To My Teachers


July 31, 2014


To my teachers,


Thank you!

Thank all of you who taught me, encouraged me and graded me.

I came to college thinking I knew what I wanted.

You taught me what I needed.

Doors I once thought closed have burst open.

Ideas long forgotten have bloomed like myriad colors in a garden.

Webs of dreams are becoming lines on a page.

You taught me what I am, what I can do.

You took an old clay pot full of memories

And turned it into a wellspring of words.

How do I say thank you?


I share with others, the lessons you taught me

That I may honor you.


Pila Maya,

R J Papa Nyk Lindsoe





What College Means to Me


What does Meramec Community College mean to me?


Having survived my first year at Meramec Community College I am anxious to return this fall to experience the myriad opportunities to learn.

I can hear my detractors now, “Dude, you can only take so many classes each semester.” They’re right but, I said myriad opportunities to learn not myriad classes to take.

When I started at Meramec as a full time “Freshman” (Love that term.) in the fall of 2013 I was under the impression that all learning takes place in the classroom and only professional instructors, teachers, professors and lecturers were qualified to teach. No disrespect to the instructional staff but damn, I was naïve!

From the very second I set foot on campus I started to learn. I learned I wasn’t as smart as I thought and yet more intelligent than I knew. Sounds a bit odd, doesn’t it?

Let me explain, I think I had a bit of the dreaded teenage invincibly disease. I felt my years (number 71 in progress), had taught me all the wisdom one might ever need and I know I was bursting with knowledge, experience and sage advice. I was so very right and equally so very wrong. Confused yet? It gets better.

Driving to school I learned how early I need to leave home, the fastest route, the most convenient parking spot and how to find my classroom – I learned all by myself – proud of me? If I can do that, why do I need to go to class to learn? It took a combination of knowledge and skills to get me to my classroom on time. Did I come by these skills naturally or was I taught some, if not all? Unless I was driving illegally, which I wasn’t, someone had to help me learn to drive a car plus a third party had to test my driving knowledge and skills, right?

For me, going to college is the same. We all have knowledge and skills to bring together as a student body. We need to share those with others and, here comes the biggie, we need to learn from those same others as much as we learn from our professors.

Two things you weren’t hear from me now are:

1. I’m too old to learn.

2: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks!

Moose feathers! My opinion, unless you’re dead you ARE learning every nano second of every day of your life! But what you may not be doing is processing all that information.

May I have a tympani here please?

Enter Professor Perspective, Choreographic Architect.

Years ago, I taught Emergency Medical Technician Courses in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. If, as an instructor I learned anything it was this: The best teacher has to be the best student in the classroom.

A good professor is one who is constantly assessing the skills and talents of a student through observation and interaction. The professor will choreograph that student to assist her/him in such a way as to bring forth hidden knowledge and skills that may be applied to current and future relationships, education, employment and so forth.

The best students in the class will share their knowledge with their peers and, through sharing in class, the professor.

I don’t if I can count the number of times I’ve left a lecture hall, gone to the cafeteria for coffee and met classmates who will start talking about the lecture and how it affected them. I wanted to shout out, HEY DUDES, YOU’RE TEACHING! But being the shy and withdrawn man I am, I didn’t.


I’m learning that wisdom knows no age, nor gender, nor race, nor sexual identity, nor nationality, nor IQ, nor any of the other archaic barriers society once established.

For me, wisdom is the willingness to learn, the determination to improve myself, the humility to learn from life and the eagerness to share my knowledge with those willing to listen.

Like every other creature on this campus, I am a student and I am a teacher for I am learning wisdom as I share it.


Papa Nyk

To My Kids In Korea

Someone has lit a multi-colored candle in Seoul.

Can you see the light?

Do you feel the warmth?

Will the flame be carried to others?

Will they see the light?

Will they feel the warmth?

One day Seoul will be surrounded by light and warmth.

The light of knowledge and the warmth of love.

The beginning of a new world.

For what matter the candle’s color

If the flame is always the same?


Native Peoples Club Article




Here in East Central Missouri and West Central Illinois, where once proud peoples built the Mound City at Cahokia, IL, hunted this land, farmed its fields, fished the rivers and lived their lives in harmony with nature we seem to have suffered a tragic loss.

    I am a full time student at Meramec Campus, St Louis Community College in Kirkwood, MO., a suburb of St. Louis, MO. When I registered for classes I became curious about the origins of the name, Meramec. I knew it was also the name of nearby river but no one actually knew what it meant or its origins. Having spent some time as an investigator before retiring, I decided to find out. It took me a matter of minutes, not hours, not days, not years but minutes to learn that Meramec is an Algonquian word meaning “Ugly Fish”. It seems the native peoples named it for the catfish which is an ugly fish to some, but great eating to most. Irrespective of its meaning, Meramec is a Native Peoples’ name which has lost its meaning in our present cultures as have the contributions of the people who created it. I find that to be very tragic.

    With that discovery in hand, I explored the Meramec campus for anything that might say, Native Peoples are here. The only thing I found was a painting in the entry hallway to the President’s office. If memory serves, it was a Cheyenne warrior on horseback overlooking a prairie – I’m still looking for that prairie here in foothills of the Ozark Mountains. I’ll get to finding the Cheyenne after I’ve found the prairie.

    My search for classes offering Native Peoples in this area was just as unproductive. The course catalog listed three offered by the Anthropology Department but when I went to registration they said, huh? Literally, the lady said “huh”? She had never heard of any classes relating to Native Peoples being currently offered. She did however give me the name of one of the Anthropology professors who taught them at one time. I got to talk to him briefly before he retired and discovered that he had been actively involved in several archaeological digs at ancient Native Peoples settlements and hunting camps in and around St Louis over the years. He told me the classes were not well received by students because they may not have related to present day people. He felt my idea of forming a student Native Peoples Club could be a positive impetus and perhaps even bring pre-Columbian history to life on the “Ugly Fish” campus.

    I immediately started talking up the idea of a Native Peoples Club on campus to anyone who would listen. Reception was at first cool but during the last semester it began to blossom and we hope to produce a large bouquet by the November, Native Americans Month, 2014.

    Now one might ask why we didn’t name the club the Native American Club. Here’s a good answer for you: “Why would any Native of South, Central or North “America” even consider identifying with a 15th century Florentine merchant because an ignorant arrogance of a German? Read on:

    “It is an irony of history that the name “America” did not come from Christopher Columbus. That distinction belongs to a German writer of geography.

In a further twist of events, America was named after Amerigo Vespucci, a 15th century Florentine merchant who owned a business in Seville, Spain, furnishing supplies for ships, preparing them for mercantile expeditions.

How do we explain what seems to mock the reality of history?

Stirred by the achievements of Columbus and envious of the reputation his discoveries brought, Vespucci endeavored to cultivate Columbus’ friendship and trust.

Seven years after Columbus’ first voyage and while Columbus was still alive, Vespucci accompanied an expedition that consisted of four ships. They sailed past the eastern coast of South America, and visited Trinidad, which Columbus had named the preceding year. On his return to Europe Vespucci wrote letters with glowing descriptions of the newly discovered countries. He called the lands he had visited a “New World.”

Some years later Vespucci’s letters were published and read by Martin Waldseemuller, a noted geographer, and by Mathias Ringmann, a schoolmaster. Recently arrived from Germany to the province of Lorraine they were attracted to the town of Saint-Die because of a newly established print shop. Both men were engaged in working on a reproduction of Ptolemy’s treatise on geography, to which they were adding a preface.

After reading the account of Vespucci’s travels in “Quatre Navigations d’ Americ Vespuce,” they decided to incorporate Vespucci’s voyage into the treatise. Ringmann, acting as editor, wrote in his introduction:

“There is a fourth quarter of the world which Amerigo Vespucci has discovered and which for this reason we can call ‘America’ or the land of Americo.”

Apparently ignorant of the discoveries and achievements made by Columbus fifteen years earlier, Ringmann continued:

“We do not see why the name of the man of genius, Amerigo, who has discovered them, should not be given to these lands, as Europe and Asia have adopted the names of women.”

Their work was published on April 25, 1507 under the title “Cosmographiae Introductio.” It marked the first time the word AMERICA appeared in print.”

Ellis, Edward S., Library of American History, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1895. Steele, Joel Dorman and Steele, Esther Baker. A Brief History of the United States, 1871 Patton, Jacob Harris and Lord, John. The History and Government of the United States, 1876 Montgomery, D.H. An Elementary American History, 1904.

    For me, this entire article is a study in white European arrogance and ignorance – an insult to the Native Peoples who have been living in this hemisphere for thousands of years prior to the arrival of any Europeans. I will not add to that insult by referring to them as Native “Americans”. They took their names from the earth and sky, not from a German schoolmaster.

    We elected to identify the Native Peoples as THE NATIVE PEOPLES in the hope of encompassing all who were (and are) here and contributed so much to our world. It is our hope to honor them by sharing their knowledge, skills, philosophies and memories.

    We need help to do this. We need good advice, direction and, when possible affiliations.

    Some of the activities we are considering include:

        Lectures and classes on contemporary life for Native Peoples.

        Art and craft shows and sales to introduce contemporary Native artists.

        Sponsor story tellers both for registered students and the public.

        Sponsor guest speakers on various contemporary issues affecting Native Peoples

        My personal favorite Native Peoples lunches – fry bread tacos are aces!

    Bring to life the Native history an area that was a hub of civilization (Cahokia Mounds)

    once larger than London, England.

    The most important thing we want to do is bring Native Peoples’ presence back to the area.

    Their absence is a void desperately in need of filling for we are all related.

    We need your help and ideas to attain and maintain our goals.


    R. Nyk Lindsoe

    President, Pro-Tem

    Native Peoples Club

Meramec Campus

St. Louis Community College