March happens to be women in history month. As fortune would have it, our local community requested a grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust for a Western Heritage Gathering in our little town of Moro, population, 300, to celebrate women in history and our local heritage.
National Book Award nominee (and WWW member) Molly Gloss will present a program about the characterization of women through history in literature. A woman who helps run the Imperial Stock Ranch, one of the oldest ranches in the Northwest, will talk about how they've diversified through the years and gone "green" and how she designs sheepskin clothing for high end markets, among other things, as ways to stay on the land. Another woman will talk about researching historical sites and I think she's coming in character; and another, a county commissioner, wrote a book about the place names of our region and why that has fascinated her so. I'm going to talk about the four versions of a Woman's West that WWW had a glimpse of in Denver in 2001. That presentation of four women of color and their artwork presenting their view of the west affected me a great deal and I've gotten permission from the curator of that collection (now housed in the Autry Museum in LA) to show the slides and talk about them. We'll tour the local (and award-winning museum) and have a genuine B-B-Que lunch and it's all for $20. We aren't planning to make money but will be able to cover costs for travel and small honoraria for the women presenters which I always think is great.
I share this because it isn't too late to think about a little presentation in your own town, maybe at the library or at a civic club. Every one of us has something we could offer about women in history and the various roles women have played and continue to play. Gather up another WWW member (or go it alone!) but it would be a gift you could give to your community and yourself.
And if you happen to be in Moro, Or on March 24th, you all come! Jane
Jane Kirkpatrick, www.jkbooks.com
Award-winning author of 12 novels and two non-fiction books. A Clearing in the Wild, Book One of the Change and Cherish Series (WaterBrook Press/Random House) is available now!
Stories are the sparks that light our ancestors' lives, the embers we blow on to illuminate our own.