Peace and Justice
Painted at Red Lake MN by Turtle Mountain ND artist Ken Allery, August 1988.
A Visit to Red Lake, MN
Pow Wow was in progress when I visited Red Lake in mid-August, 1988. It was a gentle day, a bit cool for August, I remember, probably from the breeze coming across the giant Red Lake, which makes up the town's northern boundary.
Memories of Pow Wows are always gentle ones for me, and this Red Lake event was no exception. It was a mellow and gentle time of laughter and sharing and dancing and chanting and drumming and food and family...always family.
But I watched something else that August day in 1988 whose memories are with me still.
In a room at the Community Center of the town a visiting artist, Ken Allery of the Turtle Mountain ND band of Ojibway, was doing a painting of a young Red Lake woman. I was back and forth to other events, but I was always finding my way back to the work in progress taking shape on the artists canvas.
As the painting developed, a spirit theme came clear: a young woman was pictured ascending through the open top of a simple tipi.
I learned that the work of art was for sale, and, completely out of character for me, I made the highest bid, and it came home with me.
Like all such art objects, the painting hung at home for quite a long while, then went into storage where it has languished for years.
March 21, the first day of Spring 2005, changed all that. In the wake of the tragedy at Red Lake, I found the painting, and once again it brings back gentle memories of a gentle people, albeit in a tragic context for that little Minnesota town.
March 25, 2005