- THE RACELESSNESS OF BEAUTY -

While resting from working my art, I often reflect on the thing every Nor'Wester Voyageur of yore sooner than later discovered: the racelessness of beauty. Then when I look at a photograph, piece of art or artifact collected over the years during my many trips throughout Indian America that has found a home in my studio, with sentimentality and a certain nostalgia I allow the past, like a finger, to reach out and touch me.

A canoe paddle hand carved the traditional way with a crooked knife by my Cree guide leans against a wall next to a photo of our family plot of red earth with its stand of cottonwood trees down along the bank at the bend of Lame Deer Creek in the center of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana.

On top of a chest filled with old slides and photos taken during my wilderness canoe trips in the 1960s and 1970s rest the leather working tools given me the Fall of 1984 by my friend and mentor, the late Northern Cheyenne artist Frederick Dale Seminole. Above the chest hangs the framed certificate signed by W. Richard West, Jr., the museums director, announcing the completion of the inscription of Freddies and my name joined together on the Wall of Honor of The National Museum of the American Indian, the National Mall, Washington, D.C. [ http://www.nmai.si.edu/ ]

On a bookshelf in its rightful place interleaved among the pages of a volumn about Sand Creek is a letter of appreciation I recieved from Rick West for the copies I sent him of Cape Cod Chronicle YOU GUEST IT articles prompted by the opening of the museum [ A triumphant Moment - Oct. 7, 2004 and An American Idol - March 31, 2005 ] . Five unnamed victims of the 1864 Sand Creek massacre hold a place of honer among the thousands of us that contributed to the Grand Opening of the NMAI September 21, 2004. Opposition to the creation of the museum reached a turning point when hearts were melted by the resurfacing in the Smithsonian of a cache of unnamed human remains of the massacre.

Sharing the top of the list with few others of " studio props " that touch my heart-strings is the Navajo wedding vase given to my wife Sharon and me as a wedding gift by the director of the Navajo Nation Health Foundation, the first Indian managed health care system in America. The vase is so fragile Sharon had to carry it in a shoebox on her lap all the way from Canado, Arizona to Cape Cod.

Near the vase lies open an album of thank you letters given to me in 1992 by Chatham school children. The album also contains the Proclaimation by the President of the United States designating 1992 as The Year of the American Indian. Signed by George H. W. Bush and complete with the Presidential seal in gold leaf, the proclamation arrived from the White House in time for the program I put on that year at the Eldredge Public Library in Chatham.

Now as I write and gaze on the white paper in front of me, in a kind of cinematic overlay, I watch the bus loads of Chatham school children file into the Forgeron Room in the library to view the art of my Indian friends, listen to a talk and read the proclamation - "...In virtually every realm of our national life, the contributions of Americas original inhabitants and their descendants continues. " Looking through the vision I " see " the people and places I have come to know and love throughout Indian America. Then the images dissolve and it is as if I can hear once again President George W. Bush greeting those gathered in the East Room for the Presidential reception honoring the Grand Opening of the NMAI, " Like many Indian dwelings the new museum faces east, toward the rising sun. And as we celebrate this new museum and look to the future, we can say that the sun is rising on Indian Country. " [ http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/09/20040923-2.html ]

It is a good thing now there is also a Native American Day. The 4th Friday of each September has been set aside to honor and celebrate Native Americans, the first Americans to live in the United States.

Paul Hammersten

www.asantepapa.4t.com/

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I have a new web page with The Guild of Harwich Artists on which you may see the picture Freddie and I did ...THE CHEYENNE...carved and tooled in leather. I will send a fine art print to anyone who wants one.

www.paulhammersten.com

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" The skull of a battle scarred Simba was hand carved, tooled, and dyed in leather by the author. It was done in memory of the men of the Northern Cheyenne Morning Star Leather Works of the summer of 1970: Jo Jo, Freddie, Adin, J. R., Smokey, Trinidad, and especially Tucker { John Red Breath - Yellow Hair, the ' mayor ' of Ashland, Montana} .
I did the lion skull for the front cover of ASANTE PAPA!. Not only did I want to, but I realized that of all the possible images I could use, the lion skull was very significant to the peoples of East Africa in the ' Old Days ' in an old time way.
Papa would have appreciated the leather work. He liked the elemental, and people, like his loyal friend Gregorio Fuentes who worked by hand - fishing, sailing, rowing, - and to whom, at the completion of his ' Big Book ' , in his last will and testament, of 1956, Papa gave the Pilar.
' She [ Debba, with the soul of Africa shining out of her eyes in admiration ] put her hand back on the the holster which she truly loved, it having been carved better in Denver than anyone had been carved or tattooed, by Heiser & Company, in a beautiful flowered design which had been worn smooth with saddle soap and destroyed by seat... ' { Ernest Hemingway - TRUE AT FIRST LIGHT } "

from and about ASANTE PAPA!
by Paul D. Hammersten
www.asantepapa.4t.co
There is now a video film showing Fredericks art at - www.paulhammersten.com
Too bad Hemingway was not really 1/8th Indian. Nice try to spread falsehoods!
" I have a Cheyenne great, great grandmother, { don't tell Cowley], and it helps quite a lot. This Gig is the only boy that turned out Indian, not Cherokee, Digger, Pyute, Navajo, or any of these unfortunate peoples but Northern Cheyenne and he has all the problems of them, as I always had, and all the lack of problems that having that blood gives you. "

Ernest Hemingway in DEAR PAPA, DEAR HOTCH

My unpublished study - " Why !/8th , and Why Northern Cheyenne " explores the claim Hemingway made throughout his life, from childhood to old age, to being Northern Cheyenne.

Some of the ground in this study has been covered on the previous Hemingway Resource Center Message Boards and elsewhere on the web.

Paul Hammersten
www.paulhammersten.com
Dear Paul,

Which side of his family do you suggest?

Hemingway said and wrote many things that were clearly not true. True students of Hemingway need to wary of his compulsion to say somethings that were a bit gray in the truth department!

I would be curious as to more details of your assertion.

Could you please comment on the following link which seems very well documented.

http://www.genealogy.com/famousfolks/ernesth/index.html

Thank you and best regards,

Brian




Paul Hammersten said:
" I have a Cheyenne great, great grandmother, { don't tell Cowley], and it helps quite a lot. This Gig is the only boy that turned out Indian, not Cherokee, Digger, Pyute, Navajo, or any of these unfortunate peoples but Northern Cheyenne and he has all the problems of them, as I always had, and all the lack of problems that having that blood gives you. "

Ernest Hemingway in DEAR PAPA, DEAR HOTCH

My unpublished study - " Why !/8th , and Why Northern Cheyenne " explores the claim Hemingway made throughout his life, from childhood to old age, to being Northern Cheyenne.

Some of the ground in this study has been covered on the previous Hemingway Resource Center Message Boards and elsewhere on the web.

Paul Hammersten
www.paulhammersten.com
Brian

One of the most noted and admired Hemingway scholar of our time wrote me about Hemingway's claim to being 1/8th Northern Cheyenne. She went further than you and maintained that his claim was not only an lie but for Hemingway ...a joke.

It is a hard thing to grasp...but...in order to fully appreciate Hemingway's creative life and work one must understand Hemingway when he says, " ...he makes the truth as he invents it truer than it would be. " and " ...certain lies were truer than truth. "

" The sky was overcast and the cloud was down to the plain and as I handed him back the snuff box he said, ' Wakamba tu. '

We both knew it and there was nothing to do about it..." In Hemingway's AFRICA BOOK


Best

Paul

www.paulhammersten.com
Paul,

I will agree with your last point!

Best regards,

Brian

As Hemingway revealed in UNDER KILIMANJARO and as I show in my book ASANTE PAPA! [ www.asantepapa.4t.com ],  for him his sympathies and identification with Indians [ Northern Cheyenne ] was no lie or joke.
As of September 2015, Papa's eagle feather and copies of my book will have a permanent and welcome home at The Crazy Horse Memorial [ www.crazyhorsememorial.org/ ].

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