Pic’ Ax ‘n’
Whisk Broom evolved from traveling
the subways of New York City (nyc) while reading the works of the New England
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
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
in the Chinese theatre during World War II; his stepfather,
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,
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
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
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.
works and presentations include:
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.
The Feathering of Pedagogy, presented at the 6th
Annual Conference of the Nebraska Indian Education Association, Chadron, Nebraska,
From Hand Games to Casinos (compulsive gambling research), compiled expressly
for the sovereign Umonhon Nation (1995)
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)
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
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
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,
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.
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.
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,