First Peoples

Beyond Individual Identity

There are several ways to do write on rock. You can chisel into the rock with another rock:


Petroglyph, Columbia Hills State Park

You can write on the rock.


She Who Watches, on the Temani Pesh-wa Trail, Columbia Hills State Park

You can let the rock do the writing and just read it, and maybe dab some bird faeces in the eyes and let the lichen do its work.

ravenRaven, Temani Pesh-wa Trail

Or you can make a self portrait.


Spontaneous Troll Sculptures, Gullfoss, Ísland

Everywhere humans go, they make images of themselves.

Here’s another self-portrait, made by a human.


Human Self Portrait with Fence Post and Barbed Wire, Horsethief Butte

This self portrait of a man’s will divides public space into individual spaces, rather aggressively.

The above image suggests that in American society, common space is not commonly inhabited or accessible, or even universally distributed, yet remains common. All it needs is some artfulness…


Humans in the Sky, Goldendale, Washington

…and a whole bunch of people doing the same thing…

wind3The Windmills of Northern Oregon

Here is what that sense of competition looks like up close and personal:


Railway Crossing on the Columbia River

In this case, the human self portrait is far larger and noisier than the humans, and they must wait for it to finish taking up space.

For some strange reason, this is called freedom, and this…


Pictographs, Temani Pesh-wa Trail

… and this …


Stone Eagle, Palouse Falls

… are called individual observations, or tribal ‘beliefs’, when in fact they represent moments of expanding consciousness and identity into the world, or of finding it there, for the first time.

faceAncestor, Peshastin PInnacles

As children, we have individual identities, which we must cling to, as tools to draw us through the world. After a time, though, one can open the hands and set that identity free. Here it is, flying away.


Raven, Peshastin Pinnacles

Don’t worry. It’s a raven. It will come back.





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