Sohn's Cover Letter

Walks in Cold Water | 2009. 03.

March 20, 2009
Tina Jackson, Tribal Journeys Coordinator
PO Box 498
Suquamish, WA 98392

Dear Ms. Jackson :

I am a photographer/writer in Seoul, Korea. For the past six years I visited many Native American tribal reservations and recorded their culture through my photos and essays. Ten years ago I read BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE and became deeply interested in your history and way of life. I am moved by your philosophy of living in harmony with nature and your respect and care of all living beings. I have come to respect your culture and believe that you are a truly precious people. Because I want to live with the same mind, my heart has become full of anticipation, like a child’s, every year that I have been able to visit your people and your lands.

While living in the United States for graduate studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey (2002 - 2006) I had the opportunity to visit many Native American reservations and participated in numerous powwows and horseback riding events which I appreciated immensely. I was particularly interested in the tribes along the Pacific Coast and last year visited their tribal governments as well. While at the Chief Seattle Museum, I learned about the Suquamish Canoe Journey taking place this August. I would like very much to participate in it, not only to experience it for myself, but to record the entire journey with photos and texts to produce a visual record of the week-long event. I would document the environment, the riders and their experiences on this journey for a book (my second in this series) to be published in 2010. Needless to say, I would be honored to share any material that I produce, with any of the tribal governments whose people participate in this journey.

My first book, THE CIRCLE NEVER ENDS was published in 2007 in Korea. It is about the Native American tribes in the Southwest and the Black Hills. I hope to work on developing the content for my second book through the end of this year so that it will be ready for publication in 2010. I would like the subject of this book to be about the sprit and significance of your Canoe Journey, as well as many other aspects of your tribe’s rich culture and traditions.

I am writing to ask for your approval to participate in this year’s Canoe Journey and to meet more wonderful new friends. I will be in Santa Fe in late July and can be in Seattle in time to start the journey with you in early August, if not earlier. And it would be an incredible opportunity for me to join the potlatch event as well. This request comes from the bottom of my heart.

Enclosed for your reference is a copy of my first book THE CIRCLE NEVER ENDS; a translation of Chapter 10 (originally written in Korean); and an introduction to my book written by Mr. Chang, a culture critic in Korea. I hope they will give you a good sense of my character and my intentions.

I look forward to receiving a positive response from you as soon as possible so that I can begin to make my travel plans.


Walks in Cold Water
(Sung Hyun Sohn)

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