Monday, February 08, 2010

Diversity

Thirty-six years and three months! That's the amount of time I've spent on seven college or university campuses as a student or employee.

It appears Northern Arizona University may be the last and it's a good finish. The University has an enrollment of 23,600 students with 16,000 at the Flagstaff campus. Thirty percent of the students identify their ethnicity as something other than white. I like this! I would find it unpleasant to return to a homogenized ethnic environment. For too many years I lived in a white world with a small minority of blacks only. Other ethnic groups were rarely represented. I've experience diversity and I like it.

NAU has a department of Applied Indigenous Studies which is down the hall from Julie's office. Among the indigenous groups represented by the faculty are Yaqui, Hopi, Choctaw, Cherokee, and Navajo and others. Currently there are three resident elders who are Navajo, Hopi and Mayan.

Wall hanging of Ecuadoran calendar.
Wall hanging of Ecuadoran calendar.


Last week a gentleman in the department from Ecuador was selling wool wall hangings of symbols from an Ecuadoran calendar. Julie purchased one which contains eleven symbols of animals. I interpret the symbol in right hand column, second from the top, as two snakes. The remainder, save one, are birds, mammals and a frog. It's the orange figure, the second from the bottom in the right hand column, that I can't identify. This symbol has mystified me. Could it represent some animal?

Wall hanging.
Wall hanging in the sun room. (Larger version)


I've done a quick web search but can't find anything helpful. One afternoon I'll walk to Julie's office and ask her to introduce me to the gentleman who sold the hanging to her. He'll interpret the symbols for me and, perhaps, point me toward literature that will explain the history of the calendar.

I like being on a university campus. More accurately, I like being on a university campus with much diversity, specialized programs and knowledge of which I'm ignorant. This is as close to a religious experience as I ever encounter.

1 Comments:

Blogger THE Michael said...

You want diversity? Work in a hospital! The only race I haven't met yet is Alpha Centaurian! Not sure I'd want to take HIS temperature, though.......

2/08/2010 08:08:00 PM  

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