Alan Wallace

Alan Wallace

Nisenan Maidu, Washoe

About

This job was the first time I started something big and finished it. My boss was always inventing new tools. He was the head electrician at MGM studio in Hollywood during the time of the Wizard of Oz and San Francisco. So he had to problem solve a lot. He told me Judy Garland taught him the dance they did down the yellow brick road. And Clark Gable and Wallace Berry were his good friends. He said every Friday Clark Gable would leave a fifth of Jim Beam in his car.

I’ve been pretty resourceful so about fifteen years ago I moved back home to work on our Nisenan language. It didn’t seem like it would be that difficult since I'd done so many “career” changes. I’ve continued my art and do site monitoring and cultural surveys. Got to visit places I’ve never been and “protect” some sensitive places. It is seasonal and I build a small fund that supplements my social security. These last couple of years I’ve found things less mentally stimulating and not as many discoveries. I’m also finding it more of a challenge to hike around and sit for hours in the sun. I am going to continue with our language.

Finding something new or coming back and seeing it differently, staying fresh that’s where I like to be. The tools of color, texture, shapes, line have carried me for a long time. Adding the poetic nature of the Nisenan language and music to my toolbox has opened up new areas. I’ve already started outlining my next steps and purchasing useful equipment.

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