the second post, I explain how the Modoc Tribe survives today against all odds.
The image above and nearly all of the images you will find on this website are my own photos. The curving path above is just below the Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, Japan.
Blogs can be simultaneously deeply personal and shallow. Like I found with my commuter train ethnography, communities can evolve in many ways and in the 21st century many communities exist only online. Such is my experience. I am in a group of about 15 bloggers around the world who follow and comment on each other’s blogs and share joys and challenges and then meet up in real life when we can – even when that takes some us to other countries!
Below is my YouTube video of what’s at the bottom of the curving path in the photo.