Back to the Penn Treaty Park
It has been almost a full month since I completed the Trail of Hope. I am still having a difficult time adjusting. My mind keeps rewinding back to memories of walking and the Trail in general. Recently I worked on organizing all of the photographs I took along the way. It was wonderful revisiting the many different sites of the Trail.
Since I have been back in Philadelphia, I’ve taken a few walks down to Penn Treaty Park. It was a great feeling to be able to walk on those grounds which helped build inspiration and origins for the Trail. It will always remain a very special park to me as well as generations of Fishtown residents who frequent the historic riverside area.
The community is making great strides in preserving and maintaining the park. Last evening, the Friends of Penn Treaty Park hosted the 6th annual “Champagne in the Park” event. Residents and friends gathered to enjoy champagne and share in each other’s company while financially supporting the maintenance of Penn Treaty Park. I attended the event and enjoyed talking and connecting with the wonderful people who want to support this special piece of history any way they can.
In the continuing tradition of fostering community, the Fishtown Neighbors Association will be hosting the 4th annual RiverCity Festival on Saturday, October 1st from 12pm to 5pm at Penn Treaty Park. The event will feature local food, beer, vendors and family activities.
It is important to recognize that the values of Penn’s Treaty of Love, Peace, and Amity still radiate throughout the Philadelphia area today.
Shadow Catcher- Edward S. Curtis and North American Indians
Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952) life long dedication , who gave his entire life and fortune to record on photographic film the memories of the last Native Nations of North America from the Apache, down in the South, to the Nunivak in Alaska.
In 1906 J.P. Morgan offered Curtis $75,000 to produce a series on the North American Indian. It was to be in 20 volumes with 1,500 photographs. Morgan was to receive 25 sets and 500 original prints as his method of repayment. 222 complete sets were eventually published.
Curtis’ goal was not just to photograph, but to document, as much American Indian (Native American) traditional life as possible before that way of life disappeared. He wrote in the introduction to his first volume in 1907: “The information that is to be gathered … respecting the mode of life of one of the great races of mankind, must be collected at once or the opportunity will be lost.”
Curtis made over 10,000 wax cylinder recordings of Indian language and music. He took over 40,000 photographic images from over 80 tribes. He recorded tribal lore and history, and he described traditional foods, housing, garments, recreation, ceremonies, and funeral customs. He wrote biographical sketches of tribal leaders, and his material, in most cases, is the only recorded history.
Laurie Lawlor reveals that “many Native Americans Curtis photographed called him Shadow Catcher. But the images he captured were far more powerful than mere shadows.
The men, women, and children in The North American Indian seem as alive to us today as they did when Curtis took their pictures in the early part of the twentieth century.
Curtis respected the Indians he encountered and was willing to learn about their culture, religion and way of life. In return the Indians respected and trusted him. When judged by the standards of his time, Curtis was far ahead of his contemporaries in sensitivity, tolerance, and openness to Native American cultures and ways of thinking.”
Edward S. Curtis photography work can be seen here:
When you no longer go forward, … which path in life do you take ?
- The one to the left, where nothing is right , or ….
- The one to the right, where nothing is left ?
For nearly 70 years as a performer, Pete Seeger has embodied the ideals of folk music – communication, entertainment, social comment, historical continuity, inclusiveness.
The songs he has written, and those he has discovered and shared, have helped preserve our cultural heritage, imprinting adults and children with the sounds, traditions and values of our global past and present.
A fearless warrior for social justice and the environment, Pete’s political activism – from the Civil Rights movement and anti-McCarthyism to resistance to fascism and the wars in Vietnam and the Middle East – has become the template for subsequent generations of musicians and ordinary citizens with something to say about the world.
…. and “Turn, Turn, Turn!”, which have been recorded by many artists both in and outside the folk revival movement and are still sung throughout the world.
Yesterday I took the final steps of the Trail of Hope. I can’t believe it is finally finished! It has been long journey and I’m grateful that I was able to end it in such a special way.
The night before last, I spent the evening at the Delaware Indian Pow-Wow grounds about 17 miles from Bartlesville. I was joined by the Assistant Delaware Chief Chet Brooks and Michael Adair. We left the grounds at midnight so we would arrive around noon in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
By 7am a big thunderstorm came into the area and showered rain down throughout the remainder of our walk. It doesn’t seem ironic that the first steps of the Trail of Hope were taken in the middle of a light drizzle and later, a steady rain. In my first post of the Trail, I stated that I felt like the rain was blessing the Trail ahead, washing away any danger, and helping me to feel safe that everything would turn out all right. Alas, the final steps of the Trail were also made during a rainstorm, blessing everything behind me and the paths I will take in the future.
Despite the elements I was immensely proud that both men stepped up to the challenge and graciously accompanied me with such bravery. When we arrived in Bartlesville we enjoyed a nice lunch and I met some very gracious and friendly people. Everyone seemed excited to see me and talk with me about the Trail. I was grateful to meet Joe Brooks, Chet’s brother and we had a nice talk together. He shared a heartfelt speech and I feel honored to know him and his brother.
A little later, around 6pm, I received an official welcoming by the Chief in the official Delaware Indian language. I talked to those present, sharing my triumphs and challenges I encountered along the Trail. A lady from the local Bartlesville history center presented me with a book. The Delaware Indians presented me with a different kind of gift and I was extremely grateful. I in turn presented a seedling from the direct descendent of the Great Elm Tree given to me by the tree keepers at Haverford College as well as gifts from the Penn Treaty Museum and some of my pictures, posters and the official Trail of Hope picture.
I felt honored to be among my Delaware Indian friends and to share the Trail of Hope with them, closing out an epic adventure and a heartfelt tribute. I felt accepted by them and am grateful for their warm welcome as I arrived in Bartlesville. I’m hoping that a long lasting friendship will develop and flourish for “as long as the creeks and rivers run, and while the sun, moon and stars endure.”
Here’s a letter of Wm. Penn to Delaware Indians
and these are exactly my feelings:
William Penn’s Letter to the Pennsylvania Indians
London, October 18, 1681
*** My Friends——
There is one great God and Power that hath made the world and all things therein, to whom you and I and all People owe their being and well being, and to whom you and I must one Day give an account, for all that we do in this world: this great God hath commanded to love and help and do good to one another and not to do harme and mischeif one unto one an other . . . .
I have great love and regard towards you, and I desire to win and gain your Love and friendship by a kind, just and peaceable life. ***
——– in the Spirit of Love, Peace, Amity
from the Trail of Hope. – August 12, 2011
Peter Prusinowski. ———-