Saturday, October 25, 2008

Speaker to discuss human rights in Guatemala Oct. 27

HANCOCK -- Alejandro Che Paau's home is slated to be under water by 2013.

Paau was born in this Maya-Q'eqchi jungle village of 300 people perched above the verdant banks of the Chixoy and Copón rivers in northern Guatemala. Fields of cardamom and corn surround several dozen palm-thatched homes, which are accessible only by boat or foot.

Alejandro Che Paau and his fields of cardamom and corn are threatened by the proposed Xalalá Dam in Guatemala. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Guatemala Accompaniment Project)

But the junction of these two jade-colored rivers, a 20-minute descent from Paau's home, is also the proposed site for the nation's second-largest hydroelectric project -- the Xalalá Dam. His village is one of 18 communities that would become a 3-square-mile reservoir.

Alejandro looks out over the rivers that are the site of the proposed Xalalá Dam, Guatemala's second-largest hydroelectric project. If allowed to be built, the project would inundate 18 villages, including his. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Guatemala Accompaniment Project)

Hilly McGahan served for a year as an accompanier sponsored by the Copper Country Guatemala Accompaniment Project (CCGAP).

She lived with Mayan people like Alejandro, people who are resisting the destruction of their homelands by corporate interests. Hilly wrote those words above for an article which appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on June 8, 2008. You can find a link to the article and a letter Hilly wrote from Guatemala last summer by visiting the CCGAP Web site.

Hilly McGahan and Sue Ellen Kingsley, CCGAP executive director, in San Lucas Sacatapequez, Guatemala, July 2007. (Photo courtesy CCGAP.)

Hilly McGahan will be visiting the Copper Country to share her experiences with groups and classes October 25 - 29. She will be giving a public presentation at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 27, following a potluck at 6 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Hancock (beside City Hall). If you would like her to speak to your group, please call 482-6827 or 483-0260.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

MTU to host Native American Forum, "Spirit of Harvest" Powwow Oct. 24-25

Women dancers display colorful regalia at the 2007 Spirit of the Harvest Powwow in MTU's Gates Tennis Center. This year's powwow will take place here on Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008. (Photo © 2007 Michele Bourdieu)

HOUGHTON -- The 13th Annual Native American Speakers' Forum will be held in the Memorial Union Ballroom on Friday, Oct. 24.

The forum is part of two days of Native American events, hosted by Michigan Technological University and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, which culminate in the Spirit of the Harvest Powwow on Saturday.

"The forum and powwow are an opportunity for community members to learn about the Native American cultures in the region through a relaxed, fun event," said Lori Muhlig, Native American outreach coordinator at Michigan Tech.

All events for the weekend are free and open to the public.

Beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 24, the forum will include speakers and opening and closing ceremonies, presented by the Four Thunders Drum Group of Baraga and Lac Vieux Desert.

Featured presenters will be Lemyra DeBruyn on "How the Eagle Books Got Their Wings"; Sam English on "Healing Through Arts"; and two motivational speakers, Iris PrettyPaint and Lowery Begay. Begay will also perform a traditional hoop dance. There will be an hour break for lunch at noon.

Lowery Begay performs a traditional hoop dance during the 2007 Native American Speakers' Forum in the Rozsa Center at Michigan Tech. He will perform again at this year's Speaker's Forum and Powwow on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 24-25, 2008. (Photo © 2007 Michele Bourdieu)*

The 13th Annual Spirit of the Harvest Powwow, also hosted by Michigan Tech and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, will be held at the Gates Tennis Center on Saturday, Oct. 25.

The Grand Entry, in which a full color guard will lead dancers and participants in full native dress, will take place at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Presentations will include a variety of native dance, music and exhibitions. Sam English will present a "Healing Through the Arts" workshop from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The renowned hoop dance and flute exhibition, featuring Lowery Begay, will take place at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Punkin Shananaquet will present the Pink Shawl Project, aimed at breast cancer awareness, at 4:30 p.m. Shananaquet is a member of the Potawatomi and Ojibwe tribes.

Veterans join youth dancers during the 2007 Spirit of the Harvest Powwow at the MTU Gates Tennis Center. (Photo © 2007 Michele Bourdieu)

Members of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community will serve as the color guard, with Donald Chosa as the head veteran dancer. Other dancers will include the head male dancer, Roger LaBine, an Ojibwe tribal member of Lac Vieux Desert. Youth head dancers will be Keweenaw Bay Indian Community representatives Ethan Smith and Tashina Emery-Kauppila, who is also the 2008 Miss Keweenaw Bay Indian Princess.

Students from the American Indian Science and Engineering Society pause for a photo during their work providing refreshments -- including delicious traditional Native American fry bread -- at the 2007 Spirit of the Harvest Powwow. (Photo © 2007 Michele Bourdieu)

Drummers for the powwow include the Four Thunders Drum Group from Baraga and Lac Vieux Desert, as well as the Loon Travelers. Stone Boy will be the host drum.

There will be a break from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for dinner.

*Editor's Note: See more photos and videos from the 2007 Native American Speakers' Forum at MTU in our Oct. 26, 2007 article, "Native American dancers, musicians perform for U.P. youth in Rozsa.

Rozsa Center to host film, lecture on Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Study Oct. 26 (updated*)

HOUGHTON -- Fortunate Wilderness: the Wolf and Moose Study of Isle Royale, a film by George Desort, will be shown at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 26, in the Rozsa Center on the Michigan Tech campus.

John Vucetich, wolf biologist, walks on the ice at Washington Harbor, Isle Royale. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo © 2008 George Desort. Reprinted with permission.)

This is the mainland premier of a beautiful and vivid documentary film that was first shown this past summer on Isle Royale during the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Wolf-Moose Study.

Anchored in the northwest depths of Lake Superior, Isle Royale is one of America’s last remaining wild places. Fifty-six miles of inhospitable waters isolate the island from the Michigan mainland. Explore this wilderness island with wolf biologists Rolf Peterson and John Vucetich, as they attempt to make sense of the delicate balance between wolf, moose and climate.

Preceding the film, Vucetich will present a lecture on the wolf-moose relationship on Isle Royale. Questions and Answers with Vucetich and filmmaker Desort will follow.

The event, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Van Evera Distinguished Lecture Series Endowment.

*Update: The Duluth premiere of Fortunate Wilderness will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6, in the Marshall Performing Arts Center at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

The Bay Area Film Society will have a screening of Fortunate Wilderness at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008, at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor's Center near Ashland, Wis.

Visit the Web site for the film for more information.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

FOLK meeting to feature talks on mineral rights, U.P. mining Oct. 23

BARAGA -- "Know Your Mineral Rights" and "Metallic Sulfide and Uranium Mining across the UP" will be the subjects of two presentations sponsored by Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK) at 7 p. m. on Thursday, Oct. 23, at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) Senior Center in Baraga.

Scott Bouma and Theresa Bertossi of Save the Wild UP, a Marquette group opposed to the proposed Kennecott sulfide mine, will give the presentations, following FOLK's General Membership Meeting. The event is free and open to the public.

Directions to the KBIC Senior Center: Going south from Houghton on U.S. 41, turn right onto M-38 in Baraga. After about a half block, turn right (north) onto Main Street. Go about a half mile. The Senior Center is on the left at the big BINGO sign. Call Dave Rulison at 334-2553 if you have questions.

For information about sulfide mining and Save the Wild UP visit their Web site.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Photography exhibit by Christine Flavin at Finlandia Gallery Oct. 20 - Nov. 13

"Champion Engine House" by Christine Flavin. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

HANCOCK -- An exhibit by Christing Flavin titled, "Vanishing Horizons: An Interpretation of the Abandoned Mining Sites of the Upper Peninsula," is featured at the Finlandia University Gallery from Oct. 20 through Nov. 13.

An opening reception for the artist will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, at the Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock. An artist talk will begin at 7:15 p.m.

Flavin took the exhibit photos with hand-built, zone plate and panoramic pinhole cameras –- cameras without optical lenses. For the past two years she has been photographing the abandoned iron and copper mining sites of the Upper Peninsula, along with the stamp mills and the barren ground they left behind.

Christine Flavin photographing at the Freda Stamp Mill ruins. (Photo © 2008 John Morser)

"The deserted structures float in a frame of black," explains Flavin, "engaging the viewer in the sensation of peeking through an aperture of time at relics from an ancient civilization."

The exhibit also features large color murals created with a panoramic pinhole camera.

"Like old WPA murals on the walls of banks, libraries, and other public spaces," says Flavin, "these images are a testimony to the labor that was done; but now the work-spaces are hauntingly empty of human presence."

"Calumet-Hecla Trestle" by Christine Flavin. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

Flavin will work with Finlandia art and design students Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 22 - 23.

The Finnish American Heritage Center is at 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 8:a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., or by appointment. Please call 906-487-7500 for more information.

See also the Finlandia Web site for more details on the exhibit.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

La importancia de la polinización

By Gustavo Bourdieu

Editor's Note: This is the fourth in a series of "Comentarios y fotos" by Gustavo Bourdieu, Keweenaw Now photographer, for our readers who speak, read or study Spanish. In this comentario, Gustavo, who is a beekeeper, describes the importance of pollination, especially by bees.

Bees pollinate a zucchini flower. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

Como es sabido, las flores necesitan ser polinizadas para la producción de frutos. Unas variedades de flores son autopolinizadas; otras son beneficiadas por polinizadores; y para la mayoría las visitas de polinizadores son indispensables. Por eso, en nuestras huertas es importante tener polinizadores como pájaros, murciélagos y insectos.

Los insectos son los más trabajadores -- y en especial la abeja, por su constancia en la visita de las flores de una determinada variedad. Una cucharada de miel es el trabajo y esfuerzo de más o menos 100 abejas que a su vez han visitado a miles de flores. No solo nos favorece con ese tan delicado y natural producto sino que además multiplica nuestros frutos y semillas. La abeja hace un trabajo que para nosotros sería imposible realizar. Por eso es importante contribuir a preservar nuestro medio ambiente. Los polinizadores son un eslabón débil en la cadena ecológica. No todos los insectos son malos. Son muchísimos más los que nos benefician con su trabajo.

Hasta la próxima y hay que cuidar la naturaleza para los que vienen después.

Gustavo Bourdieu