CWUAnthropology NewsAnthropology News slave mother's love in 56 carefully stitched words, 23 Dec 2016 17:11:58<p>For about $300, a 9-year-old girl named Ashley was sold as a slave.</p><p>Her mother, Rose, remained a "house servant" at a mansion in South Carolina</p><p>Full story and audio interview at:</p><p><a href="http://">http://</a></p>A Stitch n Time: CWU Professor Tracks History of Embroidered Seed Sack to People Held in Slavery on South Carolina Plantation, 15 Dec 2016 06:16:37<p>She bought the unbleached cotton sack at a flea market in a small Tennessee town in February 2007, another find among many. But the words stitched by hand on one side of the carefully patched fabric haunted her.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>My great grandmother Rose</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>mother of Ashley gave her this sack when</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>she was sold at age 9 in South Carolina</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>it held a tattered dress 3 handfulls [sic] of</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>pecans a braid of Roses hair. Told her</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>It be filled with my Love always</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>she never saw her again</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Ashley is my grandmother</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Ruth Middleton</em></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>1921</em></p><p>She saw a mother quickly gathering what little she could for the daughter she would lose forever, and the anguish of a daughter facing a life without her mother. She dreamed about Ashley and cried as their separation played over and over in her mind.</p><p><img alt="Professor Mark Auslander" src="/anthropology/sites/" style="width: 500px; height: 333px; margin-top: 2px; margin-bottom: 2px;"></p><p>The white woman who bought the sack for $20 in the town of Springfield decided she could not keep it. It didn’t feel right, owning something imbued with so much emotion.</p><p>After Googling “slaves” and “Middleton,” she found Middleton Place, an 18th century plantation on the Ashley River in South Carolina. She donated it to the historic site, and the provenance of this artifact, known as “Ashley’s Sack,” had mystified historians ever since.</p><p>In September, Ashley’s Sack was loaned to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened that month in Washington, D.C. And with its latest home come the stories of women named Rose, Ashley and Ruth Middleton after a year of research by <strong>Mark Auslander, a professor at Central Washington University</strong>.</p><p>Read the full article in the <a href="">Yakima Herald Republic</a>.</p></p style="text-align: center;"></p style="text-align: center;"></p style="text-align: center;"></p style="text-align: center;"></p style="text-align: center;"></p style="text-align: center;"></p style="text-align: center;"></p style="text-align: center;"></p style="text-align: center;"></p style="text-align: center;">Story Behind Smithsonian “Ashley’s Sack" Uncovered by CWU Professor, 07 Dec 2016 15:07:11<p>For almost a decade, a slavery-era artifact known as “Ashley’s Sack” has intrigued historians unable to identify Ashley—the girl’s name preserved in needlework. The Smithsonian, where the sack is on display, may now attribute the recent discovery of Ashley’s identity to Central Washington University Professor Mark Auslander.</p><p>Auslander, who teaches in the <a href="">department of Anthropology and Museum Studies</a> and is director for the <a href="">Museum of Culture and Environment</a> spent the last year researching the lineage of the three women whose names were needle worked into the cloth. Research led him to North Carolina and Philadelphia where he searched slave, court and estate records, as well as early bank and census data.</p><p><a href="/anthropology/sites/"><img alt="Ashley's Sack" src="/anthropology/sites/" style="width: 243px; height: 300px; margin: 2px; float: left;"></a>“The object has become a kind of obsession for me during this past year,” said Auslander.</p><p>His findings were recently published in the article <em>“<a href="">Slavery’s Traces: In Search of Ashley’s Sack</a>,”</em> in the noted academic journal Southern Spaces.</p><p>Ashley’s Sack, on loan from Middleton Place in South Carolina, is currently on exhibit in the newly opened <a href="">Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture</a> in Washington, DC.</p><p>The original object was found in 2007 at a flea market in the small town of Springfield, Tennessee. Little was known of its history, but it gained great attention by historians and academics. Even less was known about the females listed on the sack.</p><p>Ruth Middleton created the embroidered sack in 1921. In needlepoint lettering, Middleton presented an account of her family's legacy. She traced the story of nine-year-old Ashley, who was born a slave, being sold to another owner, and how Ashley's mother, Rose, provided her with simple yet meaningful family keepsakes. Ashley was Ruth's grandmother.</p><p>Since its rediscovery, the sack is now considered a lasting legacy of slavery and the resilience of families to keep connected.<a href="/anthropology/sites/"><img alt="Timeline" src="/anthropology/sites/" style="width: 233px; height: 300px; margin: 2px; float: right;"></a></p><p>Auslander mentioned that there are very few objects that were passed along through the generations from slaves to free slaves. Often family histories were maintained through oral storytelling, but in this case, Middleton transferred her family’s story into writing.</p><p>Auslander recognized that hundreds of thousands of children were torn apart from their mothers in slavery. Yet, each mother and child had their own unique story.</p><p>“I felt a moral sense to honor this specific story,” he said.</p><p>Auslander uncovered the potential identities of all four generations of women spanning the full 150-year history of the sack.</p><p>His work with slavery and the importance of inherited objects has extended beyond that of Ashley's Sack. In 2011, Auslander published a historical book <em>“<a href="">The Accidental Slaveowner: Revisiting a Myth of Race and Finding an American Family</a>.”</em> He has also published <em>“<a href="">Enslaved Labor and Building the Smithsonian: Reading the Stones</a>,”</em> on the role of enslaved persons in the construction of the original Smithsonian building.</p><p>Auslander is currently preparing for an upcoming exhibit “The Things We Carry: Objects in Motion.” This exhibit will feature stories about journeys—from people living in Kittitas County— told through the medium of physical items such as beloved articles of clothing, a family photograph, keepsake, or heirloom.</p><p>The CWU Museum of Culture and Environment will display these stories and objects from January 10-March 11, 2017.</p><p><em>Photo credit:&nbsp; <a href="">Ashley's Sack</a>, Charleston, South Carolina, 2016. Photograph courtesy of the Middleton Place Foundation.</em></p><p><strong>Media contact:</strong> Dawn Alford, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1484, <a href=""></a>.</p><p>December 6, 2016</p></a href="">CWU Professor Comments in NYT's "Symbols, Swastikas and Student Sensibilities", 06 Aug 2015 07:43:14<p><img alt="" src="/anthropology/sites/" style="width: 200px; height: 200px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: right;">Symbols—their meaning, history and power to hurt—have been a volatile topic across the country this summer, and college campuses have not escaped the storm.</p><p>Mark Auslander, professor of anthropology at Central Washington University and author of The Accidental Slave-owner, sees the iconography as a springboard for “critically examining history.” Virtually every venerable university has links to the slave trade, he says, so “there’s no way you can purify that history and deny it.”</p><p>Read more of the story in the <a href="">New York Times</a>.</p>Vandalism or Protest? CWU Professor Comments, 08 Jul 2015 08:09:01<p><img alt="" src="/anthropology/sites/" style="width: 200px; height: 200px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: right;">When someone spray painted "KKK," "Black Lives Matter" and "Murderer" on the base of a statue of a Confederate soldier at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, people took to social media to discuss the incident. Many--including those who want the statue removed--criticized the tactic, calling it vandalism. Some comments were quite critical of whoever wrote those things, with many comments assuming they were students . . . .</p><p>Mark Auslander, associate professor of anthropology and museum studies at Central Washington University, who has written extensively about ties between American colleges and the institution of slavery, said that many colleges have not addressed their own histories in this regard and should expect more "historical guerrilla warfare" as a result.</p><p>Read the rest of Scott Jaschik's story in <a href="">Inside Higher Ed</a>.</p><p>In addition, Auslander has been invited to give a <a href="">TedX Salon</a> talk about racial justice and historical reenactment in the TED Talk Tuesdays series on Tuesday, July 14, at 7:00 p.m., at the <a href="">Yakima Valley Museum</a>, 2105 Tieton Dr. in Yakima. The event is limited to 100 attendees; tickets may be purchased at the door for $5.&nbsp;</p>C. Farrell Fine Arts and Research Scholarship, 24 Oct 2014 11:27:51<p>This scholarship is available to Sophomore, Junior, and Senior students at Central Washington University who are pursuing a fine arts project in Art, Music, Theater, or Creative Writing, or who are pursuing a research project pertaining to the History, Geology, Archeology of Kittitas Valley. This scholarship provides one year of in-state tuition, $200 book allowance, and project costs. Please see their website for more information.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">C. Farrell Fine Arts and Research Scholarship</a></p><p>This scholarship is not distributed by the Department of English.&nbsp; Please see the website for deadlines, requirements, and eligibility.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="Archaeology Scholarship poster, follow link for details" src="/anthropology/sites/" style="width: 500px; height: 500px;"></a></p>CWU Senior Offers Genealogy Tips During Internship, 14 Oct 2014 17:08:51<p><img alt="" src="/anthropology/sites/" style="width: 475px; height: 277px; margin: 5px;"></p><p>Virginia Kuehl began her genealogy session with a single clue: the first and last name of her late grandmother, Anna Erwin.</p><p>“She didn’t have a middle name,” Kuehl said. “That always bothered me.”</p><p>Kuehl knew her grandmother was born in England. She knew she arrived in the United States at Philadelphia. She knew she married a McKenzie.</p><p>With the help of Pam Stephenson, a CWU senior majoring in anthropology and minoring in history and museum studies, Kuehl dug up more details. In no time, the pair found a marriage license recorded in Linn County, Missouri in 1906 when Anna Erwin became Mrs. Claude G. McKenzie.</p><p>“Oh, how exciting!” Kuehl said, thanking Stephenson for the impromptu lesson.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.4;">As part of her internship at the Ellensburg Public Library, Stephenson is helping community members with family history research 10:00 a.m.-noon on Fridays and 1:00-2:00 p.m. on Sundays through November 21. Folks are encouraged to drop in for help getting started, for help locating traditional and Internet-based resources, and to get answers to genealogy research questions.</span></p><p>Stephenson’s interest in genealogy was sparked early in life. “My grandma, when I was little, used to tell me stories about my family history, especially about my great- great-grandma Leah, who was raised in New York City and came out West,” Stephenson said. “The first time she saw a cow she literally fell over backwards.”</p><p>Through her own research, Stephenson found that Leah was one of 13 children. Her first husband died, and she divorced her second husband—who was 30 years her senior—over financial difficulties.</p><p>“That’s the thing I love about this, taking names and dates and turning them into people,” Stephenson said.</p><p>Another ancestor, her great- great-grandfather Isaac from Lincolnshire, England, was said to have spent quite a bit of time in and out of jail. Stephenson discovered that Isaac actually killed a man in an Old-West style shootout in a Wisconsin saloon shortly after coming to the United States.</p><p>Once she starts digging into the past, it can get addictive, Stephenson said. And sometimes she discovers so much about a person of a bygone era, it feels like she knows them.</p><p>“It’s taking people who’ve been gone a long time and giving them life,” Stephenson said.</p><p>She has researched her family back to the early 1600s, and connected her ancestors to published genealogies that go back to the Early Middle Ages. Stephenson is especially interested in 19th and early 20th century England (specifically the East Midlands region), Internet genealogy, 19th century US genealogy, newspaper research, and black sheep ancestors.</p><p><em>PHOTO: Virginia Kuehl gets a genealogy lesson from Pam Stephenson, a CWU student interning at the Ellensburg Public Library, on October 10, 2014. (Barb Arnott/CWU)</em></p><p><strong>Media contact:</strong> Barb Arnott, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-2841,</p><p>October 14, 2014</p></span style="line-height: 1.4;">CWU Grad Picked for Smithsonian Museum Internship, 26 Jun 2014 11:47:55<p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Hanna Person" src="/anthropology/sites/" style="width: 440px; height: 293px; margin: 5px;"></p><p>Hanna Person, who graduated this month from Central Washington University with a degree in anthropology, is headed to Washington, DC for a paid summer internship at the <a href="" target="_blank">Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of Natural History</a>.</p><p>Person, who’s always been a natural history buff, chose CWU because of its anthropology program and museum studies minor and because she wanted to attend a small school. In addition to her classes, Person participated in a five-day field course at Mount Rainier and assisted in multiple exhibit installations at CWU’s <a href="" target="_blank">Museum of Culture and Environment</a>. She says the experiences helped her land the Smithsonian internship, as did the great recommendation from Mark Auslander, professor of anthropology and museum studies and director of the CWU museum.</p><p>“She's extremely hard working, very creative, and takes a good deal of initiative,” Auslander said about Person. When he learned the Smithsonian might be looking for an intern to help organize its Rastafarian collection, he didn’t hesitate to recommend Person to Jake Homiak, director of the collections and archives program at the Museum of Natural History.</p><p>“Internships like this at the Smithsonian are extremely competitive, but my museum studies colleagues and I had no doubt that Hanna would be a very strong candidate,” Auslander said. “We are just thrilled for Hanna.”</p><p>Person will help register and accession the museum's collection of global Rastafarian material culture, working under Homiak, a noted scholar of Afro-Caribbean religions.</p><p><strong>'A quiet adventure'</strong></p><p>“I realize that, for most people, being in the back room and handling the objects is pretty boring. But for me it’s interesting,” Person said. “It’s a little mystery. You’re learning about the object, you’re handling it; it’s like a treasure hunt. A quiet adventure.”</p><p>Person was an intern at CWU’s Museum of Culture and Environment under collections manager Lynn Bethke, who said Person’s work and the work of other interns is vital to the operation of the museum.</p><p>“Hanna is a great student—always ready to take on new challenges, but also detail oriented; great attributes for anyone interested in museums,” Bethke said.</p><p>Person helped in multiple CWU exhibit installations, “writing text, mounting panels, installing objects, and doing all of the many little things that go into making an exhibit come to life,” Bethke said. “She also did a great deal of work processing a collection of baskets from the Philippines which was donated to us in 2012.”</p><p>The Museum of Natural History is right on the National Mall in the heart of the capital. Person hopes to visit as many museums as she can during her six-week stay in Washington, DC, and expects the experience to give her a better feel for museum collection and help her decide what sort of graduate studies she wants to take part in.</p><p>Person is a 2012 graduate of La Center High School and, thanks to Running Start, finished her four-year degree at CWU in just two years.</p><p><em><strong>PHOTO: </strong>Recent CWU graduate Hanna Person is pictured in the past exhibit "Where there's Smoke ... Living with Fire," at the Museum of Culture and Environment. T<em>he exhibit borrowed g</em>ear worn by wilderness firefighters <em>from the state Department of Natural Resources</em>. Person says her experience working at the CWU museum helped her land a paid internship at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC this summer.</em></p><p><strong>Media contact: </strong>Barb Arnott, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-2841, <a href=""></a></p><p>June 25, 2014</p></p style="text-align: center;"></a href="">CWU Primate Behavior Program Signs MOU with Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, 03 Feb 2014 10:19:32<p><img alt="" src="/anthropology/sites/" style="width: 480px; height: 320px;"></p><p>Central Washington University’s Primate Behavior and Ecology (PBE) academic programs are thriving despite the relocation of chimpanzees Tatu and Loulis to a sanctuary in Montreal. CWU and <a href="">Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest (CSNW)</a>, in Cle Elum, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that allows CWU students to receive credits while being trained at their facility, which is home to seven chimpanzees. There will be no cost to CWU.</p><p>“We’re really tickled,” said Lori Sheeran, PBE director and anthropology professor. “When we knew that the CHCI [Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute] chimpanzees were leaving, we began talking to the people at CSNW about letting our students become involved.”</p><p>The university and sanctuary already have close ties. Co-director John Mulcahy and several staff members are CWU graduates, and trained at CHCI, so there is considerable overlap in ideologies and methodologies. Diana Goodrich, the other director, was the executive assistant at Fauna Foundation, the sanctuary where the CWU chimpanzees now reside. CSNW is only about 30 miles from the CWU’s Ellensburg campus, making it an easy commute for students.</p><p>The MOU allows the primate behavior program to offer another venue for training in animal caregiving and environmental enrichment. Sheeran notes that students in the primate behavior program have many opportunities to work with nonhuman primates, adding “CHCI was one resource, among many.”</p><p>“This training is vital to our students’ abilities to compete for jobs in zoos, sanctuaries, and to prepare for fieldwork,” said Sheeran. “The MOU allows our undergraduate and graduate students to learn safe and humane caregiving practices while earning course credits.</p><p>“Our students are noted worldwide for their abilities to work with chimpanzees, who are sensitive, intelligent, and challenging creatures,” she continued. “The experience of working around nonhuman primates, plus the program coursework, gives them an undeniable edge.”</p><p>In addition, PBE students can conduct research and complete internships at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, the Molecular Anthropology Lab at CWU, or study abroad at the Mt. Huangshan, China macaque sanctuary. Sheeran also recently developed a research agreement with a gibbon conservation center in southern California that will provide several internships annually. Students also can continue to study chimpanzee sign language and communication at CWU using archival data.</p><p>For more information about PBE go to</p><p>CSNW was founded in 2003 to provide sanctuary for chimpanzees discarded from the entertainment and biomedical testing industries. It is located on a 26-acre farm in the Cascade Mountains, 90 miles east of Seattle. It is one of only a handful of sanctuaries in the United States that cares for chimpanzees. For more information about CSNW, go to</p><p>All photos are courtesy of the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest.</p><p>Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,<br>&nbsp;</p></br>Fire and Its Impact on the Pacific Northwest Discussed at MCE, 05 Nov 2013 10:22:47<p>Thunderstorms, dry summers, and Native American land management have affected the frequency of fire and its effect on the area we live in, according to Megan Walsh, Central Washington University geography professor. Walsh will present “Climatic and Human Influences on the Fire History of the Pacific Northwest,” at 5:30 p.m., November 7 in Dean Hall at the Museum of Culture and Environment at CWU.</p><p>This event is free and open to the public and is held in conjunction with MCE’s new exhibit, Where There’s Smoke . . . Living with Fire. For more information go to</p><p>Parking at CWU is free after 4:30 p.m. and on weekends, excepted in specially designated spaces (handicapped, loading) or lots assigned to residence halls.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Media Contact: Elizabeth Bollwerk, Museum of Culture and Environment, 509-963-2313,</p>