"Seton Castle...on the last rampart of the Rockies where the Buffalo Wind is blowing."

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Seton Village Wildflowers Late August 2017

Apache Plume

Cowpen Daisy

Long Flowered Trumpet Gilia

Purple Geranium

Scarlet Morning Glory

Scarlet Penstemon

Hollyhock (domestic)
Compleaf Evening Primrose
Mixed domestic and wildflower garden near Academy for the Love of Learning main building

Monday, June 26, 2017

New Exhibition at the Academy for the Love of Learning

Part of a mural painting by Jack Hokeah

We are premiering a new exhibition at the Seton Gallery this August. Details follow below. dlw
Opening Reception: August 13, 2017 • 2:00-4:30PM • Special Guests: Dancing EarthTM Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations
The Academy for the Love of Learning celebrates its annual Seton birthday event with the opening of a new art exhibition in the Seton Gallery on Sunday afternoon, August 13th. This event is held each year in honor of Ernest Thompson Seton’s birthday. He was born 157 years ago in 1860.
Seton, a sixteen year resident of Santa Fe until his death in 1946, created the euphonious “Seton Village” south of the Old Las Vegas Highway on County Road 58 (“Seton Village Road”) about twenty minutes from downtown. The public is cordially invited to the reception.

About the Exhibition
In 1932, renowned Kiowa artist Jack Hokeah (ca. 1901—1969) received a commission to paint 12 murals in a building used as part of Seton’s leadership institute. The new show, “echoes” documents in photographs what turned out to be ephemeral work by Hokeah. The building in which the paintings were housed eventually collapsed leaving no more than a few remaining fragments.
According to Seton Legacy Curator David L. Witt, “Hokeah created murals depicting spiritual aspects of Native culture. Over time, due to weathering, these paintings have largely disappeared. Just enough remains that we can imagine what the experience of seeing them whole might have been like. For me, they are visual echoes of something that was wonderful at their creation, and which remain wonderful in their leaving this world. The inherent beauty of the paintings comes out through this exhibition.”
This year’s event will be made more special by the presence of the creative presence of Dancing EarthTM Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations who will be in residence at the Academy for the Love of Learning during mid-August. They will give a special presentation on August 13th near the end of the afternoon.
More about the murals
Eighty-five years ago, in 1932, Ernest Thompson Seton built a ceremonial structure at Seton Village outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Named the “Hogan” for its resemblance to traditional homes of the Navajo Nation, the multi-sided building housed a remarkable series of paintings.
Seton commissioned renowned Kiowa painter Jack Hokeah to paint twelve large murals directly on the interior plaster of the building. Hokeah (ca. 1901-1969) was an artist of 14 years experience, an exhibitor with the “Kiowa Six” group, and an exemplar of the “Modern” movement in Native American art. Having just completed an important project at the Santa Fe Indian School, he moved on to the commission at Seton Village.
Hokeah worked in the “studio style” which featured flat color fields with little sense of depth. The images he chose to create were carefully drawn representations of the ceremonial and mythological life of Native peoples.
Unfortunately the roof above the paintings proved inadequate, eventually water leaked onto the paintings and later, the roof gave way entirely. Over many years damage to the images accumulated until little remained.
By 2003 when the Academy for the Love of Learning acquired the Seton property, the building was a ruin and its paintings beyond repair. The question facing the new stewards of the property was how to show respect to a place that held spiritual value to Seton and his followers.
After years of discussion, in 2017 the Academy began a process of saying goodbye to the paintings and to the building. There is a feeling of loss but also of renewal. The paintings are gradually becoming invisible to us while at the same time transforming into a new order as they return to the earth.
More about Jack Hokeah
Born in Oklahoma around 1901, Hokeah, an accomplished singer, painter and traditional dancer, is now best remembered as a member of a small group of associated artists from the Kiowa tribe active during the 1930s. That group was known as the “Kiowa Five,” (and sometimes as the Kiowa Six: there were six members of the group, but only five at any one time). They exhibited nationally and internationally during their time together and have, as individuals, maintained their popularity among Indian art enthusiasts.
Hokeah’s connection to New Mexico began as early as 1930 when he took part in the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonials at Gallup where he met and became lifelong friends with San Illdefonso Pueblo potter Maria Martinez. He painted murals for the Santa Fe Indian School in1932, perhaps before creating the works in Seton’s “Hogan.” In September of that year he became affiliated with “The Studio School,” an open-studio project for Native artists organized by art teacher Dorothy Dunn in Santa Fe. The Studio included art instruction although its larger importance came from providing a nurturing, creative space for artists.
Curator Note by David L. Witt: Inspired in part by Dunn, but also by earlier Native art including traditional pictorial drawing on animal hides, and so-called “Ledger art,” on paper, the “Modern” movement of which Hokeah was a part featured carefully drawn representations of the ceremonial and mythological life of Native peoples. This “studio style” featured flat color fields with little or any perspective, de-emphasizing three-dimensionality and depth, historically critical components of European painting. This approach, often using water-based media, came to epitomize “Indian” painting of the 1930s. It was both extremely limiting and immediately recognizable, and subsequently has received praise for its unique view, and criticism for being too influenced by white teachers.
More about Dancing Earth
DANCING EARTH—an award winning Indigenous contemporary dance initiative—comes to the Academy for the Love of Learning this summer for their sixth annual Summer Institute. Artistic Director Rulan Tangen was recently selected as a top ten finalist across all disciplines for the Nathan Cummings award for Social Change.
She has handpicked 12 international Indigenous cultural artist ambassadors from First Nations of USA, Canada, Australia, Haiti, Guatemala, and Samoa for the Summer Institute. They will be in motion 12 hours a day, with cultural exchange, decolonized movement practices, and recognition of the land around the Academy as historically Indigenous space—honoring and revitalizing the legacy of Ernest Thompson Seton and the deep inspiration he found in Native culture.
In recent years the Summer Institute has explored Indigenous perspectives on water, seeds, and Indigenous food sovereignty through embodied knowledge. This year’s theme is renewable energy from spiritual cultural source points. Locations around the Academy include crumbling structures with remnants of historic paintings of dancers by a Native artist. In the spirit of reciprocity, Dancing Earth will revisit and renew these images, translating from the earthpaint into the Dancing Earth living expressions, bringing Indigenized breath of life into the body of creative knowledge that is growing at the Academy. Guests at the annual celebration will witness Dancing Earth artists in creative process during their daily “land dance” practice, then will be invited to gather for the culminating offering of danceworks in progress.

Press Inquiries:
Jessica Smyser, Marketing and Communications Director Hayley Horowitz, Communications Coordinator Academy for the Love of Learning
133 Seton Village Road, Santa Fe, NM 87508 505.995.1860
marketing@aloveoflearning.org www.aloveoflearning.org

Monday, June 12, 2017

Interpretive Panels at Seton Castle

Crowds gather at Seton Castle to view new interpretive panels

Well, perhaps the crowds are still to come. Seton Castle (1932-2005) still stands in altered form (post-fire), but until now without much explanation for visitors new to the property. When you stop by, you will find a great orientation to the stabilized remains. The panels give an introduction to Seton and his family as well as telling stories about the the land, the Castle itself, and the the loving restoration by the Academy for the Love of Learning. Please come by and take a look. The Castle is located in Seton Village, approximately 20 minutes SE of downtown Santa Fe. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

An Important Anniversary: The Founding of Standing Rock March 28, 1902

Silver Bay, New York 1910 Seton with campers

One hundred and fifteen years ago today Ernest Thompson Seton nervously awaited the arrival forty-two boys to a clearing near his home of “Wyndygoul” in the Cos Cob neighborhood of Greenwich, Connecticut. Some of them had vandalized his property. He wanted to offer all of them a chance to experience the outdoors in a new way. 

Seton wrote, “I knew something of boys, in fact I am much of a boy myself.”

He invited them to spend a weekend of camping, swimming, and storytelling. Out this experience came Woodcraft and the international Scouting movements.
The campground became known as Standing Rock. It included the first Council Ring (subsequently a main feature of just about all summer youth camps).

In August 1910, the lessons from Standing Rock inspired another camping adventure, at Silver Bay (Lake George, New York), the first official camp of the Boy Scouts of America, also organized by Seton. 

A century + 15 years later the legacy of Standing Rock continues its great work of promoting the glories of nature, the importance of self-reliance, and the ethic of service to the larger community.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Seton film shows at Las Cruces International Film Festival

My film: "Ernest Thompson Seton and the Exploration of Canada's Fabled Aylmer Lake" will be shown at the Las Cruces International Film Festival on Saturday March 11 at 1:00pm. Subject: Seton's 1907 Arctic expedition.  A chronicle of my 2015 expedition to the lake will be found elsewhere in this blog.
Details at Las Cruces International Film Festival web site.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

anno ab incarnatione lupus 123 E.E., Annual Letter to Lobo

Valley of the Corrumpa where Lobo lived in 1894. dlw photo from Capulin Volcano 2010

Dear Lobo,
                  I have been writing these to you yearly, expressing appreciation for all your work in the world, even dating a new historical era from the date of your death, now that BC, AD, CE, etc. seem irrelevant.
                  January 31 of the Environmental Era is a special day with the growing hours of light (in New Mexico at least) becoming more evident. While Earth Day (April 22) is a day to celebrate Nature, this date should become one of reflection on what is happening to the world you knew only so briefly.
                  Unfortunately, I don’t have much positive news to report. This past year of 122 E.E. was not a particularly good one. First and most importantly, it was the hottest on record in terms on averaged annual global temperature. The temperature has risen 1.3° Celsius since the time when you roamed the plains of the Corrumpa. (That translates to 2.3° Fahrenheit for you as a non-scientist wolf.)
                  According to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, earth is now “on the edge” of runaway heating. Imagine yourself in ferocious pursuit of an antelope on an exceptionally hot, sunny day when, at the end of the chase, there is no way to cool off. That should give you an idea of what we are up against.
                  On the same day as the release of this report, National Public Radio ran an interview with someone who, as I recall, has the title of Secretary of Energy. He spoke calmly about someday, decades from now, when carbon fuel use will gradually be replaced by renewables such as solar power. Decades from now! He should have been panicking, promising to lead a campaign to get us off of carbon right away. And, compared to the joker who has replaced him, well, words fail. Makes me want to howl.
                  Almost no one mentions—outside of obscure corners of the internet, something like the scent marking you use to interpret—that cows, as leading methane producers, are just as important in causing climate change as fossil fuels. Little did you know (or at least I think you didn’t know) that by killing cows you were doing your part to combat climate change. You were right to kill so many of them.
                  I could go on with list of terrible and destructive political developments here and abroad by populists, fascists, and terrorists, but I’m running out of energy (so to speak). To put it in terms you would understand, imagine a world of wolf hunters run amuck (actually, last year 14 Mexican Gray Wolves were murdered in New Mexico and Arizona) and you will get an idea of what 122 E.E. has been like.
                  Thanks again for your sacrifice in attempting to warn us Lobo, and for your ongoing inspiration. I will hope that our collective environmental consciousness will continue to grow stronger and that next year, I may be able to give you a better report.
                  (Actually, I’m not counting on it, but according to Joanna Macy and other environmentalists, we must hold on to positive thoughts if we are to have any chance to making it to 124 E.E. and beyond.)

Your devoted admirer,
The Author