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ditorsi Welcome to the 2003 issue of Flux.

When we reach a crossing, we face a choice. It all starts there, on the threshold. We mak ecision, take a chance. This issue of Flux i ings-moments of people's lives. Thes the old ways need cha ways need direction. place and end up in inhabit multiple worl borders and then c defiance, in determinati

udy in crossformation in ople believe and the new start in one there They They test them in joy. irror to

~ tests may be OVff but the learning never stops. VVhether finding inspiration in The Ms or Science Times or discovering career builders in the business and na 'ana] sections, you can use The New York Times to your advantage. For more 路nfamation. and to subscribe to The New York Times, visit nytimes.com or calI1-BCO-NYTIMES.

~1JeNe\tJlork~hne, KNOWLEDGE NETWORK. INSPIRING THOUGHT

o

UNIVERSITY OF OREGON School of Journalism and Communication

EDITORS IN CHIEF: rachel jackson & joel weber MANAGING EDITOR: kera abraham ASSOCIATE EDITORS: meg hemphill, jessie kirk, jasmine pittenger, karen russ, luis salazar & lauren tracy RESEARCH EDITOR: leland baxter-neal ASSISTANT RESEARCH EDITOR: georgia billingsley II COPY EDITOR: leah greenstein ASSISTANT COPY EDITOR: anne austin EDITORIAL INTERNS: josiah mankofsky, marissa merrick & kira park BUSINESS MANAGER: mariko fukuyama PRODUCTION MANAGER: colleen froehlich ART DIRECTOR: laura chamberlain ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR: kristin ohnstad SENIOR DESIGNER: jessica weit ART ASSOCIATES: justin abbott, sean haggerty, emily lemmer & brian schmitt ART INTERNS: liz carson, andrea compton, kim foley & labree shide PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR: joel fischer PHOTOGRAPHERS: shelley bohlman, katalin linder, luis salazar & jessica waters ONLINE STAFF: paul anderson, tara hadley, risa masamura, scott saunders & addie wagenknecht ONLINE ADVISOR: todd kesterson FACULTY ADVISORS: kellee weinhold & jeff smith FLUX MAGAZINE is planned. written, edited, designed and produced by students in the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. In Flux, the online version of Flux, is available at http://influx.uoregon.edu 漏2003


contents

photos : katalin linder & joel TIscher

cover photo: In Medford, Oregon, two boys join the People in White in support of America's troops. photo: luis salazar

06 naked lunch: josiah mankofsky 08 schoolyard spies: joel weber 10 praye~ incorporated: mariko fukuyama

28 america in black &white: meg hemphill & josiah mankofsky 36 it ain't easy being green: anne austin

12 the needle trade: georgia billingsley II 18 one dog too many: luis salazar 22 making a mother: meg hemphill

40 at the tum of the tide: jasmine pittenger 46 man on the edge of chaos: kera abraham 52 cat astrophe: rachel jackson


STRIP CLUBS, LIKE THE HOT BODY CLUB IN EUGENE, OREGON, ARE POPULAR PLACES AFTER SUNSET. BUT FOR SOME MEN, GOING TO CLUBS ISN'T NIGHTTIME ENTERTAINMENT. IT'S WHERE THEY GO FOR LUNCH.

L

means admitting that we're sharing this experience. I watch a man getting a cheap lap dance. Sweat shines on his bald spot. The dancer rolls her shoulders; her breasts rise and fall individually. She's probably close enough to

unchtime marks the start of fourteen hours of

smell his beer-laden breath. He stares without shame, his

nakedness. Music pulses hypnotically, and flash-

mouth slightly agape. He gets off on the attention.

ing lights beat a steady rhythm. Middle-aged men-laborers

and

businessmen,

many

For me, the dancer is the sideshow, the man the main event. Watching him, I can distance myself from the expe-

unabashedly wearing wedding bands-are scattered

rience of watching her. While she is sexually stimulating in

throughout the room or bellied up to the stage. Most

her grace and apparent sexual prowess, the outcome is

claim to come for lunch, business-or both. But that is pre-

predictable-like watching a movie when you've already

tense. They break from work to ogle naked women and

seen the ending. It's all for nothing.

get sexually charged before returning to their daily grind.

Still, the bald man basks in the fantasy, ignoring the

I'm one of the few sitting alone. To my right, a group of

truth. He is not alone. The businessmen's burgers get little

jovial businessmen in off-the-rack suits with unbuttoned col-

attention as they watch a blonde spin around a brass pole.

lars and loosened ties knock back thin beer and toss jokes.

Many gaze longingly into the dancer's eyes trying to

It's as though they're trying to recapture their youth, when

uncover the "real" person behind the act. I imagine

they used to party, meet women and take them home.

they're committing the image to memory for the next time

I'm amused by their enthusiasm but wonder why

they're with their wives-or alone in the shower. They talk

they're here. Why would anyone come to a strip club for

loudly: "That's a fiiine woman." "My wife sure doesn't look

lunch? The question perplexes me. That's why I'm here. I

like that." Or just, "Damn."

have come to get a glimpse of the daytime atmosphere-

Shifting in my chair, I see a guy in a striped shirt strut

to see how it differs from the nighttime scene. But mostly

past to lay some bills on the veneer stage. He returns to

I'm here to understand who finds lunch an excuse to look

his seat to watch the dancer's body from breast to buttock,

at nude women.

head to heel. There is no escaping it: strip clubs are

The four or five other times I've been to strip clubs have

exploitative and objectifying. To those tossing out tips, the

been in the safety of night. Though I was with friends and

women are objects of desire, not people. But I know the

sheltered by darkness, I was uneasy-guilty. I have avoid-

dancers use their bodies as tools, as a means of power.

ed going during the day. The daylight would leave me

They see the men as little more than wallets to be opened

exposed, no longer a guy breezing through a novelty, but

by a hip shake and shimmy.

the kind of guy who frequents strip clubs. Watching these men, I wonder what sets me apart. Why

The men are here to fulfill some delusion, and, for a nominal fee, the women play roles to meet those fantasies.

can't I relate? I assume they would come at night if they

They patronize the men, cooing sexually charged words in

could, but family men have other obligations. At twenty-four

their ears and feigning longing glances. The men buy into

and single, I can't see myself at forty, humping the memory

it-literally.

of my college years, yet I can't shake the fear of a similar fate.

In twenty years I'll be their age, but I can't see myself

Right now, it's protocol rather than age that separates us.

going to a club on my lunch break, parking in back to hide

To acknowledge one another would be intrusive, the same

my car and paying in cash to avoid a paper trail. I'd like to

as talking to another guy at a urinal. It's all machismo.

think I have different values.

Admitting we are all here together means that the women aren't dancing solely for anyone man or group of men. It

But if I'm wrong, and in twenty years you see me here, just shoot me. -

07


AH, RECESS-ENGRAVED IN OUR MEMORIES AS LONG-AGO SIGHTS AND SOUNDS. BUT FOR SECOND GRADERS AT PAGE ELEMENTARY IN SPRINGFIELD, OREGON, RECESS IS NOT FAR AWAY. IT'S TWICE A DAY.

T

Nathan watches Diego streak across the playground and arrive safely at his new post. Alone at the bench, he

he two spies dive headfirst into the grass, hidden

rubs his palms on his thighs to stay calm. He knows his

in the shadow of the green playground bench.

clothes are bright, but what he doesn't know is that he's

"Shhh," freckle-faced Nathan hisses to Diego, his

only partly hidden. "HEY!" a voice from the tetherball court booms.

tagalong.

On the edge of the blacktop ten feet away, a few of

their

like this." He adds his left arm so that both arms churn toward his chest. "Okay," he says. "Move out."

girl

classmates-including

the

incredibly

dangerous Maya-play tetherball, talking nonstop. Neither of the spies knows whether the new base is safe. Nathan, who has declared himself the best spy in the second grade, pushes up to his knees and clutches the

Jasmine, a redhead, is looking straight at the bench. Nathan freezes. "They saw me, they saw me," Nathan says, his whisper rising in panic. "He's spying on us!" Jasmine yells at the top of her lungs. Suddenly the girls rocket toward the bench.

back of the bench, hi's knuckles white. He raises his head

The spy shrieks. He stands to sprint, but he's too hasty.

like a periscope, scans the playground, then lowers himself

He falls to the ground. By the time he gathers his feet to

from view.

run, only an arm's length separates him from Jasmine's

The spy smiles, showing his buckteeth. The base is

infectious grasp. Diego blows the ball bin's cover and runs

safe-for now. Luckily, the girls didn't notice; they just kept

to Nathan's side. He bravely distracts the pursuers, veering

talking, and the whole point of spying is to hear what the

off into the soccer fields. His strategy works: two girls leave

girls are saying, especially Maya.

Nathan to chase him.

But the two have to be careful. If a girl (relatives exclud-

Now only three remain-Jasmine and the insepara-

ed) touches one of them, he will get girl cooties. While

ble Emily and Maya. They hotly pursue the spy as he

most cooties can be instantly cured by a boy's touch,

weaves around the play structures, bark chips kicking up

Nathan says Maya's version will kill him-but only for a day.

from his heels. As he sprints, his arms pumping like oil

His brother told him that when he turns twelve a doctor

wells, he thrusts his stomach forward and arches his

will give him a cooties immunization shot.

back like a crescent moon.

But until then he's vulnerable, and his bright blue jump-

When Nathan reaches the blacktop, he sneaks a look

suit isn't helping things. They have to remain undetected.

over his shoulder. Maya and Emily have quit the chase; now

Nathan tells Diego the base is too crowded.

only Jasmine remains. Nathan switches into a cocky skip.

"I think I should stay here," Diego whispers. "No way," Nathan argues. His eyebrows squish together

Then his feet tangle. He crashes to the blacktop hard, his body sprawling.

beneath his graham cracker-eolored hair. His voice quickens.

While he lays motionless, Jasmine touches his shoulder

"You need to move out. They'll see us if we both stay here.

and asks him if he's okay. He says nothing, nor does he move.

Go over there." He motions to a new shelter: the blue ball bin. Located where the path from school meets the blacktop, the new

Diego joins his fallen friend. "Nathan," he says, "are you hurt?" Only when Diego touches him, curing his cooties, does Nathan move.

post is too far away to hear the girls. Deflated like the few

He grabs his leg, scrunching his face. Together, Diego

balls remaining in the bin, Diego rolls his eyes and sighs at

and Jasmine sit him up and push his pant leg up to his

the obvious demotion.

knee. They wince at the shin wound.

As his sidekick readies to make a break, Nathan

As he limps across the playground toward Mrs. Eisele in

remembers something and pulls Diego back down by his

the health room, Nathan drapes an arm around Diego's

sweatshirt collar. "If I'm in trouble," Nathan says, "I'll go

shoulder for support and considers himself lucky: if Maya

like this." He motions a "come here" sign using his right

had touched him, the cooties would have killed him-but

arm. "No, no-wait," he says, correcting himself. "I'll go

just for a day. •

09


HIGH-TECH AMERICA: COMPETITIVE, INTENSE AND EVERCHANGING. YET FOR ONE MUSLIM SOFTWARE ENGINEER, HER WORKSPACE DURING LUNCH IS ONE OF TRADITION, DEVOTION AND SERENITY. IT'S WHERE SHE PRAYS.

I

if her hejab makes her too hot or if she can hear with itquestions that do not offend her. Nassrin's older brother, Adbi, who also lives in the United States, tried to persuade her not to wear her hejab at work.

n the office hub of ringing phones, chatting cowork-

He remembers thinking that people, even Iranian friends,

ers and clacking computer keys that is a busy com-

categorize people based on appearance. But Nassrin held

puter software company, Nassrin is a study in con-

fast to her convictions. The hejab symbolizes her religion

trast-a weaving of spirituality and technology. She's

and represents her core values. Growing up, her parents

neatly attired in a maroon tunic and black pants, which

encouraged her and her six older brothers to make their

hang loosely. Because she follows Islamic law regarding

own choices about practicing religion. At the end of high

dress, a hejab (headscarf) frames her face and conceals her

school, while still in Iran, Nassrin committed herself to Islam,

hair and neck. Her hands are the only other visible skin.

modeling herself after her father, whom she remembers as a

Her fingers hunt and peck over the keyboard as she sits in

positive example of w hat a good Muslim should be.

front of one of two computers in her cubicle, researching a

has kept her vow to remain devoted, even after leaving Iran

new software component. At noon, when coworkers trickle off to lunch, the forty year old stays behind. Her small lunch, which she usually eats alone, will wait. Setting aside her work for the time

1I

II

She

sixteen years ago for career opportunities. Today, the challenge in balancing her spiritual and her business lives has only strengthened Nassrin's commitment to Islam. Nonetheless, at times she chooses to forgo the full ritu-

being, Nassrin makes her way through the labyrinth of

al and says the rakats (prayer sets) in her head while driving

cubicles, exchanging hellos with other employees. She is

to seminars. At other times, she compromises her adher-

headed for the women's restroom to begin the 1,400-year-

ence to Islamic customs. For example, traditionally in

old Salat-AI Zohr (noon) prayer, which she's successfully

Islamic countries, women and men are allowed to touch

incorporated into her corporate work life.

only if they are members of an immediate family or married.

Standing at the bathroom sink, Nassrin rolls her sleeves to her elbows. Removing her shoes and stockings, but keeping

While Nassrin abstains from hugging her male coworkers, she feels it is too rude to refuse their handshakes.

her hejab in place, she carefully and delicately rinses her face

After completing the cleansing ritual, Nassrin returns to

and arms under running water. She dampens her hands,

her cubicle to pray. To create some privacy, she rolls her

which she wipes across her feet. She is preparing to meet

chair to block the entry. From a plastic bag within a steel

Allah in prayer. In doing so, she says, she feels she's per-

file cabinet, she removes a neatly folded navy, gold and

forming II a love relationship between humans and God. 1I

ivory embroidered wool rug with fringe and a working

If she were working in her native Iran, there would be a designated prayer room where coworkers could congre-

compass sewn into the center. She spreads it on the floor, facing northeast, symbolically in the direction of Mecca.

gate, supplied with rugs and copies of the Qu/ran. But as

In actuality, she faces the cubicle wall shared by the

the only practicing Muslim in this office, Nassrin has had to

next coworker. She stands on the rug, hands cupping her

adapt. She performs these private religious moments in a

ears as if she is listening to far-off sounds. She murmurs,

steel-and-glass office building, surrounded by the noise of

Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest). During the ten-minute

P

R Incorporated

STORY MARIKO FUKUYAMA PHOTOS SHELLEY BOHLMAN ,

hundreds of coworkers conducting business. On any given day, someone will witness her ritual.

10

prayer the office noises intrude, but Nassrin is oblivious, absorbed in her prayers.

Once, a female coworker stopped Nassrin in the bathroom

When she finishes, she gets back to work. The phone

to ask to see her hair. Nassrin agreed without hesitation,

rings and she quickly answers it, her Iranian accent slightly

saying, liSee, I'm like you. 1I The woman was not alone in

detectable. Unlike the loud chatter elsewhere, her voice is

her curiosity. In the past, other coworkers have asked her

serene.•


H

e carries his needles in a pale green cardboard box.

If visitors don't ask about quitting, Chamberlain and the

She remains undeterred. The thirty two year old knows

On a warm, sunny Friday afternoon, Jean, an aver-

volunteers don't bring it up. They want to foster trust

firsthand the need for the program. Chamberlain was only

age-looking guy in his early twenties, walks into the

between the NEP and its clients and encourage the

eleven years old when she began using drugs. Marijuana

HIV Alliance office off Franklin Boulevard in Eugene, Oregon.

exchange. When a user asks-and in fact so many people

came first.

His brown hair, blond at the tips, is clean, as are the clothes

do ask that there are waiting lists-Chamberlain and com-

on his thin body. He wears wire-rimmed glasses, smiles at

pany point them to local rehabilitation programs.

strangers and looks like just another college student in this

But in the meantime, the lesser-of-two-evils strategy

university town. As he closes the front door, a welcoming vol-

seems to be working. According to a study published in

unteer asks, "Are you here for the needle exchange?" Jean nods as he sits down on the old black couch,

The Journal of the American Medical Association, the spread of HIV has slowed where needle exchange

"When I was little, there was lots of stigma about being the good kid and the preacher's daughter and that kind of stuff. I think that made me start being wild a lot younger." Within a decade she was shooting heroin. Early in her addiction, she wondered what she was doing. Later, when she was going full-blown, she didn't care.

opens the box and pulls out two red plastic containers.

programs in the United States have been implemented.

"1 made sure I didn't think about it. I didn't have any

They are marked with biohazard symbols and each holds

According to a 2000 Surgeon General's report, while harm-

other options-I didn't have clean needles. I didn't want to

around fifty used needles. Taking the box of needles, the

reduction methods such as needle exchanges do not

think about what could happen."

volunteer asks for a count before she puts them in a filing

reduce drug use, neither do they increase it.

cabinet. One hundred, Jean answers. She gives him two

Unfortunately, as shrinking budgets threaten programs specifically dedicated to reducing drug use, needle exchange

boxes of clean needles. She also offers him supplies-alcohol wipes, sterile

programs are bearing the burden. Oregon is no exception.

When

Chamberlain was injecting drugs,

needle

exchange programs were rare and typically underground. Luckily, what easily could have happened-contracting HIV or hepatitis from a contaminated needle-never did.

water, bleach, cotton balls, antibiotic ointment and thin

Because of severe statewide budget cuts in the beginning of

"It's a miracle really," she says.

elastic strips to tie off the upper arm. Jean takes plenty of

2003, Eugene's methadone clinic closed. The clinic provided

But it was not the threat of HIV that finally persuaded

each and tries to stuff everything into the green box-but

methadone, a non-injected drug that helps addicts stop using

Chamberlain to quit. It was a friend's overdose and death

there's too much. The volunteer gives him a plastic bag to

heroin gradually. Now, without an intervention option, many

in her apartment.

carry the rest. Juggling the full bag and the pale green box

addicts have returned to injection use. The NEP has seen an

"That's what woke me up," she says. "1 was in and out

in both arms, he says goodbye to the volunteer and walks

increase of more than 45 percent in needles exchanged and

of plenty of rehabs before, but I didn't like being told what

out into the sunshine.

a 20 percent increase in visitors during the past several

I needed to do."

HIV Alliance's Sana Needle Exchange Program (NEP) has just supplied free needles to a drug addict.

months. Yet,

NEP receives no taxpayer support, so

Chamberlain must work with a finite supply of both donations and medical supplies to meet an increasing demand.

H IV

ALLIANCE OPENED THE EUGENE SANA

Still, it would take more than desire for Chamberlain to kick her habit. She would need help. For Chamberlain, help came in the form of a woman

opening page: Sharon Chamberlain in the exchange room at HIV Alliance. left: A user turns in dirty needles during the mobile exchange. below: Local hospitals donate medical supplies, including boxes of clean needles, to the program.

N EP (SANA MEANS

"healthy" in Latin) in 1999 to prevent the spread of HIV and hepatitis among intravenous drug users in Lane County, Oregon. Since its first year, the NEP has exchanged more than 686,000 needles. Last year it served 2,800 clients. Sharon Chamberlain, intravenous drug user outreach director at HIV Alliance, wants to increase that number. Since early 2002, she has worked with volunteers to exchange dirty needles for clean ones. Her hope is that the estimated 10,000 intravenous (IV) drug users in Lane

THE GOAL IS TO REDUCE THE SPREAD OF DISEASE-NOT DRUG USE. County will stop sharing needles, thereby limiting the spread of blood-borne pathogens. The goal of the program is to reduce the spread of disease-not drug use. This means that addicts do not face pressure to quit their habits. Instead, for beginning users, the program provides a starter kit that includes information packets and necessary medical supplies. The NEP gives regular visitors free needles and first aid supplies as well as pamphlets on how to inject properly and offers free HIV testing.

14

15


teers approach directly. Some talk and idle; others are silent and impatient to leave. In the hour and a half that the van remains at the end of the street, the volunteers make about a dozen exchanges-the same as an average Friday in the office. The N EP, with its in-office and mobile exchanges, would not exist without donor support. Local hospitals play a significant role in making the program run, contributing much of the money and supplies. This assistance is not altruism. Supporting exchange programs is smart business for hospitals. A 2002 study estimated the cost of treating an HIV-positive patient for life to be

SHANE PULLS OUT A SMALL BAG OF METHAMPHETAMINES FROM HIS POCKET. THE TWO GO TO WORK. between $150,000 and $195,000. Facing these costs, hospitals and health officials believe prevention is the answer and needle exchange programs do the job. But this win-win situation for hospitals and the N EP may have reached its limit. With the economy flagging, hospitals have been unable to increase their donations to meet the recent surge in demand for clean needles. "The amount that they give us no longer covers the supplies for a whole year," Chamberlain says. With two months to go in the fiscal year, HIV Alliance's above: Jean waits in anticipation of tonight's fix. right: Jean's partner, Shane, get his methamphetamine fix using one of the clean needles provided by the NEP.

whom she calls her "guardian angel." "She used to come down and talk to me and bring me food," Chamberlain says. "She never pressured me. She just talked to us, all kinds of kids that were on the street." Eventually the woman took Chamberlain to her apartment to get her off the streets and away from drugs.

program has already used the nearly $30,000 donated by

some professional conflicts in developing that kind of rela-

the Sacred Heart Medical Center Foundation. Luckily, the

tionship with people and helping them kick." Nonetheless, she hopes that if the agency can develop more stable funding, it will provide home detox kits for those who want to quit.

program recently received a grant that will help it finish the year and Chamberlain hopes HIV Alliance will find more stable sources of funding in the future. Right now, she's hoping her luck holds out.

"It was terrible, but she wouldn't let me leave or anything. But we had talked about it beforehand and she

BUT FOR NOW, CHAMBERLAIN IS FOCUSED ON REACHING AS MANY

JEAN BLINKS THROUGH THE HAZE THAT MEETS HIM AT THE DOOR

had helped a lot of people detox before, so she knew. She

IV drug users as possible to exchange as many needles as

of his apartment. Clouds of cigarette smoke hover over

helped me get through it."

possible.

After successfully kicking her addiction, Chamberlain

In addition to the in-office needle exchanges on Friday

every surface in the small, poorly furnished rooms. He takes the pale green cardboard box and plastic sack into

moved to Arizona and followed in the woman's footsteps:

afternoons, HIV Alliance goes into the community on

the bedroom where he and his partner, Shane, proceed

she invited addicts into her own home and helped them quit.

Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. In a beat-up

to unpack the clean syringes, elastic ties and other sup-

When Chamberlain moved to Eugene and found out

white van that has been gutted to make room for storage,

plies. Their hands tremble slightly, and sweat glazes

about the NEP through a friend, she saw an opportunity to

volunteers load needles, first aid supplies, a table, pam-

Shane's forehead and cheeks, dampening his thick dark

phlets and hot chocolate. At the end of a dead-end street,

eyebro'ws. It's been too long-he's going through with-

volunteers set up shop for the N EP's mobile exchange.

drawal, the "feemes" as he calls them. His pale blue

continue helping, though in a different way. "I didn't have this available to me when I was out there, and I'm a really strong believer in helping people reduce

"We meet them where they're at," says Kelly Moore,

eyes widen and blink rapidly as he scans the medical

their harm when they are out there so that they stay safe."

the testing and counseling director, who occasionally

supplies scattered over the desk and bed. Jean tosses

accompanies the volunteers and offers free HIV tests.

the empty box across the room into the corner, and

For now, Chamberlain's intervention is limited to disease reduction. As outreach coordinator, she no longer personally helps addicts detox. "I did that a lot when I was in Arizona, but I haven't

16

done it since I've been here," she explains. "There are

While those new to the exchange approach cautiously-wary of an ulterior motive lurking behind the cups of hot cocoa-others more familiar with the van and volun-

Shane pulls out a small bag of methamphetamines from his pocket. The two go to work.•

17


N

collar circles its neck. No menace inhabits its eyes. Through dark moist lips, a pale

tongue hangs, panting. Its breath is warm, pungent, unpleasant. No one here knows its name.

a III

~

The pound's officers call it "the black German Shepherd mix," or simply, "Boy."

E

The cage door opens and a leash tightens around the dog's neck. Happy to be out of its cage, it

~ ~

~

smiles a lopsided dog smile and wags its tail, yielding to the leash.

No one knows its age either, but this dog has decidedly outgrown its puppy

~

;0

stage. Still, it is clumsy and struggles to keep up with Senior Officer Bill Waugh, who

;::

moves through the kennel with a solid cowboy-booted stride ahead of the mutt. As

~

r-

always, he is dressed in brown Wranglers and a neatly ironed shirt tucked in at

to

the waist. Bifocals rest on the bridge of his nondescript nose; behind

0

them, Waugh's clear gray eyes are tired.

~

Z

'" (/)

As they walk the gantlet of animal cages, dogs snarl and bark, whine, whimper and howl. The stenchdog food, feces and urine mixed with cleaning detergent-lingers in the air. Waugh's strides lead them out of the kennel and through a bleak room filled

~

Z

I

~ G) G)

m ~

-<

with empty green cages to a door at the opposite end. Waugh opens it and leads the dog through.

19


The do ca 't e t e anI a S In the ras can, ut it ca me em. •

OFFICER TED CARLSON WAITS INSIDE. HE'S

a gentle man with a thick neck, broad back and powerful arms. He has a tiny earring in his left ear and a neatly trimmed goatee. His warm eyes acknowledge the animal, but he offers nothing more. Waugh shuts the door. An oppressive silence settles over the room. Unperturbed, the dog gently nudges its moist nose against Waugh's fingers. He retracts his hand-not fearfully, but with a calloused indifference. For fourteen years, he has walked dogs out of their cages, through the kennel and into this room. He knows better than to befriend animals such as this one. Undaunted, the dog approaches

follows an invisible trail to a gray plastic, jumbo-sized trash can two feet away. The mutt looks up at the can's mouth, then back at Waugh. Inside, two dead dogs lay one atop the other. The dog can't see them, but it can smell them. They, too, were led to this room by Waugh and met by Carlson. "Sit," Waugh says, pulling at the leash. The dog, licking its lips and nose, obeys, still panting steadily. It wags its disheveled tail and offers Waugh its paw. Unheeded, the limb hangs in the air. Waugh hunkers down and lightly taps the top of the examining table, which-lowered after the previous pro-

Carlson, who stands next to a small table with a syringe in his hand. He, too, ignores the animal. Carlson has been working at the pound for a decade and once adopted out

cedure-sits inches from the ground. "Here, boy," he beckons.

twelve animals in four hours. He also knows not to attach himself to any

orders. "Turn around." The dog immediately obeys, willing

dog led here.

to please. "There's nothing wrong with this

INSIDE THIS CLOSET-SIZED ROOM, THE LANE

County Animal Regulation Authority does its work. Last fiscal year, 3,696 animals came to the pound; only 988 were adopted out. Every day unadopted dogs are euthanized-four today, ten tomorrow, six the day after tomorrow. Death counts vary month to month: February's was 124; March's, 142; and April's, 164. Every year the death count in this room rises. Busy WITH THEIR PREP WORK, THE MEN ignore the dog. It happily explores the room; the experience seems

more of an adventure than a prelude to dying. The click-clack of its nails echoes in the small space. Sniffing loudly, it runs its nose over the naked

20

walls, concrete floor and three empty cages and then back to the floor again. The dog's ears prick up as it

Obediently the dog boards the stainless steel table. "Now turn

around,"

Waugh

dog," Waugh declares. Carlson nods.

the dog's muscles contract.

Its

panting ceases. Carlson playfully scratches the dog behind the ears but it is wary now, its tail motionless, its wolf-like ears up and alert. The table stops rising five feet above the floor. The dog's eyes dart from one man to the other. Carlson, who once trained dogs for the U. S. Army, talks to it, tousling its shiny, healthy mane. His voice, deep and authoritative, soothes. The fear abandons the dog's eyes. The tailwagging and panting resume. Without warning, Waugh wraps the leash twice around the dog's snout. It whines, stepping back, trying to escape. Useless. Trembling, it pulls-head up, down, back. "It's all right. It's all right, boy,"

vicious dog-one that is a menace to society-or an old sick dog-one that is suffering. But it's hard to kill a happy-go-lucky adoptable animal like this one. Regardless, Waugh and Carlson must constantly remind themselves that, even though they're burdened with the killing of animals, they didn't fail them. The owners did. THE MEN WORK METHODICALLY-ALMOST

mechanically-through the procedure. Fast, but not hastily. Carlson steps on the foot switch under the table. As it begins to rise,

CARLSON

GRABS AN

Pause. No vein appears.

lovers. They celebrate when animals are adopted, returned to their owners or transferred to humane societies. But they are also professionals. Killing stray, abandoned or unclaimed animals is just another duty done between cleaning the kennel and feeding the impounded animals. Day after day and dog after dog, these men have trained themselves to avoid emotions that could overexcite their victims or impair their own ability to carry out the community's will. Yes, they could quit tomorrow, but quitting would not stop the killings; someone would fill their

./

Syringe in hand, Carlson taps the exposed skin, which looks soft and pink-like a baby's.

vent it from biting. He could use one of the muzzles on the shelf, but a muzzle raises an animal's anxiety, and

The execution begins.

OSTER TWO-

dog's forepaw. The sound, more than the shave, frightens the animal and it whimpers, rolling its eyes and trying to pull back its paw. "It's all right. It's all right, boy," Waugh says. "It'll be all right."

Tap. Pause. Tap.

a tense animal is harder to kill. Waugh embraces the dog's body with his left arm. The dog whimpers.

OLD

speed razor and, with a couple of strokes, shears a patch of fur off the

Waugh says, as he has countless times before. His right hand tightens the leash to distract the dog and pre-

AT THE CORE, THESE MEN ARE ANIMAL FOR POUND OFFICIALS, IT'S EASIER TO KILL A

positions. So they rationalize: if the killings must be done, the enforcer might as well be someone who understands the responsibility, who performs with compassion and who's flawless in the execution.

He taps again. He waits. A tiny greenish vein surfaces. Ready? Carlson asks. II

II

Waugh nods and holds the dog a little tighter. The dog whimpers. The needle breaks the skin, and sodium pentobarbital-the ceruleancolored liquid that kills animals such as this all across America-pushes into the dog's bloodstream. Before the needle is out of the vein, the dog's brain shuts down. Its body weakens and its eyes roll up white. Waugh lays the unconscious dog on its he side. A minute later listens for a heartbeat, grabs the dog by its limbs and drops it into the barrel. Add this one to the roughly three million dogs euthanized yearly in America. "Who's next?" Waugh asks.•

It'

to a vicio S do one at i a menace to socIetjl 21


STORY MEG HEMPHILL PHOTOS JESSICA WATERS

rna er MAKING A

A YOUNG WOMAN MUST PROVE HERSELF IN ORDER TO REGAIN CUSTODY OF HER INFANT DAUGHTER.


SITTING IN A CHAIR DESIGNED FOR A FOUR year old, her delicate knees pointed toward her chin, Kristen Glass* projects the perfect image of a young mother at a parent-teacher conference. Her doe-like brown eyes focus intently on the teacher, never wandering to the playground just outside the window. Her small frame is still, as if any movement might detract from absorbing invaluable knowledge. Whenever the opportunity arises, she enthusiastically shares input about her daughter. She smiles ever so slightly when the teacher offers a compliment.

H

mother. It's been almost forty-eight hours since she has

often so angry and irrational that her partner filed a restrain-

seen her daughter, and she hates to miss out on even a

ing order after he claimed that Kristen threatened to kill

moment of her development. Finally, the one-on-one

them both. The relationship ended in the summer of 2000.

session is finished and Kristen hurries down the hallway, barely resisting the urge to skip.

Several months later she began a new relationship. Though it didn't last, in February of 2002, Kristen discov-

In the lobby, where parents and foster parents

ered she was pregnant again. She was determined to

exchange children and share updates, Kristen makes a

make changes. She stopped smoking marijuana and

beeline for Aurora. The child is asleep in her carrier,

dropped her medications. She moved to a new apartment,

snuggled in a pink fleece blanket that Kristen made for her.

eager to start a new life, but her problems followed her.

With her hands softly caressing her daughter's shoulders,

Soon after she moved, the police showed up. She had

Kristen coos, her voice rising several notes. As Kristen

failed to notify her parole officer of her new address. She

ere, surrounded by glittery 'dress-up shoes and an

adjusts the blanket over her baby, she notices the cute

went back to jail for a probation violation.

abundance of dolls and accessories for playing

little jeans, embroidered with flowers. Aurora's foster

house, Kristen is not as she first appears. Her

mother has dressed her in a new ensemble.

But this time, within the confines of the concrete walls, she was no longer comfortable. She didn't belong. She

auburn hair pulled back in a clip exposes two tattoos-a

Before returning to the classroom, Kristen receives an

turtle under her right ear and a dragonfly below her left.

update on recent feedings and diaper changes from

On October 20, 2002, Kristen gave birth to Aurora

They stand in sharp contrast to her delicate face.

Aurora's foster mother. Although she listens to the infor-

Felicity Glass. For the new mother, everything was perfect.

Although Kristen is a mother, her role here is that of a

knew she was no longer the same.

mation, she stays focused on the baby. Time is limited and

IILying in the sun with her, cuddling with her, breast feed-

student-once delinquent, now dedicated-and the most

she knows it. As soon as possible, she hoists the carrier

ing her-it was the best time of my life,lI she recalls.

important hours of her week are spent every Friday in this

onto her slender arm, and mother and daughter move

thirty-foot by twenty-foot classroom.

down the bright hallway toward the classroom.

Three days later DHS unexpectedly came to her home and took her baby away. Again, Kristen's path was obscured.

The twenty three year old is at the Relief Nursery, a

III felt like everything was collapsing around me. I cried

Eugene, Oregon, non-profit agency, to prove her parenting

THIS

skills. If she succeeds, she will regain custody of her six-

Together-she became familiar with the nursery and its all-

audible. III couldn't eat, couldn't sleep. I felt like I hadn't

month-old daughter, Aurora.* If she fails, the courts will try

important classroom three-and-a-half years ago. In those ll days she was a different person- a really bad person,lI

done anything wrong. II

she says. Her history is riddled with problems she does not

caseworker from DHS, says there are circumstances where

to find a relative to adopt the baby. If that attempt is unsuccessful, Aurora will be put up for adoption.

ISN'T

KRISTEN'S

FIRST

TIME

ENROLLED

IN

FAMILIES

for a week straight,lI Kristen says, the pain in her voice

And, in fact, she hadn't. But Dave McGory, Kristen's

The classroom and its mandate are part of the

want her daughter to experience: an abusive childhood,

DHS makes a removal for the safety of the child based

Families Together program at the Relief Nursery, which

uncontrollable anger, violent relationships, drug abuse.

solely on a parent's history. Kristen's history of child abuse

serves abused, neglected and at-risk children and their

She spent time in jail for possession of a controlled sub-

required state intervention.

families. The twelve-week program includes weekly parenting classes, one-on-one meetings with an interventionist (or parenting coach) and ninety-minute labs where parents are supervised and evaluated as they interact

KRISTEN mows THE DEPARTNJENT OF HUMAN SERVICES NEEDS HER TO PROVE SHE'S DIFFERENT-Nor FOR rrs SAKE, Bur FOR HER DAUGHIER'S.

with their children. For most parents, these ninety

stance, burglary, theft, harassment and forgery. During

Today, Kristen understands the state's position. She

minutes are one of only two times each week they get to

these incarcerations, which usually lasted ten days at a

knows DHS wants her to prove she's different, not for its

see their children. How they perform during each minute

stretch, she felt comfortable with the people around her.

sake, but for Aurora's. But that doesn't make it any easier to

becomes crucial-it will determine whether the child

She felt she fit in.

returns home.

Kristen had a son in March of 1999 while she was living

The state court orders enrollment in Families Together.

with the baby's father. Their relationship was rife with

Parents have one year from the day their children are

domestic violence, and the Department of Human Services

removed to prove themselves capable, or the adoption

(DHS) removed the boy after Kristen threw him at his father

process begins.

in a rage.

contend with the emptiness of life without her child. She is determined to show she can parent-and parent well.

GRETCHEN DUBIE WANTS TO HELP KRISTEN REALIZE HER GOAL.

And what Gretchen says matters. She's the last word, the person who measures a parent's ability during the pro-

Kristen wants to make sure that doesn't happen to her.

Kristen entered Families Together, but was not ready to

gram and, at the end, assesses his or her potential. The

As she and her interventionist, Melissa Padron, wrap up

accept the responsibilities of parenthood. She failed to

Families Together program coordinator and parent educa-

their conversation, they revisit Kristen's daily goals about

complete the program and signed over her parenting

tor has a degree in special education and one in psychol-

being attentive and managing anxiety. Kristen is focused

rights. Her son, who just celebrated his fourth birthday, is

ogy. The shelves in her office are full of parenting books.

on Melissa's insights, but she's also antsy. She wants to get

no longer a part of her life.

Both coworkers and clients revere her.

to the lobby where Aurora is waiting with her foster

Kristen's anger persisted after the boy's removal. She was

In her eight years at the agency, thirty-one-year-old

opening page: Kristen is detennined to regain custody of Aurora. left: She awaits her daughter's arrival.

*names changed for the anonymity of the child

25


Gretchen has seen many parents such as Kristen facing chal-

infant and interventionist enter the room. Kristen smiles at

lenges. Gretchen has tracked the progress of them all, from

them. She prefers to be with other people because she can

the mentally ill to drug and alcohol addicts.

watch how they deal with parenting situations. Plus, Aurora

She has followed Kristen since her first time in the program. Back then, Gretchen says, Kristen was so distant and

likes to watch people.

trusts her own ability to cope with parenting. Kristen wasn't always this comfortable, Gretchen . recalls. In an earlier lab, Aurora wouldn't stop crying and she didn't respond to any of Kristen's attempts to calm her:

From large wooden boxes, the mothers pick toys they

changing her diaper, giving her a bottle, rubbing her back.

think their babies will enjoy, and the lab begins. During the

When Gretchen asked how Kristen felt having exhausted

"She was on so many meds, she couldn't have a con-

time they spend with their children, they are free to do what

her options, she said she thought she should take Aurora

versation without spacing out," Gretchen says. This time

they want, but the key is to incorporate goals with playtime.

to the hospital. Gretchen says she stressed to the anxious

"Hi, goober," Kristen says in her high voice. She kisses

mother that crying is normal, nothing to get too worked

the baby, who struggles to keep her eyes open, and

up about. Since then, Gretchen notes with satisfaction,

detached that it was hard to get through to her.

around, however, she sees a completely different woman. Different or not, Kristen still has much to prove. Only 40 percent of those who participate in the program see their children returned. Even then, the potential for failure per-

Kristen lifts her onto the pink blanket spread on the floor. Lifting Aurora's flowered shirt to expose her belly,

sists. Within the group of children who go home, almost

Kristen flits her lips on the flawless skin. The baby coos and

half are removed again at a later date.

reaches for her mom's head, joggling her feet and hands in

Kristen's anxiety has visibly decreased when Aurora cries. She tends to the child but doesn't get panicky if the crying doesn't stop. Kristen's determination is paying off.

Kristen is in her second twelve-week term. Although

excitement. When Aurora spits up, Kristen immediately

Recently she has been awarded the privilege of meet-

Gretchen saw progress after the first term, she wanted to

cleans her face. When the baby's diaper needs changing,

ing with Melissa and Aurora at home on Fridays rather

see whether the young mother could sustain her success

Kristen is right on cue. The young mom chats with Melissa

than in the classroom.

over a longer period of time. The key to her success is

while putting a new diaper on the baby. As they speak,

meeting her parenting goals.

Aurora tilts her head in their direction.

For Kristen and all the other parents in Families

"This is not something I do with everybody," Gretchen explains. "There's no question in my mind where she's at-

"Do you see how she responds?" Melissa says. " Every

Together, progress is measured by these goals. The objec-

single word that you say she gets excited about. Whether

tives-set by the interventionists and parents together-

you know it, you're developing her brain right now."

she's doing really well." This marks Kristen's entry into the "transition home" phase of the program. Soon, Aurora will stay with Kristen on Friday nights, an extension of the in-house Friday morning

AS THE END OF THE LAB NEARS, KRISTEN EYES THE ClDCK. THE T"INIE IS NEAR-THE T"INIE ~ SHE HAS TO GIVE HER DAUGH'!'ER BACK. measure and improve parenting skills. For example, if a

To help Kristen relax, Melissa relates things from her

of Aurora who, by then, will be nearing her first birthday. Though the thought of her daughter coming home delights Kristen, she is also concerned.

parent needs to increase attachment to a child, he or she

own parenting experience, such as how her toddler still

"1 worry that it's going to be stressful to make a

may have the goal to smile and show animation ten times

doesn't sleep through the night, which can be normal for

schedule and a routine," Kristen says. But she knows she

during a lab. All goals have to be quantifiable.

kids. Speaking calmly, she offers suggestions.

Kristen has three main goals: to recognize when

can't focus too much on the future. She has to concen-

Gretchen enters the room and the mood changes.

trate on the present.

Aurora needs diapering and bottles, to calm herself when

Kristen stops playing with Aurora and her eyes latch onto

As the end of the lab nears, Kristen eyes the clock. The

Aurora does something to make her anxious and to show

Gretchen making her way to her seat, where she settles

time is near-the time when she has to give her daughter

animation with her voice so Aurora knows her mom's

with a steno pad to watch the mom and baby. Gretchen

back. "Five-minute warning," Melissa announces.

around. These may seem like instincts for a parent, but

says it's typical for parents to become self-conscious in her

Kristen has been relishing her time with Aurora, slowly

for many, Kristen included, they are skills that must be

presence because they know that her evaluations help

feeding her pureed carrots, holding her while she has

learned and practiced because they were never modeled

determine their fates.

lunch and one last bottle feeding. When Melissa asks

for them in childhood. "1 want to deal with things a lot better than how my parent figures have in my life," Kristen says.

Melissa refocuses Kristen's attention by suggesting

whether she needs a hand with anything, Kristen declines,

some development exercises for Aurora, which mother

knowing that soon she'll have to do all of this on her own.

and baby do. Gretchen watches for ten more minutes. As

After feeding Aurora, Kristen gently sets her back on

she leaves, Kristen's eyes follow her out of the classroom.

the pink blanket and continues talking to her as she packs

the ability to control her anger in stressful situations.

LATER,

KRISTEN'S

the carrier and tenderly picks up her daughter. Kristen

progress during lab. She showed good animation and

checks to make sure she hasn't forgotten anything. Her

INSIDE THE CLASSROOM, A TAPE PLAYS UPBEAT SIMPLE LYRICS FOR

involvement with Aurora by using her voice. When she

movements are deliberate-as if she is willing time to slow

children. Kristen and Melissa, the interventionist, sit togeth-

moved away from the baby, she continued talking to her.

down. She doesn't want to take her child back to the

Of those goals, the most difficult is one that haunts her every word and gesture in the classroom-she must master

right: During one of her supervised parenting sessions, Kristen tends to Aurora's feeding.

labs. And in five months, Kristen could be given full custody

the diaper bag. She relegates the bag and its contents to GRETCHEN AND

MELISSA MEET TO ASSESS

er on the floor near the large window that separates the

She has exhibited less and less anxiety with each lab. The

lobby. But she knows that with the right steps, she'll never

classroom from the outside world. Aurora sleeps soundly in

more time she spends with Aurora, the two women

have to take this walk, sit in this small classroom chair or

her carrier on the floor next to them. Soon, another mother,

conclude, the more comfortable she is and the more she

wait to hold Aurora again. Melissa holds the door open; they enter the hallway.â&#x20AC;˘

26


â&#x20AC;˘ n

b

a

c

k

&

w

h

t

e

At Vogel Plaza, in the heart of Medford, Oregon, two groups of citizens gather. Each one believes in a higher purpose. Every Wednesday, starting at noon and lasting one half hour, the Women in Black silently protest violence in all forms. Every Thursday from noon to two, the People in White rally, cheering their support for President Bush and America's troops. They're all patriots.

STORY MEG HEMPHILL & JOSIAH MANKOFSKY PHOTOS LUIS SALAZAR

29


a mer

c a

The peal of a hand-held bell signals the beginning. For the next thirty minutes they stand united-a silent wall of women. For them, words are dull and useless tools. Their presence alone is their statement. Their black clothing a visible reminder of lives lost. While around them opinions rage, they remain serene, composed. A vigil of peace. In the maelstrom of emotion, their silence speaks. When the bell returns them to the confusion of global politics and war, they hold their vision: Peace.


Blaring horns announce their arrival. Men, women and children swathed in red, white and blue gather to cheer for America. Flags wave-small, hand-held flags; giant flags on long poles; flags worn as bandanas; flags on socks, earrings, fingernails, faces. "America the Beautiful" booms fr路om loudspeakers. Kids play tag. Car horns honk in support. Cheers erupt from the crowd. Like a lively Fourth of July in small-town America, the message is clear: Americans-the President, the troops, the people-are strong and proud. Invigorated, they return to their lives carrying a vision: America.

a mer

c a 33


amer

34

ca

amer

ca


In a home designed to use composting toilets, rainwater harvesting devices and solar power, accomplishing day-to-day tasks can be a challenge. While the Kinzers have tried to stay true to the Earthship concept, logistics have hindered their progress. Six-yearold Jacob and four-year-old Quinn mean more loads of laundry, more gasguzzling car trips into town and more solar power consumption. The prescribed composting toilets that convert excrement into usable compost drained too much of the limited solar power, so

I don't think people need to look at

alternative living as a sacrifice. they opted for low-flush toilets. codes required that they filter their water-used water from faucets showers-deep into soil, offering

City gray and little

nourishment for plants. They attempted to catch rainwater, but a leak in their roof forced them to postpone that idea. Despite the setbacks, the Kinzers strive to live out their convictions in their daily routine. They own a dryer, but Paula makes a conscious effort not to use it unless pressed for time. In the main hallway of their home, kitchen towels and child-sized pajamas hang from sagging clotheslines. They have a

refrigerator, but in the winter Paula uses her "outside refrigerator," the shaded underside of the deck, to keep foodsuch as pots of turkey soup-cold. They also have a dishwasher, but they wash most of their dishes by hand. "Convenience is not as high a priority for me," Paula says. "To take a few extra minutes now so that my kids can have a healthy planet is worth it. They'll appreciate that a lot more than they will anything else." Nonetheless, Paula is matter-of-fact in her assessment of the differences between the book's portrayal and reality. "It's so pie-in-the-sky that you just get the perfect image," she says. "It's easy to overlook the headaches." One headache they chose to alleviate was an unreliable generator, which they used as a backup to their twelve photovoltaic solar panels. "Being off-grid is really a fabulous feeling," Paula says, "until you have to start up your generator." Tired of the hassle and unexpected power surges from their backup energy source, the Kinzers connected to the city's electrical grid three years ago. Now, all they have to do is flip a switch and their power changes from solar to grid. Still, Paula and Kevin make frequent visits to the small electrical room just off

the kitchen to monitor their power levels, though they worry less since making the switch. Even in the dead of winter the family uses only 112 kilowatts of grid electricity per month-about 10 percent of what a conventional home of the same size uses. Paula continues to do the bulk of her energy-dependent work during the day, when the sun is out. She and Kevin know that if they organized their energy use perfectly, they would rely only on solar power. Yet they take comfort in knowing that they can use the microwave or the television or run an emergency load of laundry after the sun goes down. The switch to city power also allows Paula her favorite indulgence: the fiveminute shower she cannot bring herself to shorten. More power also means there's energy for Jacob to set new records on his Hot Wheels computer game or for Quinn to use a nightlight at bedtime. Aside from those daily luxuries, living in an Earthship gives the children opportunities to learn small lessons about the environment almost every day. They know where their water comes from because their mother shows them: from the kitchen's cistern, through the shiny copper tubes along

the ceiling and into the toilets, showers and faucets. They also know to resist the urge to play in the indoor planters so that they don't hurt the towering tangerine tree, tomato plants or blooming flowers that flourish in the sunlight. And if they're patient, they can see the planters' wandering toads snacking on spiders and flies. Paula and Kevin learn lessons, too. In their own company, EcoCents Consulting, they explore alternative solutions to conventional home waste. Paula also works with the local school district, showing officials ways to reduce their waste. The family gives tours of their home to people who are

BeiJfg off-grid is really a great feeling, untIl you nave to start up the generator. interested in eco-friendly lifestyles. "I don't think people need to look at alternative living as a sacrifice," she says. "It's all an experiment, and people shouldn't be so locked into thinking that conventional is safe." Never one to settle for the comforts of the conventional, Paula still finds time for home improvements. The failed rainwater collecting system is next on the list. She expects to have it up and going just in time for autumn's rains.â&#x20AC;˘

39


n the claustrophobia of encroach-

the dearth of Indian anthropologists is

Coquille

ing walls, musty smells and win-

about more than a lack of access to

Oregon tribes. By losing federal

I

along

with

sixty

other

dowless isolation that is a graduate

higher education. It is also about

recognition, they lost the right to

student's office at a research university,

anthropology's problematic involve-

self-rule, the possibility to reclaim a

Jason Younker is a breath of fresh air.

ment in tribal history. Officially, the

portion of their lands and even the

The moment a chance to discuss his

discipline is dedicated to document-

legal right to call themselves Indians.

work presents itself, he stops his stac-

ing, understanding and ultimately

Younker was born thirteen years

cato typing and leaps into stories of

preserving cultures. But, beginning in

after his tribe's termination. Growing

struggle and survival.

Stories of the

the late 1800s, studies done by pre-

up on the South Slough near Coos

Coquille tribe of Southern Oregon.

dominantly non-Indian anthropolo-

Bay-the traditional homeland of the

Stories that shift with time and place.

gists were used to rationalize govern-

Coquille-he was fully aware that he

ment policies that nearly destroyed

was an Indian, whether the govern-

tribes such as the Coquille.

ment chose to acknowledge it or not.

"Native American culture does not stay static, he says. It reinvents itself II

II

and it adapts to the environment."

At the beginning of the twentieth

There is something insistent about

century, it was anthropology that

Younker's observations, as though he

argued the only way to save the

He also felt intense pressure to assimilate. "My ancestors said, 'You have to

"THE GOVERNMENT ESSENTIALLY WANTED OUT OF THE INDIAN BUSINESS. IF THEY REMOVED THE BURDEN OF BEING INDIAN FROM THE INDIANS BY SAYING, 'YOU'RE NO LONGER INDIAN,' THEN THE GOVERNMENT WAS OUT OF THE INDIAN BUSINESS." is trying, with each word he chooses,

Indians was to assimilate them into

to reclaim the history of a people. Or

the larger culture. To accomplish that

ness and survive physically or die,'"

perhaps he is simply delighted to be

task, Indian Training Schools, which

Younker says. "You have three, four

the voice of a culture long ignored.

separated young tribal members from

generations saying, 'Forget every-

Either motivation seems reasonable.

their parents to be "Americanized,"

thing you know about being Indian.'"

After all, Younker is not simply a grad-

were created. Students, forced to cut

uate student. He is a Coquille Indian

their hair and punished for speaking

hear a different message.

pursuing a Ph.D. in anthropology.

their native languages, lost much of

On one of those April days in Oregon that can't dedde between warm spring breezes and fat drops of rain, Younker is climbing a muddy slope in his back yard. A tall man with a long, dark ponytail, he carries his four-yearold daughter Lillia. All around them are the delicate bluish-lavender bells and tender green leaves of Camas lilies. "Who eats Camas?" asks Younker. "The Indians," Lillia chirps back. "Are you an Indian?" "Yeah." "What kind?" "A daughter Indian."

Although today he is among a

their cultural, historical and linguistic

handful of Indians in the Department

knowledge.

of Anthropology at the University of

"The

Oregon,

in

government

essentially

1993, when Younker

wanted out of the Indian business,"

began his graduate work, he was the

Younker says. "If they removed the

only American Indian in his class.

burden of being Indian from the

"It was just me," he recalls. "There

Indians by saying, 'You're no longer

were maybe two other students in the

Indian,' then the government was out

whole anthropology department who

of the Indian business."

identified as Indians."

42

either give up a lot of your Indian-

Ultimately, assimilation was used

Younker's experience is not unusu-

against the Coquille. This time,

al. The thirty six year old is one of

anthropologists determined that the

fewer than one hundred native peo-

tribe no longer maintained sufficient

ple among the more than 10,000

ties to its culture to be considered

members

American

legitimate; the Coquille's oral tradi-

Anthropological Association, the pri-

tion was not adequate documenta-

mary professional society of anthro-

tion for its defense. So, in 1954 the

pologists in the United States. But,

government

of

the

"terminated"

the

He wants the next generation to

But when Lillia's father was a child

himself, he had no such easy associ-

first real exposure to young Indians

ation with his cultural identity.

who had strong cultural identities.

"At a very young age I knew I was

In Oklahoma and South Dakota,

Indian," Younker says. "But I very quick-

Younker came up hard on his lack of

ly learned it wasn't good to be Indian."

cultural awareness.

So just like his father and his grandmother, he threw overboard what was not useful. He focused on being an athlete, an identity that allowed him to circumvent the danger he felt in being seen only as an Indian.

"1

became

something

else,"

Younker says. "1 was a good athlete, so I quickly became accepted into a different identity and social stream." Ironically, it was going to college to play baseball that offered him his

"It became really clear to me when I dated this Sioux gal," he remembers. When Younker went to pick up his date, her entire family, including her grandfather, met him inside. When the grandfather asked where Younker was from, he simply answered, "Coos Bay." "No, where are you from?" the grandfather persisted. He wanted to know Younker's tribe, his lineage.

Younker says he couldn't answer. The silence was deafening. "He wanted to know whether my history and culture were as important to me as they were to him, to his granddaughter, to his family," Younker says. Younker failed the test. It was their first and last date. Younker never wanted to feel that way again. It was time to go home, and becoming a teacher seemed the shortest path home. He earned a master's degree in education and returned to the West Coast. The tides were also changing for the Coquille. For more than thirty

opening page: The Coquille trace its roots to the Southern Oregon coast. above: Jason Younker is one of a few American Indians who are members of the American Anthropological Association.

43


years they had searched for a strategy

ognized one. He also launched a new

They invited-and were invited by-

working with. And they've made us

to

decision.

career. Because the U.S. government

tribal members to collaborate on proj-

think deeply about the way we work."

recognition

can end its recognition of any tribe at

ects. Anthropology departments at

Still, the involvement of Indians in

seemed impossible. But in 1988, the

any time, the Coquille remain vulnera-

major universities not only increased

anthropology has been slow to take

tribe found a surprising solution. In

ble. Tribal elders told Younker that

recruitment of native scholars, but

hold, as has tribal trust in those

collaboration with Dr. Roberta Hall, an

what his people needed were anthro-

also adapted quickly to changes in

members who pursue the discipline.

anthropologist

pologists who would work to defend

the discipline.

reverse

Regaining

the

1954

federal

at

Oregon

State

University, eleven members of the

the tribe against termination. For their

"Initially, we had this na路lve idea as

tribe traveled to Washington, D.C., to

own protection, they told him, he

faculty members that we would bring

fight for federal recognition. Thanks in

would need to become the expert.

"1 always introduce myself as, 'I'm Jason Younker. I'm a Coquille Indian. 1

1m

Then, one day there was a great tidal wave, and everybody rushed to their canoes. Those who had prepared themselves had long ropes and were able to tie themselves to trees. The tidal wave swept the others away.

an anthropologist for our tribe.'

For the Coquille, anthropology is

non-Indian scholars. By the end of the second trip in 1999, 110,000 documents returned with

them.

Now

housed

in

the

University's Special Collections and University Archives, the documents are

compiled

as The

Southwest

Oregon Research Project (SWORP). Still, there is more history in the

indigenous peoples here and we would

Usually the reaction is"-his eyes bug

now the rope and "official" docu-

archives to be reclaimed. Just across

large part to Hall's testimony, the tribe

And anthropology was changing to

teach them how to do anthropology,"

out, and he makes a gasping, choking

ments are its stoutest trees.

from where the scholars found the doc-

received federal recognition a year

make room for American Indians. In the

says Dr. Jon Erlandson, an anthropology

sound-"'Youlre an anthropologist?!'"

later. Anthropology-the field that

years since the civil rights movement,

professor at the University of Oregon.

Despite the distrust, Dr. George

had betrayed the Coquille in the

more non-native anthropologists had

"What's really happened is that these

Wasson, another Coquille anthropol-

sonal research. Among the massive

matter where the researchers went in

past-had proved itself an ally.

become aware of the field's negative

people have come and taught us how

ogist, has been instrumental in

collections

of the National Anthro-

the maze-like collections, they found

effects on indigenous groups and

to do anthropology, how to respond

reminding Younker why it is important

pological Archives and the National

themselves going back and forth

worked to change that relationship.

better to the needs of the people we're

for him to pursue his work. Recently,

Archives in Washington, D.C., he stum-

through rows of tribal ancestors.

he took Younker high on a hill near

bled across the first of what would

Younker left for college a terminated Indian and returned a federally rec-

In the 1970s, Wasson had made an

uments were boxes of human remains

astounding discovery while doing per-

from the Southern Oregon coast. No

It is this need for control of tribal

the Pistol River. As a fog bank rolled

prove to be be thousands and thou-

history and, in turn, tribal destiny that

in, the two men sat overlooking the

sands of documents pertaining to

inspires Younker.

"I ALWAYS INTRODUCE MYSELF AS, 'I'M JASON YOUNKER. I'M A COQillLLE INDIAN. I'M AN ANTHROPOLOGIST FOR OUR TRIBE.' USUALLY THE REACTION IS 'YOU'RE AN ANTHROPOLOGIST?!'"

44

ocean and Wasson related a story-a

Oregon tribal history. Compiled by

"Il m not defeated by history,"

story Younker sees as parallel to the

ethnographers, historians and linguists,

Younker says. "1 would live a very mis-

way the tribe has lived:

some of these critical notes were the

erable life if I were just to focus on all of

A long long time ago the old people said, "1 think we should start making long ropes because sometime therels going to be a great earthquake, and therels going to be a great tide. We don't want to be unprepared." They kept telling the younger generation, "We can tie our. canoes up, and then we wonlt get swept away." Well, of course the younger generation paid no attention. "Itls just a waste of time," they said. "We could be out fishing." Well, the old folks, they kept making ropes, and some of the younger generations helped them.

very sources that had been used

the bad prior acts. I can see where

against the Coquille in the past. To add

anthropology can have an effective role

insult to injury, most members of

in empowering tribal communities."

Oregon tribes could not access them.

The only bright color in Younker's

That access belonged to a small num-

office radiates from his laptop, where

ber of researchers who were deemed

photos of his daughter, Lillia, flit

qualified to enter. Wasson knew the

across the screen. She reminds him of

information should be in Oregon, but

what he needs to do. As soon as Lillia

he couldn't bring it back. He lacked the

could understand, he began to tell

necessary funding and permission. He

her about Coquille culture.

left empty-handed.

"You have to prepare the next gen-

It took more than fifteen years to lay

eration so they don't get swept away,"

the groundwork. But in 1995, backed

he says. "You never know when the

by the Coquille tribe and the University

next tide's going to come in."

of Oregon, Wasson again traveled to

Though these days Lillia prefers

the nationls capital. This time he was

Thomas the Tank Engine to stories of

accompanied by Younker and six other

her tribe, Younker will do everything

researchers-three Coquille and three

to ensure his daughter knows her his-

45


D~Alder er is a man on a mission. e spends nearly every waking hour in the drafty rent-

describes as a shift in scientific thinking "comparable to

ed warehouse that is ProtoTista, his independent non-

the Copernican, Newtonian, Darwinian and Einsteinian

profit science school in Eugene, Oregon. He's the school's

H

janitor and

revolutions combined." Fuller is not unique in his interest in complexity, but he is

bookkeeper. Fuller says he hasn't had a day off-not even

on the radical fringe of the scientists who teach it. While the

holidays or weekends-for nearly a year. "If I'm not sleep-

mainstream science world acknowledges the value of com-

dean,

instructor,

webmaster,

AV tech,

ing, I'm working on ProtoTista stuff," he says. "There is

plexity as a tool for advancing scientific knowledge, few go

nothing else in my life at the moment." Fuller's thin face is furred with bristle, and when he

so far as to claim it will bring about sweeping global change.

smiles, his cheeks rise to meet blue eyes rimmed in faint

Dr. Jim Schombert, an associate professor of physics at

wrinkles. He has the look of a man who doesn't give in. It's

the University of Oregon, is among those who advocate a

a quality he acquired early on, while growing up in rural

cautious approach. He thinks that complexity is too new

western Tennessee. Fuller was a skinny, red-haired kid, and

and too undefined to warrant the same academic priority

he had to make up in tenacity what he lacked in brawn. That recalcitrance stayed

as physics and chemistry. "You lose a lot of the flavor if you

"I'M PROBABLY NOT CUT OUT TO BE IN MAINSTREAM ACADEMIA. I'M TOO MUCH OF A REBEL."

jump right into it," he says. "I'm hesitant to [teach] com-

doesn't like to be told

plexity before I teach reductionism." Schombert also cautions against seeing complexity as a

what to do.

panacea. "As with all things new, people who are doing it

with him, and he still

"I'm probably not

are saying that they're going to solve all problems," he

cut out to be in main-

says. "And the people who are not doing it are saying,

stream academia," he

'Well, show me.' Complexity is another step forward, but

says. "I'm too much of

don't take it as the next great revolution."

a rebel. I want to do A rebel he may be, but

the

man

Fuller disagrees. He thinks humanity is heading toward an ecological crisis, and a widespread understanding of

things my way." has

earned his stripes in

the academic world: a B.S. in biology, an M.S. in biological

48

Fuller believes complexity has the potential to do just that.

complexity can help humans survive-but only if these ideas reach as many people as soon as possible. So he's made it his personal mission to teach complexity his way, to anyone and everyone who wants to learn.

systematics, an M.S. in mathematics and a Ph.D. in ecolo-

Despite its name, the science of complexity can be

gy and evolution. In addition, Fuller taught biology and

understood in simple terms (see "Complexity: The Study

math at a community college in Albuquerque, New

of the Web of Life" on page 51). Essentially, it asserts that

Mexico, for nearly a decade. He left mainstream academia

everything-from cells to organs to organisms to species

to teach an emerging field called complexity, which he

to ecosystems to the planet-is linked. This idea isn't new;

Buddhist and Hindu philosophies teach that all levels of

economics classes and the general public's vocabulary.

life are interwoven. But the concept of interconnectedness

He came to believe that those holding the old views

as a scientific approach is a dramatic shift from the domi-

would have to retire before the new views could be incor-

nant science of reductionism, which examines the parts

porated into academia.

rather than the whole. Complexity offers a paradigm for

He wasn't willing to wait that long.

science to envision a more holistic view of the world. When Fuller encountered the nascent field in the 1990s,

IN 2001, FULLER LAUNCHED PROTOTISTA TO SPREAD THE MESSAGE

he was struck by its potential to link science-based issues

that humans need to make huge changes, and make them

with their ecological, social and economic counterparts.

now. As the school's only instructor, he offers courses on com-

"It was as if every other page in my textbooks had been

plexity and its applications to math, biology and geology.

blank," he says, "and these ideas were filling in the blanks."

ProtoTista doesn't feel like a classroom. There are no

As a dedicated instructor, Fuller wanted to close those

exams and no grades. There are no rigid chairs, no chalk-

same gaps for his students. Fuller insisted that there was

opening page: Fuller writes with a light pen in his dassroom at ProtoTIsta. above: Fuller stands in front of a projection of a Mandelbrot set, the most complex graph yet discovered.

boards, no microscopes or lab counters.

too much disconnect between the wild complex nature out

During a Complexity 101 class, rain drizzles on the

there and the tamed pieces of nature studied in labs. He

building's steel roof. Up front, fifty-two-year-old Fuller is in

wanted it so badly he squabbled with peers over college

his element. Teaching in a kilt and stretch pants, he alter-

curricula. He refused to perpetuate what he saw as an anti-

nately stands in the middle of the room and sits on a stool

quated perspective.

in front of his computer. He never stops moving.

And he didn't want knowledge of complexity reserved

The students sit on mismatched chairs, cushy couches and

for scientists and scholars alone. He wanted to see it

a pink rug that covers the concrete floor. Tapestries and maps

woven into sixth-grade science lessons, high school

hang from the walls. Stairs lead to a blue meditation nook.

49


Fuller speaks with the precision of someone who's been

While Blanton struggles with some of the mathematical

misinterpreted too often; his cadence is steady, his words

components, she's excited about complexity and hopes it

weighed carefully.

will lead those who study it to make more careful decisions.

Backed by the meticulous work of Nobel laureates such as

IIThere's a possibility that science is no longer geared

lIya Prigogine and Murray Gell-Mann, he guides a class of

toward building these quaint little models of the world and

artists, activists, doctors, anarchists and retirees-ranging in

playing with them/' she says, IIbut, rather, actually under-

age from seventeen to seventy-through a PowerPoint lec-

standing ourselves as a part of something thafs a lot big-

"IT WAS AS IF EVERY OTHER PAGE IN MY TEXTBOOKS HAD BEEN BLANK, AND THESE IDEAS WERE FILLING IN THE BLANKS."

ture projected like a movie on the front wall.

ger than we are. II While Fuller acknowledges complexity's possibilities for

Fuller's class rules are

changing the world outside the field of science, he prefers

simple: Be comfortable.

to save discussions of its intersections with politics, spiritu-

Listen politely. Ask ques-

ality and art for after class.

tions for clarification, but

III insist on distinguishing between what is science and

save lengthy discussions

what is not/' he says. III'm a pretty hard-core science thinker. II

for the end of class at 9:00 p.m.

Eat popcorn and

plexity to laypeople. He teaches it in detail only to the

own dishes. Stay as late as

most advanced science students at the University of

11 :00 p.m., but then leave

Oregon because, he says, people tend to misinterpret con-

Fuller to his work.

cepts they don't fully understand.

He's

a

busy

man,

keeping an owl's hours to develop researched

scrupulously lectures,

essays and course materi-

IIlfs a very common mistake to take science terms and start applying them 100sely,1I he warns. Fuller, on the other hand, thinks most people can handle the concepts if they have the proper context. In the science of complexity, the context can be found

als. Midnight is his midday-he gets up around two or

not in a lab but in the planet itself. Fuller says that without

three in the afternoon and goes to sleep as late as sunrise.

that understanding, he fears humanity's disproportionate

Fuller makes no profit, living and teaching from money he inherited from a relative. He does it, he says, because he's committed to the subject matter and can't imagine doing anything else. So far, his effort has paid off-more than one hundred students have studied at ProtoTista. One of those students, seventeen-year-old Carsie Blanton, appreciates Fuller's teaching style. II He's very open to everyone's ideas and there's very little dismissal happening/' she says.

e

Yet, it is in the interest of hard-core science that Schombert says he would be reluctant to introduce com-

drink tea, but wash your

impact in the web of life will be catastrophic. There is no

is later than we think. Ifs time to move,1I he says soberly. Framed by his huge glowing lecture notes on the wall, Fuller looks powerful, but his answers are fragile. III hope that what we're doing now is laying the seeds for a peaceful and ecologically sustainable future that humans are a part of/' he continues. He wants to believe it can happen .â&#x20AC;˘

"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread Within it. Whatever we do to the web we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect." -Ohief Seattle, 1854 Ever since the scientific revoDescartes

and

network

Hundreds of respected scien-

approach to science, connecting

of

its

parts.

Ifs

a

tists-including Ilya Prigogine,

pendent

biology, anthropology, sociology,

James Lovelock, Fritjof Capra and

Another

and rocks evolved from indealgae idea

and in

fungi.

complexity,

physics, chemistry, mathematics,

Lynn Margulis-have contributed

called emergence, suggests that

geology and economics. If com-

to the field of complexity. Born

new properties surface as you examine things at different levels.

plexity becomes a mainstream

from advances of quantum theory

way of looking at the world,

and cybernetics in the mid-1900s,

For example, the atoms in a

humanity will see a lot more col-

complexity was developed more

chlorophyll molecule don't look

laboration across disciplines.

intensely in the 1970s and 80s,

green, no matter how you view

that

when scholars began to draw

Newton-the

them,

because the planet is a complex

connections between advances in

emerges when the atoms come

lution-the days of Copernicus,

Complexity

suggests

but

the

green

color

dominant Western metaphor for

web of causes and effects, the

mathematics, biology, computer

the universe has been that of a

together to form the molecule.

more angles through which we

science, physics and ecology. In

machine. In this metaphor, the

The mathematical face of com-

view

way to understand something is

equipped we will be to find com-

problems,

the

more

1984,

four

helped

Nobel

found

laureates

the

Santa

Fe

plexity includes chaos theory and fractal geometry, which graph

to break it down and study its

prehensive solutions. Looking at

Institute, an organization dedicat-

parts. This view, called mechanis-

complex

human

ed to the interdisciplinary study

Bifurcations occur when small

population

growth

patterns

in

nature.

tic reductionism, is still the ruling

through the lens of complexity,

foundation of science. And while

for example, we will examine its

Also referred to as II non linear

formations, the way that slow movements of tectonic plates

of complexity.

changes lead to dramatic trans-

geneticists share campuses with

links to economic, ecological and

dynam ica I systems theoryll or

ecologists, there is not much

political instability. The c~ncept

II network

communication between those

can also be applied to subjects

involves

theory, II many

complexity

new

scientific

lead

to

earthquakes.

These

moments happen on the edge of

disciplines. Parts of nature are

such as deforestation, disease

terms and theories. Gaia theory,

studied separately, without much

chaos-the

and fluctuations in the global

which uses geology and global

chaos and order on a mathematical graph.

analysis of the integrated whole.

border

between

economy. For example, if the

climate modeling, views the plan-

emerging

problem is a malaria-carrying

et

evolutionary

approach to science, replaces

The bottom line in complexi-

mosquito, the reductionist solu-

process. Symbiogenesis, in con-

ty: the whole is greater than the

Complexity,

50

1

HE WEB OF LIFE

time to waste. III feel compelled to help people understand that the time

â&#x20AC;˘

an

as

a

single

the machine metaphor with a

tion might be to spray DDT-it

trast with Darwin's evolutionary

web metaphor. By emphasizing

sum of its parts. Proponents of

kills the mosquito. But a complex

theory,

the interconnectedness of life at

the emerging field hope that this

approach would first ask how

species evolve from relationships

all levels, complexity asserts that

awareness may help humanity to

DDT might affect all the other

between existing species. For

the whole is greater than the sum

see more clearly in a time of eco-

things in an ecosystem.

instance, lichens living on trees

logical and social change.

proposes

that

new

51


A

sign in the parking lot of the animal shelter

instinct was kicking in: the biological clock. I couldn't

read, "Heat Kills. Don't Leave Your Pets and

believe it.

Kids in the Car." As I pulled in, a cluster of

Nor could I escape it. I began to seek out children.

children and their mother piled out the front door with

I smiled at babies. I took interest in women pushing

a brown dog. They were all beaming, including the dog.

their toddlers in strollers in the park. I studied the art

Numbly, I opened the car door and unloaded the

of caring. Even though the fuzzy feeling persisted, my

pet carrier and its problematic content. Once inside, I

fiance and I agreed we weren't ready for a real child.

stood in line until a woman called me to the counter.

That's right, my rational mind declared, not ready.

::::0

f) ~

r-

);

R 0

We decided on the next best thing: a cat. I liked

didn't lament or lecture me. She simply told me the

cats. They're clean and easy to care for. I had several

shelter was full. There was a waiting list. "We'll call

growing up, and they always liked me better than my

you," she said.

younger brother. With a cat, I could dabble in the

;::

mom thing. I bought toys, chose a spot for the litter

E

box and selected a veterinarian.

~

the- cat darted out, tail up, confident as ever. Looking disdainful, she disappeared into the yard and we resumed our hostilities.

Two

~

(5

cats, was a standout. She filled the cage with her fluff

U\

and weight, which was a funny thing for a rescued animal. She must have done well for herself on the street.

As a child, I despised dolls. As a teenager, I hated babysitting. As a corporate professional, I avoided

with her loud plaintive cries. I was charmed. I adopted

~

her right then and there and named her Maya. Maya-fat and dark with a voice like a caffeine jolt. That first night we were anxious mother and infant,

and gaga. My new euphoria occurred in the wake of a strange dream involving a newborn who required breastfeeding. My mom gleefully explained that my mothering

A

~ Âť r

Z rZ

In the private visiting room, the cat was frantic to

company picnics because so many children were

Yet there I was, days from my twenty-sixth birthday

Z

please, rubbing across my legs. She talked a blue streak

there. The responsibility for something smaller than me made my toes curl.

~

a

shelter. There, in rows of cages with skinny skittery

MONTHS EARLIER THINGS WERE DIFFERENT. BACK THEN, f

because I'd never before felt nor desired the role of

Z

In a cloud of magnanimity, I went to the animal

virtually radiated motherhood, which was peculiar mother-nor any kind of caregiver responsibility.

52

CA

When she found out I wanted to surrender my cat, she

I went home deflated. Released from the carrier,

ALESSON IN ANIMAL

a~

::::0

up all night with crying and consoling, obsessive watching and hourly feeding-which left us both ragged in the morning. Over the next few weeks, I settled into my mama role. I marveled at Maya's brassy attitude, cooed over her healthy appetite and admired her lusty voice.

lARE SCRATCHES AT ALARGER QUESTION 53


<HEAD ... <TITLE>Influx MagazinE Online</TITLE ... </HEAD' <BODY bgcolor="#OOOOOO' text="#FFFFFF' I gushed over her nightly as she slept on

on the bed, I said, "Off," and gestured.

chided, "Maya's like a child. You can't

my big down comforter, dead center.

She didn't budge. I pushed her off. She

return your child!"

But soon, my adoration turned to dis-

jumped back up. I pushed her off

But I was miserable. I hated the cat

may. My comforter grew a black coat of

again. Up she came, curling confident-

for making me miserable and for

its own, and I spent the better part of

ly at the foot of the bed. I picked her

showing me that, when the time

MYANIMOSITY SPREAD LIKE POISON.

link="#OOOOFFff~

came, I might not have what it takes to be a good mother. There lay the chilling truth: I failed

each evening stripping hair off with

up and tossed her into the living room,

at being mom when being mom was

masking tape. Then came the hairballs,

slamming the door.

relatively easy. I couldn't love her unconditionally. I felt guilty.

dark gray masses in pools of vomit-

My animosity spread like poison. I

everywhere. When I gave her hairball

chased her from resting spot to resting

When the shelter finally called, I

medicine, she writhed, hissing. When I

spot until she could only find refuge on

made the required appointment to

tried to brush her, she growled low in her

an ugly striped chair I seldom used. I

surrender Maya. I felt relieved.

throat and clawed me. For relief, I let her

tossed her outside for long periods of

outside where she accumulated a daz-

time and occasionally left her there

I

zling array of burrs and prickers, which,

overnight. I became indifferent to her

second time hefting the carrier. There

STEPPED THROUGH THE SHELTER DOOR A

was a young woman crying at the counter. She was in college, she said, waitressing to pay her way, and she couldn't afford to keep the abandoned

kittens

she'd

found.

The

staffers hugged her and gave her tissues. "This is the best place you could have brought them," they said. The young woman peeled out fifteen ones to give for a donation. Across the counter, posters on the wall read: "Dogs, Friends for Life" and "If You Move, Take Them With You" and"Abandonment is a Crime." As I waited I caught snippets of conversation: "Can you imagine leaving a cat in a garbage can? Terrible." When it was my turn, the woman at the counter ushered me through the paperwork process. I tried to be generous when it came to the questionnaire that described Maya as a pet. I marked the boxes that said "friendly" and "affectionate." I wanted her to have a better home than mine. They took the carrier through a food supply, leaving the responsibility

and, of course, big down comforters.

to my fiance. Her fur became matted

empty. The woman told me sternly

and wooly. When she came into the

that I should call to check on Maya in

Then one day she was everywhere, everywhere I wanted to be-on my

room, I hissed.

a week or so. I wanted to verify the

I decided I had to get rid of her.

shelter was no-kill, but I couldn't bring

the hallway as I tried to pass through,

I went round and round with myself,

myself to ask.

staring at me with her insolent and

trying to rationalize my decision. Maya

Then I was free to go. As I walked

imperious gaze.

needed a person with plenty of time to

out, two questions nagged at me: What

bed, in my favorite chair, sprawled in

54

door in the back and returned it

in turn, ended up on chairs, couches

A good mother would have over-

warm to her quirks: Someone like an

kind of mother ignores her child? What

looked the flaws. For me, the vestiges

unsuspecting old lady. When I carefully

kind of mother abandons her child?

of kindness disintegrated. Seeing her

laid out the argument to a friend, she

On the way home, I didn't cry.â&#x20AC;˘

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<font size=if+1' color:"black", <H1><B>The End of thE Road </H 1 > </B' <BR><I>Fifteen yean after nea rly h aIf it~ residents were murdered an Alaskan bust community struggles tc rebuild. </1> <BR~ <table border="O' cell paddi ng =" 3' cellspacing= "0' width="SOO", <P><H2> <TR> On Maret 1, 1983, Louis Hasting! .attempted to murdel McCarthy, Alaska </H2>By 2 p.m. that day six of McCarthy's dozen 01 so year-round resident~ lay¡ dead while two morE were wounded. <BR> OnE cowered outside c greenhouse, tightl) clutching her upper righl arm to stem the flow 0 blood, while stifling thE sound of her panickec breathing. <TD>The othel had been flown by c neighbor to Glennallen, ~ town one hundred mile! northwest and home of thE nearest hospital, tc receive treatment fOI gunshot wounds to hi~ face and head; </P><P><BR>The thirty' nine-year-old Hastings was headed west on the lonE road connecting McCarth) to the outside world.<BR~ He rode a snowmobilE taken from one of hi! victims. < BR> Each of thE dead had received multiplE gunshot wounds, includin~ at least one single woun( to the head, </P> <P><BR> Aftel killing McCa rthy'5 residents, Hasti ng5 planned to sabotage thE Alaska oil pipeline; </TD><TD>The plot begar to unravel, however, aftel Hastings's nea res1 neighbor survived twc shots to his head anc escaped to warn others, <BR> </P> <P>ThE previous night, Hasting5 had played a board gamE with Chris Richards ir Kennicott, a town of fOUl about five miles north oj McCarthy, <BR> </TD> </TR> <TR> <TO> < B> < FONl FACE="Helvetica ' SIZE= "2 11 COLOR="#111111"> <a href="http://influx, uoregon. edu" > < im '" src=- "maoazine. ioo" >Influ)

FLUX spring 2003  
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