Reflections from the Gorge Region Survey

During 2015-16, year two of our Statewide Folklife Survey, OFN contract folklorists Nancy Nusz and Debbie Fant traveled all over the Columbia River Gorge counties of Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam, Jefferson, Morrow, and Umatilla as well as to the Confederated Tribes of Warms Springs and the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla to learn about the diverse cultural traditions of this region. Both also presented the results of their fieldwork at various sites in those counties. This project was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works as well as by the Oregon Historical Society and the University of Oregon.

Click on each story head line below to read just a bit of what they learned. Many of the culture keepers they documented are or will soon be part of the Oregon Culture Keepers Roster.

Western Gorge, Oregon – Nancy Nusz

Eastern Gorge – Deborah Fant

National Endowment for the Arts Awards Funds to OFN

Randi Johnson, Cowboy Poet

Randi Johnson, Cowboy Poet

The National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects and partnerships in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2016.  Included in this announcement are several awards for the Oregon Folklife Network and its partners. First, a $55,000 Art Works award to the OFN to extend our Statewide Folklife Survey to the Portland Metro area. Second, a $50,000 Partnership grant to the OFN to continue the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program and the Technical Assistance Collaboration awards, and a $45,000 Art Works award to our partner, the Four Rivers Cultural Center (Ontario, Oregon) to hire a part-time Staff Folklorist to extend OFN’s cultural programming to Eastern Oregon.

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Reflections from the Gorge Region Survey – Eastern Gorge

by Debbie Fant

Fant collageOne of the most wonderful—and humbling—things about being a public folklorist is the opportunity to explore and document other peoples’ lives. From September 2014 through September 2015, I was lucky enough to do folklore fieldwork for the Oregon Folklife Network in Morrow and Umatilla counties, where I met and interviewed amazing people—people who were generous with their time and with their stories. I encountered keepers of tradition who didn’t think what they did was anything special. So it was an honor to be able to share those stories with a wider audience in Heppner and later in Pendleton. But sharing with a wider audience—through the internet, through photos, through exhibits—is different from bringing the stories back to the people who originally told them.

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Reflections from the Gorge Region Survey – Western Gorge

by Nancy Nusz

Native American fishing platforms on the Columbia River below the John Day Dam.

From the first inhabitants to its most recent migrants, the Columbia River and its many tributaries have always provided a source of livelihood, transportation, recreation, cultural practices, creativity, and much more. A look at the folklife of the people living in the region provides a snapshot of the diversity of cultures residing there today. The five counties of north central Oregon (Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam and Jefferson) are alive with music, crafts, occupations, foodways, practices, stories, and beliefs that have been passed down from one person to the next over generations. The people practicing these traditions are living links between the past and the present and knowing some of them can enrich all our lives.

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Folklore Fieldwork in Wheeler County

by Vanessa Cutz (OFN intern and Folklore MA ’16) and Josh Ehlers (OFN Assistant Folklorist and Folklore BA ’13)

Riki Saltzman, Josh Ehlers, and Vanessa Cutz joined folklorist Joseph O’Connell in his survey of Wheeler County over the first weekend of May. We drove through the Ochoco National Forest to get to Mitchell, a small town along Highway 26 that once thrived through the logging industry. While the town now sits quietly amidst the rim rock, juniper, and sagebrush, it anticipates a potential tourist boom now that Travel Oregon has named the nearby Painted Hills one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon.

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Folklore Fieldwork in Deschutes and Crook Counties

by Brad McMullen, OFN GSA and Folklore graduate student

Riki Saltzman and OFN’s Brad McMullen joined folklorist Douglas Manger in Deschutes and Crook Counties to do fieldwork between May 20th and 22nd. Over the weekend, we were able to meet several different tradition bearers and visit a few different cultural sites to give us a deeper appreciation and understanding of the area’s history and culture.

First, we visited master bespoke bootmaker D.W. Frommer at his studio in Redmond. Mr. Frommer has been making handcrafted boots for over 20 years. He started out as a saddlemaker, but after his teacher gave him a pair of handmade boots, he was inspired to change his craft. Mr. Frommer demonstrated his boot-making process, showing us the tricks and tools of his trade, one that goes back hundreds of years. Whenever he makes a boot, Mr. Frommer feels the presence of all those bootmakers who have come before him. He stressed the importance of training others, and he strives to pass on that legacy to all of his students.

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New Exhibit: Hoplore: Hop Culture in Oregon

Makaela Kroin

hoplore

We are pleased to announce the opening of our newest exhibition, Hoplore: Hop Culture in Oregon. Hoplore celebrates the history, traditions, and regional cultures linked to the hop plant. Hopflowers, best known as a flavoring and stabilizing ingredient in beer, have played a critical role in Oregon’s agricultural heritage for more than 150 years. The cultivation of hops has brought together diverse peoples to plant, harvest, and brew this unique botanical, which is also associated with a range of folk remedies for insomnia, indigestion, and various other ailments.

Hoplore: Hop Culture in Oregon traces over 150 years of hops cultivation in Oregon through worker profiles, farm tools, historical photographs, and a short documentary. While Oregon’s heritage hop yards are 3rd and 4th-generation family businesses, small hop farms are enjoying a renaissance throughout the Willamette Valley, revitalizing and re-envisioning hop cultivation and its traditional practices.

Makaela Kroin, a graduate student in the Folklore Program, curated the exhibition, which has been part of the research and fieldwork for her degree.

To view Hoplore: Hop Culture in Oregon, visit OFN’s Window Gallery on the second floor of University of Oregon’s Knight Library in Eugene.

 

Welcome, New Staff!

RidoutEmily Ridout, M.A., is OFN’s Interim Program Manager through July 2016.  She holds a concurrent position as the Program Coordinator for the Confucius Institute for Global China Studies. Ridout has an MA in Folklore and a certificate in New Media and Culture from the University of Oregon where she filmed, edited, and produced documentary films on topics ranging from environmental tourism to the chemistry of effective birth control.  Her research interests include intersections of culture and environment, poetics, foodways, documentary, and religion. While a graduate student intern and post-graduate fellow at OFN, Ridout worked on the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program and a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship nomination.

Ridout strives to develop and promote meaningful cultural programming in ways that are innovative, sustainable, and respectful. Before coming to the University of Oregon, Ridout led educational and adventure trips in the Fiji Islands, the Southern California mountains, Kentucky, and throughout the Midwest and Appalachia. When she is not working with cultural programming, she can be found teaching and practicing yoga, hiking, or writing what she hopes is the next great American novel.

 


brunoBruno Seraphin
, Oregon Folklife Network’s Winter Fellow, is a folklorist, narrative and documentary filmmaker, and musician. Originally from Massachusetts, he earned a BFA in Film Production from New York University and lived in Appalachian North Carolina for several years, before moving to Eugene to complete an MA in Folklore Studies at the University of Oregon. His academic and professional interests include environmental justice, human-plant relationships, philosophies of place and space, anti-racist organizing, collaborative film-making, and the ways that social movements generate and use stories.

Seraphin produced and directed the award winning experimental independent film “If I Had Wings to Fly,” which explores traditional music and storytelling in Western North Carolina. It was featured at the Folklorists in the South conference in 2012. His newest documentary, “Year of the Possum: The Green Grass Cloggers’ 40th,” will premiere in 2016. Seraphin’s MA thesis, “Stories We Live: On the Hoop with Nomads of the Northwest,” is an ethnography of a grassroots network of nomadic, mostly white “rewilders.” His subjects use Indigenous ecological knowledge to harvest and replant wild foods in the Great Basin region of the United States, particularly northeastern Oregon. Seraphin’s thesis pays special attention to their land ethic and their interactions with Native groups.

During spring 2016, Seraphin will serve as a Project Coordinator for a series of collaborative documentary videos for the Museum of Natural and Cultural History and Oregon Tribes.

Passing it on: The Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program – Deadline for applications is April 1!

Brad McMullen

We are currently accepting applications from master artists and their apprentices for our Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (TAAP). One of the Oregon Folklife Network’s cornerstone programs, TAAP assists master artists to teach and pass on their living traditions to promising apprentices from the same cultural background. Master artists receive stipends to cover training and a final public presentation. Our biannual awards ceremony invites legislators and government officials to recognize master artists.

Download the application on our website and submit by April 1st.  Send us your draft application early for preview and helpful feedback before final submission!

Artists from a number of different traditions have participated in TAAP over the years. For a full list of participants, check out our new Oregon Culture Keepers Roster – just type “TAAP” into the keyword search to see the full list. 2015 recipients are: rap and hip hop emcee, Mic Crenshaw; bharatha natyam Indian dancer, Dr. Jayanthi Raman; traditional Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw storyteller, Patricia Whereat Phillips; traditional saddle maker, Len Babb III; master silversmith, Pat Horlacher; and elders from the Burns Paiute Tribe (Alma Kennedy, Betty Hawley, Phyllis Miller, Wanda Johnson, Myra Peck) who are teaching moccasin making. OFN is honored to support these master artists in their efforts to keep and pass on their cultural traditions to the next generation. Keep your eye on our Vimeo and YouTube pages for our interviews with these artists – and be sure to check out the interviews with some of our previous master artists while you wait!

Funding for TAAP comes from the National Endowment for the Arts Folk & Traditional Arts disciplineOregon Arts Commission and Oregon Community Foundation’s Fred W. Fields Fund. Additional support from the Oregon Historical Society and the University of Oregon makes this program possible.