Pic’ Ax ‘n’ Whisk Broom evolved from traveling the subways of New York City (nyc) while reading the works of the New England poet Charles Olson (1900-70), "Father of 'the Beats.'"  Olson considered himself an “archeologist of mourning,” and this thought evoked within me an image of my own grandmother, Helen Bishop Shafer Munger, using such tools as a “pick ax and whisk broom” when practicing the discipline as an amateur sometime in the early 20th Century.  Applying this portraiture to the nyc Metro Underground -- considered by some to be that City’s true purgatory -- caught my fancy, and the moniker has remained with me ever since.


Writer/researcher richard chilton, whose ancestral Indo-European heritage is Dutch/German/English, is a first generation Californian who spent his early formative years during the 1950’s in the suburbs of metropolitan Los Angeles.  During high school he resided 200 miles north, on a ranch just outside a tiny village hamlet nestled in a valley along the eastern coastal range, among ancestral Chumash lands.  In this manner chilton’s life was fashioned to live equally in urban and rural settings, and to connect mystically with the earth and times of this and other ages as a poet, musician, historian, educator and philosopher.

chilton’s biological father, whom he never knew, was born in Ohio, and served it is believed as a Staff Sergeant in the Chinese theatre during World War II; his stepfather, Fredrick Roy Chilton, born in Great Britain, became a naturalized citizen and served during the War as an orchestra leader in the Army Air Corps, playing the trombone and other instruments.  chilton was to be deeply influenced by the kind, compassionate humanity of this man.  His mother, who is still living, was reared in a small, lumber town in Washington State, along the Columbia River.  A complex, ambitious woman, she was later to become a pioneer in post-War business interests, eventually becoming the first woman elected to the Presidency of a state Chamber of Commerce (California) in 1981; she also held throughout her career a number of state and Federal political appointments in international finance during several Republican Administrations.

The middle of three sons, chilton chose a different path, starting creatively in theatre and music in the early 1960’s, becoming a professional folk singer during that decade’s late turbulence through the 1970’s. He attended several schools, including community colleges and brief terms at both Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. 

chilton became interested in social issues as an outgrowth of his pacifism.  He worked unceasingly on behalf of anti-war, environment, mental health and homeless concerns wherever he lived, leading him to a keen understanding of interdisciplinary approaches to cross-cultural issues, especially among economically and politically oppressed peoples. 

As an young man chilton lived in northern California, the District of Columbia, and nyc, spending over a dozen years in “the Big Apple” while working contractually in a variety of roles and freelance positions, primarily as a community organizer.  He has composed promotional and explanatory copy for scores of advocate campaigns, compiled dozens of reports, and ghost-written hundreds of varied material included in major articles, monographs, newsletters and fund-raising campaigns throughout the Northeast and elsewhere, as well as occasionally publishing his own comparative research, essays, commentary, and poems. 

A university-trained, independent scholar and conceptual thinker, chilton has a generation and a half of experience in practical applications of the dynamics of cross-cultural human relations, working interdisciplinary in the socioeconomic, political and cultural fields, more specifically in mental health, housing, public relations and media, war/peace concerns, literature and visual art. 

In the mid-1980’s chilton moved to the high prairie of the interior Continent, coming to the mid-Missouri River Indian Reservations in the early 1990’s, where he now resides among the sovereign people of the Umonhon Nation of Nebraska and Iowa.  He is a co-partner in Black Prairie Dog Woman Studios.

Selected works and presentations include:

v The SDI – Strategic Defense Initiative – A Conceptual Approach, presented at Chelsea Against Nuclear Destruction, United (CANDU)’s 3rd Community Forum, Chelsea, New York City, March, 1984.

v The Feathering of Pedagogy, presented at the 6th Annual Conference of the Nebraska Indian Education Association, Chadron, Nebraska, April, 1994

v From Hand Games to Casinos (compulsive gambling research), compiled expressly for the sovereign Umonhon Nation (1995)

v Cook, Thurman, (Umonhon); Coffey, Margery; Yansan-Wetmore, Michael; and chilton, richard, Umonhon Iye te ede’no nya? [How Do You Say in Omaha?], a Workbook/Dictionary for an endangered Indigenous language  (1997)

v chilton, richard; Lavelle, Ellen; Mitchell, Rudi (Umonhon); and Rattey, Dee Dee, Preliminary Study of Gambling Attitudes and Behaviors Among Local Adolescents and Young Adults of the Umo nhon Nation, compiled expressly for the 11th Annual Conference on Problem Gambling, New Orleans, Louisiana, August, 1997

v Fission is to Physics as the Microchip is to Critical Thought, a workshop on epistemology presented at the 18th Annual Siouan and Caddoan Linguistics Conference, University of Indiana, Bloomington, Indiana, May, 1998 

v chilton, richard; Harper, Willie; and Mitchell, Rudi; Indigenous Approaches to Compulsive Gambling, presented at the "Gaming:  Winners or Losers?" Conference held at the University of Nebraska--Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska, April, 1999

v Indigenous Child-Rearing Practice and 21st Century Family Therapy:  Speculations on a Clash of Cultural Epistemologies, presented before the "Building Family Strengths:  An International Symposium," held at the University of Nebraska/Lincoln, May 10-12, 2000.

v The Divide as Allegory: The Kiraruta as Place in Cather's Fiction, prepared for "Environmental Imagination," the International Cather Symposium 2000, held at the Leid Conference Center at Arbor Day Farm, Nebraska City, Nebraska, June 19-24, 2000.

v "White Man's Toilet Paper," a previously-prepared paper presented in a workshop setting, How NOT to Teach While Giving Recompense to the Ages, at the 2001 Faculty College:  "Innovative Approaches to Teaching in the Humanities," held at the University of Nebraska/Kearney, May 9-11, 2001.




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