Archive for Saturday, October 3, 1992

HASKELL FIELD BECOMES ARTWORK

October 3, 1992

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Down a dirt road off the main streets through Haskell Indian Junior College, stone posts mark a field that was recently mowed. On Friday afternoon, a small propeller plane flew overhead.

Two men try to keep a fire lighted during a spate of wind, even as the midday sun baked the cut grass still lying on the field.

As visitors stare at the ground beneath, it soon becomes apparent that the field was mowed in a definite pattern. And to the people flying in the plane, the field can be seen as a large monumental work of art a Medicine Wheel Earthwork with a spirit bird at one end.

The medicine wheel will be the launching pad for the Flame Spirit Run, which will begin at 7 a.m. Sunday. Four runners, carrying torches, will begin running from the center of the Medicine Wheel Earthwork, organizers said.

The wheel itself has four spokes in a 200-foot design and includes Native American symbols.

Leslie Evans, a Haskell art instructor, laid out the earthwork with the help of area crop artist Stan Herd. Evans and Herd staked out the field from a scale drawing, and Herd mowed the patterns with a weed cutter.

The circle symbolizes the spiritual values of many Native Americans. At the site Friday, an elder from the nearby Kickapoo tribe worked on blessing the earthwork, Evans said. The fire was blown around in the strong winds just before the Haskell Homecoming parade.

Four medicine people from various tribes in the United States will be perform ceremonies to dedicate the site this weekend, said Denise Low, a Haskell instructor and an area poet.

The Flame Spirit Run will send torches off in four directions toward Mexico, New York City, California and Alaska. Haskell runners are expected to run to Columbus, Ohio. The run marks the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas.

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