Monthly Archives: March 2007

Do it yourself machine shop

In case you hadn’t seen this on the other site, I urge those readers interested in recycling, appropriate technology, and self-sufficiency to take a look. Be sure to read the first comment.

old construction projects
old cars, trucks, sno-gos (snow machines) contribute petrochemicals, carcinogens, lead, cadium, antifreeze poison, etc. Let’s put this to good use, eh?

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Other examples for use in HazArt mitigation

I still don’t have access to my deep storage of projects (wouldn’t your community like its very own “overqualified” thinker?) but there are other sources of information to understand and protect one’s self and environment. I will point to these sources here.

Pottery (shaping and firing) has already been mentioned here
| Native Crafts Health Effects Project | and the comments.

There is an interesting series of photos and text about making traditional pottery in the Catawba style. The photos include one of firing and of the preparation of clay. Also included is one of scraping the dried pottery to shape it prior to firing.

dusty sanding stone sculpture

Sculpting and stone dust. Note the use of a respirator and gloves. A shower and change of clothes would be needed before leaving the worksite. This would avoid one of the occupational health classics– families of asbestos miners and workers would themselves get lung cancer because the dust off the clothing would be brought home. [for example,

“Hazardous Substances Can Contaminate Workers’ Homes and Families:
* Contamination on work clothing transferred to washing machines and dryers. Dangerous levels of hazardous materials can poisoning the person handling them and contaminate other laundry.
* contamination on tools and equipment transferred to homes and vehicles
* scrap lumber taken home from work
* workers may pass dangerous materials to their family members through contact with their hands and body
* cottage industries where work was done on home property
* family members can be exposed to dangerous materials in dust or air through visits to the workplace”

I can’t tell if eye protection is used (I hope so; but see how the Feds use PPE | Experts will test birds for signs of avian flu |) Safety glasses should be used even for scraping and sanding wet or dry clay.

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Lydia T. Black audio memorials

Both of these memorials are very interesting and nicely done.

Unalaska public radio

Lydia Black, scholar of the Aleutians, dies at 81

UNALASKA, AK (2007-03-13) One of the most renowned scholars of Unangan culture and art has passed away. […] Audio (mp3 file): Patty Lekanoff-Gregory knew Lydia Black for more than thirty years, since her first visit to Unalaska in 1974. She spoke with KIAL’s Charles Homans today about the anthropologist’s three-decade relationship with the Aleutian Islands.

Kodiak public radio
The audio news story and partial transcript. Zöe Pierson, Lydia’s daughter is interviewed.

Anthropologist Lydia Black Dies At Age 81, […] Length: 00:03:53 (mp3 file)
Casey Kelly, KMXT

and broadcast on Alaska Public Radio, evening statewide news 13 March 2007. Available as mp3 file.

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Alaskan author researcher Lydia Black

The following is reprinted with permission from the Kodiak Daily Mirror (thank you) and on-line at

Alaskan author, researcher Lydia Black dies at age 81

Article published on Monday, March 12th, 2007, By SCOTT CHRISTIANSEN, Kodiak Daily Mirror

Dr. Lydia Black, noted anthropologist and author of several books on Alaska Native culture and Alaska history, died this morning at the age of 81 at her home in Kodiak. Black was with family and friends at the time of her death. She died of liver failure and had been ill several months.

Black was well known around the state. Her daughter, Zoë Pierson, said frequent visitors from Kodiak and around Alaska had assisted the family in caring for Black during recent weeks.

“She loved people, so when visitors were in she would visit with them and talk with them if she was awake,” Pierson said this morning.

Black was born in Kiev, Ukraine, of the then-Soviet Union, and educated in Russia, Germany and the United States. She had five daughters with her husband, Igor A. Black, a thermodynamics engineer who worked for NASA contractors during the 1960s, and preceded his wife in death in 1969.

As a young widow, Black became a professor of anthropology, beginning in 1973 at Providence College in Providence, R.I. In 1984 she came to Alaska permanently and began teaching at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Throughout her career, Black traveled Southwest Alaska to research the culture and traditions of the region. She became known as the preeminent scholar of the Unangam (Aleut) of the Aleutian Islands and the Sugpiaq (Alutiiq) of the Kodiak Archipelago.

Fluent in Slavonic and Russian, Black translated many firsthand accounts of Native cultures written during the Russian colonial period.

In her writings, Black was known for emphasizing artistic and cultural accomplishments, rather than social ills of Alaska Native cultures.

“They know they have problems. My job is to remind them of their glory,” is what Black reportedly said of her work.

Family members and colleagues said Black was unapologetic for describing Alaska Native history from that perspective.

“That was the way she felt and she would tell you so if it came up,” Pierson said.

Black retired from UAF in 1998, and continued her work in Kodiak, where she helped translate and catalogue Russian archives of St. Herman’s Seminary. The Orthodox Church in Alaska recognized her contribution by awarding her the Cross of St. Herman.

Black continued to write and edit. Some of her most accessible work was published following her retirement.

One of her best-known books, “Aleut art — Unangam aguqaadangin” is a collection of beautifully photographed and carefully documented art made by Natives of the Aleutian Islands. Another, “Russians in Alaska, 1732 to 1867,” was published in 2004, the year Black turned 79.

Black was also known for continuing correspondence and cultivating friendships with many of her students, even after their professional careers began and after she had retired from teaching.

Katherine Arndt, a close friend and colleague who works in the archives at the Elmer E. Rasmuson Library at UAF, had a professional relationship with Black that blossomed into a friendship. Arndt said her own doctorate in Anthropology is the result of returning to studies at Black’s urging.

“If you know her at all, you would know that once you are her student, you would remain her student for life,” Arndt said.

In 2001, the Soviet successor state, now called the Russian Federation, awarded Black the Order of Friendship in recognition of her work documenting the Russian America colonial period.

As with her work involving Alaska Native culture, Black’s writing about Russian colonists in Alaska often confronted commonly held misconceptions head-on, and was meant to be accessible by the layperson.

“She wanted the general public to know that the Russians weren’t brutal, cruel and drunk all of the time,” Arndt said.

Pierson said that during her mother’s final days, Black was able to visit with many of the people who came to care for and visit with her.

Black remained a teacher, even while gravely ill.

“She was a born teacher, so anyone who asked for information, they would get that and more.”

A funeral service for Black is noon on Saturday, March 17, at St. Paul Lutheran Church, with a burial to follow at City Cemetery. A reception is scheduled for 4 p.m., March 17, at the Kodiak Senior Center.

Mirror writer Scott Christiansen can be reached via e-mail at schristiansen AT kodiakdailymirror DOT com.

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Dr Lydia Black documents

Additional information about | Lydia T. Black 1925 to 2007 |

  • Obituary
  • | Prof Black obituary | (right click to save as MS Word document download)

  • Memorial booklet
  • | In Memoriam, Lydia T. Black | (pdf file, 480kB, right click to download and save)

  • Alaskan author, researcher Lydia Black dies at age 81
  • Article published on Monday, March 12th, 2007, By SCOTT CHRISTIANSEN, Kodiak Daily Mirror

    the E-mail address below is an unlimited sized mailbox for non-urgent communication with the family. Public comments may also be left at the earlier post.
    Family email (non-urgent email)

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