MARY FRANCES NELSON
She-nah (Colville Indian name=Mountain Owl)
Married: husband is Raymond E. Nelson- he's the most:
vitac: 1966 graduate from WSU with a BFA and teaching
certification for junior college A(t, minor English;
'68 graduate from the U of Idaho, with a MA in in Art/ Anthro,
with emphasis on Primative Art. Summer, '68',
I joined the Faculty at EWSC, Cheney, Wash.,
where I re- mained until the summer of 1972.
While there I wore many hats; I served as instructor (rotating) in art,
literature, education, and sociology. I also served as Administrative
Assistant to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies,
and as assistant director and director of the Indian
Education Program, which I helped found in 1968.
This program was primarily aimed at the incoming freshman Indian student; to keep him in college and to lower the dropout rate of Indian students. I feel this was indeed accomplished, as the attrition rate of Indian students dropped from 75% in 1967 to 10% in 1972. I was, and am, proud to have been a part of it.
Things that move me profoundly? Attending medicine dances; hearing the graveside Indian death chants; listening to tribal elders- from all tribes -speak --they are our historians, our orators, our story tellers, our philosophers and our educators; they truely know what life is all about, among them I am humble, although I am arrogantly proud of being an Indian. Animals, yes, I communicate with them -try it sometimes; the solitude of the mountains, or the strength of the ocean, where I can think out things and find myself; great books, that really tell me something.
Things that turn me on? Working in my profession -in oils, ceramic sculpture and pottery, silver work and jewelry making, print making, water colors and pastels. Archery, walking, rock hounding and shell gathering -and later making things out of what I have found; reading- almost everything; watching students grow; meeting new interesting people; being with my husband.
Things that turn me off? Verbose
people who hear only their own voices -and know all answers to all things;
unnecessary crowds -that mull about-yet do nothing; people who start a
conversation with me, "some of my best friends are Indian..."; mine shafts
-I once toured one and once will it ever remain; huge machinery, like boiler
rooms, that intimidate me, even smaller machinery as when my car won't
start; vending machine drinks -what are the insides of these machines like,
clean or...?; movies, television specials or serials, text books, periodicals,
etc. that give a poor, erroneous, and more often biased and derrogatory
view of the American Indian...that many non-Indians take as the literal
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