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Looking up at the Institute of American Indian Arts

Looking up at the Institute of American Indian Arts

Sleep done left me now on accounta the kids. Not my kids, but they stare at me all day now and mostly frown. I do my best to inflict knowledge upon them, but my evil plans are often foiled by the mysteries of the modern world, …or at least the iphone.

It fills and protects their minds even when it stays in the room!

Some might call it a field trip; I call it a collective loss of Northitude. Alternatively, we could call it turning the heat up on the ice people. It’s also called visiting some folks I happen to think a lot of, but let us save sense and seriositude for another day.

Haven’t traveled with teens since I was one. Its an experience…

“When do we board?”

God may not exist but middle seats are pretty close to proof that the Devil is alive and busy issuing boarding passes. I think he also designs the help pages for Microsoft!

I miss the gargle-bunkies and my bloggetry has gotten sloppy. Classes need work and my ecological footprint is a big boot stomp on everything I love. For now, I am Southward, …and I have hostages!

“Hey, shouldn’t we be boarding soon?”

The rules are as follows:

1) Control of musical decisions belongs to the teenagers in the vehicle. Volume is negotiable.

2) Sarcasm is a given.

3) “Family” doesn’t mean what I think it means.

4) Failure to follow rule 1 is the first step to tears and fears, but no beers, not even one.

What the Hell? Hostages aren’t supposed to make the rules! One of the kids decides to throw me a bone and plays Madonna, (cause I’m old). This does NOT make me feel shiny and new.

Precedent argues strongly for the use of a scowl in conjunction with a stern ‘No’, all of which is best delivered in response to a perfectly reasonable question. I am apparently a bad influence, and I’m almost sorry about that.

“So what time do we board?”

Santa Fe is a wonderful place to visit. Taos Pueblo and the Institute for American Indian Arts are always beautiful places. Watching my students eat Frito pies for the very first time in the front yard of our host and guide brings the beauty up a notch for me. Knowing they aren’t used to the spice is pure joy. …Yes, I’m a bad man.

“Are we boarding soon?”

Seriously, I can’t believe I am driving by so many public murals without even getting my camera out. …I got a couple of them, though, yes, I did.

The doc says I gotta eat more bananas, and my friend owes me a beer, but never mind the beer and the friend, doc says what? She tells me all about the changes in my near future as I look down at my dinner and realize that I am presently eating about the only meal in a month that might pass muster. …except for the noodles, of course.

“Seriously, when are we gonna get on the plane?”

Project Runway aside, it’s probably best to leave the gay bar off the agenda. Angry parents sound like Jaws music. The Elvis Shrine is a big can-do, and Goose is the coolest!

…and the whole thing leads us to old Santa Ana Pueblo, fittingly, during the Feast of St. Anne. So, there we find ourselves sitting at the dining table of a wonderful host, looking over more dishes than any one of us could possibly sample. It wasn’t a week ago that I found myself eating Ugruk (seal) at Nalukataq (the Spring Whaling Festival). Now I am sitting here finishing off a bowl of red chili that proved a bit too much for one of my students, and thinking how wonderful this is. Some days (and especially feast days) it’s a good day to know indigenous people. I can only hope our little trip to the sun and the spicy food finds its way into the “worthwhile” bin amongst the learning lessons of my students. …and that there is more chili to be had.

It is a bit hot outside, and my students are holding the car keys hostage in the hopes that I will show mercy.

“There will be no more ice people if you melt us!”

I can’t help but laugh.

“Has the flight been delayed; when are we gonna board?”

I’m bringing back one demon girl, but another now knows how to feed a hundred Indians with 50 pieces of Fry-bread. Empirical proof of the former is confirmed, but we are still waiting on the latter.

“Seriously, when are we gonna board?”

…and Northitude returns with sleep soon to follow.


The Museum of Contemporary Native American Arts


The New Mexico Museum of Art (with a fantastic exhibition by Peter Sarkisian).


The Pecos Historical Park


Random Murals


Unhumorous Point of Partial Clarification: I generally don’t show pictures of students, colleagues, etc. This is just a matter of personal respect. They have signed up for work or study with the school, not a command appearance in my personal blog. …also, I have no pictures from Santa Ana or Taos Pueblo. Those would not be appropriate for an entirely different set of reasons.

Yes, I wore sunscreen

Yes, I wore sunscreen

Hats and umbrellas are frowned upon during the Feast of St. Anne. Oddly enough 4 Alaskan Natives and a Tongan don’t burn as easily as a balding white guy who normally wears a hat.

Who’da thunk it?