A Day of the DEAD

Happy Halloween –

its said to be one of the oldest pagan festivals still celebrated today – started by the Celts of Ireland (they called it “Samhain” [end of summer] and believed dead spirits would revisit the mortal world.)


Older still may be the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) said to be routed in the Aztec tradition of honoring deceased relatives.  The colonizing Spaniards tried to de-paganize the ritual by moving it to All Saints and All Souls Day.


the idea of remember our ancestors, of attending to their grave sites, of dancing and celebrating their lives, of knowing we r not alone – is pretty appealing.  So today as i visited with pals with a roaring fire in the hearth and pondered where is George Veditz buried and as i watched the snow fall down on the trick or treaters and tried to get our pooch to stop barking with each little jazzed up commercially manufactured costume wearing tyke along with the classic teenager (ie Hobo – soot smeared on his/her face) and a overburdened pillowcase filled with their Hallow Eve’s loot slung over their shoulders and a bit of hail began to fall – i thought of:

Chief Seattle’s famous speech

And when the last Red Man shall have perished, and the memory of my tribe shall have become a myth among the White Men, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe, and when your children’s children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway, or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone. In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. At night when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled them and still love this beautiful land. The White Man will never be alone.

Let him be just and deal kindly with my people, for the dead are not powerless. Dead, did I say? There is no death, only a change of worlds.

And i thought – What Deaf Ancestors would i like to give a shout out for on this Day of the Dead?

Please add names ud like to remember:

Alice Cogswellthe girl who inspired Thomas Gallaudet to sail the ocean blue and bring back Laurent Clerc and sign language.  Alice died at 25 from a broken heart / depression after her father’s sudden death.

Without alice – who knows how or when Deaf ASL-English education would have begun in the U.S.

(statue by Frances Laughlin Wadsworth – Hartford, CT)

George Veditz– yep, i adore the guy.  He had dedication, intellect, com/passion, vision, forth-sight, etc.  Over the past few years the more i learn about him the more i want to know more.  Like where is he buried?  Does anyone visit?  Does anyone lay a stone at his grave site in the Jewish tradition?  Or is it abandoned and uncared for as Laurent Clerc’s was until Al B. started a fund raiser to restore the grave site.

NOTE: see comments below for info on Veditz’s grave site and see https://handeyes.wordpress.com/2011/03/11/dorothy-wilkins-visit-to-veditzs-gravesite/ for Dorothy’s vlog with the actual tombstone etc

Agatha Tiegel Hanson – one of the first Deaf women to graduate from Gallaudet who gave a kick butt presentation speech on the “Intellect of Woman” – she spoke of a noble hunger which women had for equality, justice, knowledge, etc.

John Clarke a Blackfoot Deaf Native American artist who did wood carvings mostly of animals and Native Americans.  His Blackfeet name was Cutapius, the Man Who Talks Not)  He attended an Indian school and several schools for the Deaf.  He knew Plains Indians Sign Language.

Andrew Foster – First African-American to gradduate from Gallaudet and he went on to set up over 30 schools for the Deaf in West Africa. He tragically died in a plane crash in Rwanda at 62.

There are many more – many more that I have yet to learn about and many I need to learn more about.  We are always rediscovering, representing, reexamining, and renewing.

Who would you like us to remember and why?

Who are our ancestors who shall not be forgotten?

We got time – Day of the Dead and All Saints Night / All Souls Day goes into Nov

Doesn’t need to be anybody famous or big – plenty of unsung heros out there.

NOTE: after i clicked publish on this entry – i googled We Never Landed in Holland – a blog by Mel Orr – a Hearing mom of a Deaf son and Hearing daughter and I read her Halloween entry –

http://theotherdeafstory.blogspot.com/2010/10/my-favorite-worst-day-of-year.html.  Tears streamed down – they are still.  We are never alone folks.



NOTE: when i originally did this post i had wrongfully appropriated the Day of the Dead by changing the name and entitling this post the Day of the Deaf. Deepest apologies for that disrespect.


9 thoughts on “A Day of the DEAD

  1. heye Karen –
    Clarke school for the Deaf (now named Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech – yep the word Deaf is still dirty) was founded by Gardiner Green Hubbard for his Deaf daughter – Mabel. (Yep, AG Bell’s pupil and future wife. ) John Clarke (as in Clarke school) was a philanthropist, who helped with the founding of the school.

    The John Clarke in the blog entry (Deaf Blackfeet artist) if he had been sent to The Clarke school probably would have gotten all the kids to be signing ASL and PISL on the sly seeing how his Blackfoot name was he Man Who Talks Not ; )

    and then what – maybe the would grow up to be a successful artists, teachers, architects, advocates, educators, etc – who knows



  2. ya hoo

    Henry Sanders via fb has answered me cry – where oh where is George Veditz buried?

    Here’s where he’s buried at:
    Evergreen Cemetery is at 1005 S. Hancock Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80903
    VEDITZ, GEORGE WILLIAM Born: 1861 Died: 15 MAR 1937 -236 (Burial lot number) – (Bur w/Mary Elizabeth – His wife)
    They both do not bear any children.

    Biggest thanks Henry
    I am to get me butt out to col o rodoe and pay that man and mary some mighty respects!

    thanks again – me so happy!



  3. de nada

    happens to me all the time – i think that person is this person or their is a connection that aint etc

    i would LOVE to know more about John Clarke the name up above. I did call via relay his adult adopted daughter once many moons ago – when i called her for more info on her dad for our Deaf artists website – she thought i was a telemarketer and had no idea what i meant about a website etc – she didnt use a computer etc. it was really interested and u could tell she just loved her dad and his work. very sweet. they have (had?) a museum of his work and about him – Montana? me think – will have to check me files

    dang the west be calling me eh. wish i had a grant and a year off just to travel and go discovering our roots



  4. just googled john clarke re: the museum to see if right state and still opened – got this link:

    the web entry is not dated nor is the pdf article at the bottom but im gonna hope the museum is still open- its in East Glacier, Montana – John L. Clarke Museum and Western Art gallery

    it was/is run by Joyce Turvey-Clarke (John’s adopted daughter).

    if anyone learns that it is still running – let me know. If anyone is in the area – stop by and do a little video interview. Even if Joyce doesnt sign (i suspect she does or did) get it recorded and we will caption it etc.

    Making the invisible visible – building that mountain we be

    there is a bit more about John Clarke in the Deaf Heritage book by Jack Gannon


    i believe Melanie McKay-Cody who has been researching Plains Indian Sign Language told me she has some video / film of John Clarke using PISL


  5. ASLella’s vlog in youtube reminded me that today is the anniversary of Dr. Larry Fleischer’s passing

    You are missed Larry

    (vlog with Larry and Veditz)



  6. Hi
    I am the person who developed the website about John L. Clarke.

    His daughter still runs the gallery in East Glacier Park Montana. Joyce is a great lady and would love to be interviewed. She is very proud of her father and his heritage and would have a lot of great information.

    Joyce told me that her dad taught her a little Plains Indian Sign Language but I have no idea if she remembers any. If you have a chance, visit her and Glacier Park – it is an incredible place.

    In the next couple of weeks I plan to attach another PDF file to the web site. It includes a lot more information about John’s family and his carving.


  7. Hi Loren

    thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a message

    Let me know when ur pdf is up and ill make note of it in this entry

    re: Joyce – i had called her several years ago to get permission to have materials up about her dad in the Deaf artists website – so glad to learn she is doing well. I truly do hope someone will interview her. I don’t have any plans to be out at Glacier Park anytime soon but perhaps this summer could aim for it.

    Thanks again for the info and all u are doing to preserve and share John Clarke’s legascy


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