Scholars Notebook January 2015

Scholars Notebook 

Reading Beyond the Ending of Native History:
The Nez Perce Allotment

(The written & visual records of Alice C. Fletcher & E. Jane Gay)


Saturday, January 17, 2015 from 1:30 to 3:30PM
Free and Open to the Public
Room 111A, Chancellor’s Complex, UCSD Campus
Free Parking in the Gilman Parking Structure

Dr. Nicole Tonkovich, Professor of Literature at UCSD, and expert on 19th century American women in literature and visual arts, will talk about the allotment of lands in severalty to the Nez Perce, and the role of Alice C. Fletcher and E. Jane Gay.        

“Although most Americans are familiar with the iconic figure of Chief Joseph, few can accurately identify his tribal affiliation. Fewer still know what happened to him and his people after he signed a cessation of hostilities agreement with General O. O. Miles in 1877. In my talk, I will outline the challenges of writing about the period that followed the Joseph War. Assuming that Natives would soon be utterly defeated, federal reformers helped design a policy designed to assimilate Indians by separating them from the land base that had defined their sovereign status. Joseph’s tribe, the Nez Perce, was among the first to be subjected to this legislation.“

“So confident was the government that this policy would not be violently resisted that they charged a middle-aged woman, Alice C. Fletcher, to oversee the surveying, division, and deeding of lands on the Nez Perce Reservation in northwestern Idaho. Her companion, the photographer E. Jane Gay, made more than 250 images of Fletcher’s work among the Nez Perce. The written and visual records they left have become a crucial means of documenting this transitional period in Native history and show--perhaps inadvertently--the powerful, if peaceful and highly effective, resistances to their work by the Nez Perce with whom they worked.”

Dr. Tonkovich has written and edited five books, including, most recently “The Allotment Plot: Alice C. Fletcher and E. Jane Gay, and Nez Perce Survivance,” which is the inspiration for her SDIS talk. Among her honors, Dr. Tonkovich received the UCSD Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award in 2013.

Illustration For January 2015 Meeting

E. Jane Gay,
“Chief Joseph with Alice C. Fletcher, Gov't Allotting Agent
when the Nez Perce Reservation was thrown open.
James Stewart kneeling.” 1890.
ISHS 3771, Idaho State Historical Society Library and Archives.
Reproduced with permission.

President’s Notes

In 1991, the Board of San Diego Independent Scholars created the Helen Hawkins Memorial Research Fund in memory of Helen Hawkins, a highly valued SDIS member with far-reaching abilities and achievements. Born in 1930, she died in 1989 after a six-year battle with cancer. Helen's life reveals a wide-range of intellectual, creative interests and accomplishments: post-high school study of choral music at Tanglewood; undergraduate study of international economics at Oxford University; bachelors degree in US history, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. 

She was co-founder and first president of the San Diego chapter of the National Organization for Women, and received the Susan B. Anthony Award. While completing her graduate work in History, PhD, UCSD, 1975, Hawkins worked as a Research Associate on the Leo Szilard Papers, prepared manuscript versions of a Szilard book, co-edited with G. Allen Greb and Gertrude Weiss Szilard. She became affiliated with the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, UCSD, with assignments such as correspondence with MIT Press regarding the Szilard manuscript.

Subsequently, Hawkins worked in the Humanities Office of KPBS Public Television, SD, late 1970s - early 1980s. In that capacity, Helen produced and appeared in over 100 programs on topics such as "rights", politics, arts, philosophy, and current affairs. Video recordings of her KPBS programs are a treasure trove, including interviews with James Burke, Christo, Herbert Marcuse, Abram Sachar, Tom Stoppard, Herbert York, Bella Abzug, Ramsey Clark, Max Lerner, Rodolfo Stavenhagen. She led discussion programs on California Rights, immigration, Press Power, Prop. 13, archeologists and land developers. Her production, "California Rights," won a San Diego Emmy Award, 1982, and a Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association. In retrospect, Helen seems like a forerunner of our current radio PBS host, Terry Gross, and a continuing inspiration to SDIS and its members.

But, in what way is this manifest? Specifically, how does Helen Hawkins affect SDIS and its members? One way is through her exemplar participation in SDIS Program Meetings, e.g., delivering a talk "Looking for Leo: Editing Leo Szilard's Papers,” January, 1988. More critically, Helen is credited with conducting the research and preparing the application for achieving not-for-profit incorporation for SDIS, beginning in 1983. 

Helen's endorsement of the goals of independent scholarship is clearly evident in her August 1982 SDIS statement in the Tenth Anniversary pamphlet: "I am interested in joining San Diego Independent Scholars because I believe it necessary to provide to each other a constructively critical support group, liaison with the academy, and to share their work with the public". Once SDIS established the Helen Hawkins Memorial Research Fund, it was sizably enhanced by generous contributions donated by her husband, William M. Hawkins, in her honor. Donations to the Fund continue to be made by SDIS members on their SDIS renewal forms and other occasions.

The Helen Hawkins Memorial Research Fund serves as a stimulus and incentive to enterprising scholars, artists, and organizational leaders. It reminds us of the excitement of discovery, the culmination of work and effort in concrete accomplishments, abstract ideas, and communicating with others. It is a way of joining 
a group of scholars and investing in the "life of the mind.”

It is appropriate that SDIS starts the grant application process for the Helen Hawkins Memorial Research Fund (HHMRF) at the beginning of the New Year. Its purpose is to provide funds to support scholarly research and creativity. SDIS members who have belonged to SDIS for a minimum of one year and who are engaged in interesting work are eligible to apply for an award. However, neither SDIS officers, nor members of the Award Committee, or full-time post-secondary teaching faculty are eligible to apply. Grant approval is based upon the merit of the proposal and the qualifications of the applicant to complete the proposal.

If you are considering the possibility of applying, please let me know and I will send you important information about eligibility and the application procedure at the start of 2015. All applications must be submitted to me by February 28, 2015. Awardees are notified by letter of the results by May 1, 2015. At the SDIS May General Meeting, the awardee provides a brief summary of the intended project, and at the next May General Meeting, following year, the awardee presents a talk that summarizes the goals, findings, and outcome of the award winning project.

Please think about this and let me know as soon as you can if you may be interested in applying. I will be glad to answer questions you may have about the application process.

Sue R. Rosner, SDIS President, 2014-2015  e-mail:

Study Groups
Times, Sites, Contacts

Colloquy Café
January 21, 2015
At the Vi
Contact: M.E. Stratthmeier

Culture One
January 28, 2015
At the Vi - Signature Room
Contact: Sue Rosner

Culture Two
January 23, 2015
At the Vi - Signature Room
Contact: Sam Gusman

Film Group
January 7, 2015
10 a.m.
At Barbara’s home
Contact: Barbara Heckler

Literature Group
January 16, 2015
At La Costa Glen
Host: Betty Cortus

Science Group
January 22, 2015
3 p.m.
At Bea’s home at the Vi
Contact: Bea Rose

Colloquy Café

Our December topic was "contrition," a difficult word to define since there are so many meanings attached to it.  Feeling sorry isn't quite the same thing as being "contrite."  In the Catholic church, one says the prayer of contrition in the confession booth, but most people don't associate religion or God with contrition but see it, instead, as a remorseful feeling for having offended someone.  Nonetheless, the seven deadly sins do not describe behavior most people see as something one should atone for.  Aside from its religious meanings, contrition, if honest, is something we feel when we genuinely feel sorry for having hurt another person.  Our January meeting will be on the 21st at 1:30 when we'll be discussing “revenge.”

Culture One

At its October 29, 2014 meeting, Culture One decided to focus its study of "Human Evolution and Development" on resources provided by CARTA (Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny). CARTA is a virtual organization established by UCSD and Salk Institute to “explore and explain the origins of the human phenomenon.” The distinctive feature of CARTA is its ability to investigate, stimulate, and communicate the interconnectedness of the components of "Human Culture". It spans the areas, methods, and intersections of multiple disciplines including genetics, anatomy, neuroscience, ecology, paleontology, anthropology, geology, developmental, social, and behavioral fields. Fortunately, most of the abstracts of CARTA talks are well written and lend themselves to small group discussions. Similarly, the live presentations at Symposia and their online videos are usually viewer friendly and conducive to shared viewing. 

Accordingly, CULTURE ONE is coordinating its study group activities -- readings, discussions, videos, and symposia -- with the recent CARTA Symposium: "Domestication and Human Evolution" (October 10, 2014). We began by reviewing the Domestication Symposium: individually reading its online abstracts during November, 2014; discussing the online abstracts and sampling the video symposia talks at our December 3, 2014 discussion meeting; and selectively reviewing individually chosen video talks at our December 10, 2014 group meeting. 

This approach resulted in our gaining a better understanding of the individual talks, their inter-relation, and the role of self-domestication in human evolution in which human self-domestication is often accompanied by impressive changes in anatomy, brain structures, selective breeding, and aggression (i.e., an unusual suite of traits not found in the natural forebears). 

Thus, we are seriously considering applying this approach to the next two CARTA Symposia:  "How Language Evolves" (February 20, 2015); and "Human-Climate Interactions and Evolution, Past and Future" (May 15, 2015) in which abstracts of the talks are initially studied individually, followed by attending and/or viewing the online videos of the talks, and concerted efforts to use the live and/or online videos to clarify the results and implications of the symposium's program.

In addition, we wish to share our work on "Domestication and Human Evolution" with former members of CULTURE ONE and others interested in our coordination of Culture One and CARTA programs. Thus, we are planning a demonstration of our work on "Domestication" in an Open Meeting, Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 2:00 - 4:00 PM. As background material, we encourage those who wish to attend this meeting to read Gibbon's summary of the Domestication symposium that appeared in Science magazine. Go to the link:

For questions on Culture One's research plans, please contact Sue R. Rosner, e-mail; for information regarding meeting arrangements, please contact Bea Rose, e-mail,

Culture Two

The Culture Two Study Group’s first meeting of the new year on Friday January 23 is a return to our schedule of “fourth Friday of the month” meetings. The background reading for the meeting is the first three chapters (Dreams, Ambition, Pride) of “India Calling ( An Intimate Portrait Of A Nation’s Remaking)” by Anand Giridharadas, who also writes the “Currents” Column for the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times Online. For further information about the Culture Two Study Group please contact Sam Gusman at

Film Group

The Film Group will meet Wednesday, January 7 at 10:00 a.m. at the home of Barbara Heckler to view the 2006 German drama Vier Minuten. Four Minutes isa  story about a piano teacher who discovers talent in a women’s prison.  Contact Barbara at for information about attending.

Literature Group

The SDIS literary group is meeting on Friday, January 16th, at La Costa Glen at 10:30 a.m.  We will be reading Peter Carey's Booker award winning, "True History of the Kelly Gang," about the legendary Ned Kelly, an Australian folk hero and outlaw. Gerry Horwitz, a regular traveler to Australia, will be leading the discussion.  Betty Cortus, who was born and raised in Australia, will be the host.  Bring your own lunch; Betty will provide dessert. Please call Betty if you need directions.

Neuroscience Group

The next meeting of the Neuroscience Study group is scheduled for Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 3 pm at the home of Bea Rose. Our assigned readings are Chapters 4 and 5 of Damasio's book, Self Comes to Mind". Visitors are welcome but it would be best to call Bea if you wish to visit.  Space is at a premium. Please note change of day from Monday to Thursday.


Breakfast Roundtable

The “Breakfast Roundtable” gathers at Coco’s monthly, on Mondays from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. for breakfast and roundtable discussion. Coco’s is located in University City at the intersection of Genesee and Nobel Drive in the Costa Verde Shopping Center.  The next meeting is on Monday, January 19th at 9:30 a.m. To make a reservation, contact Barbara Heckler at by the Saturday prior to the meeting.  Don’t hesitate to email at the last minute - we’ll make space!

Supper with Scholars

Meets on the 1st Thursday of every month at 6 pm at Humphreys La Jolla Restaurant, 3299 Holiday Court, La Jolla, CA.  The next meeting is January 8th. Meals are from the menu (see ). If you plan to attend, please RSVP at least 2 days before each date to Dave Parker at, stating whether you are coming alone or bringing friend(s).  Group discussion is based on suggested topics that have particularly interested the attendees in the last month. If possible, we select a question that can be addressed from the viewpoints of the various areas of expertise of the participants, who ordinarily represent the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and several professions. All SDIS members and persons interested in joining SDIS are welcome.

In Memoriam

Stephen Tamor, Executive Vice President of SDIS, passed away on November 26, 2014. He will be missed by his family, his associates within SDIS and his many other friends. 

Steve was born on November 29, 1925 in New York City (Bronx). After attending Salanter Yeshiva, at age 12 he entered Townsend Harris High School from which he graduated at the age of 15. Three years later, at the age of 18 he completed his undergraduate studies at City College of New York, majoring in physics. He served in the Navy toward the end of WWII and then continued his academic studies at the University of Rochester, receiving his Ph.D. in physics at the age of 23. 

This was followed by a work career at several locations: at Oak Ridge National Labs in Tennessee, then at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, then at the General Electric Research Lab near Schenectady, NY. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship to work  at the Laboratori dei Gas Ionizzati in Frascati, Italy after which his career at General Electric continued at the Space Sciences Labs in King of Prussia, PA. In 1971 he moved to La Jolla and joined a new start-up Science Applications Incorporated.

Steve met his wife, the late Jeanne Cohen Tamor, while both were students at the University of Rochester, he in physics and she in embryology. Jeanne and Steve had four children and four grandchildren. 

Their daughter Lynne has written to us about some of her parents' interests and activities. "During our years in Schenectady, both my parents were very active in the Schenectady Museum and he served on the board for several years. He also took a strong interest in his children's educations, periodically embarrassing them by spending a day observing their classes... During that same period, he and his wife were founding members of the Capital District Friends of SNCC organization, which provided support to the black students at the forefront of the civil rights movement... After his retirement, Steve enjoyed tutoring foreign students in the mathematics they needed to pursue graduate degrees in the sciences at UCSD. Later, he became an active participant in OSHER and SDIS."

It is only in his final years that SDIS became a part of Steve's life. Within SDIS we have known Steve for his engaging personality, his warmth, his friendship, his intellect, and his insightful way of listening as a prelude to asking relevant and usefully to-the-point questions. He will be sorely missed.