Saturday, May 15, 2010

1:30 p.m.

Room 111-A Chancellor’s Complex, UCSD Campus


An opportunity for social networking – with wine and cheese supplementing the usual offerings – will accompany our annual organization meeting.

There will be brief reports from the current Board, an election of the new Board, and a chance to mingle with your fellow scholars and the incoming Board.

Our Annual Business meeting is for members only and closed to the public. 

Scholarship can be a lonely business.  On Saturday, May 15th, you will have a chance to come out of scholarly seclusion to meet with your fellow scholars in a more social setting.  There is no formal speaker or research presentation for the day.  But there is important business, including annual reports and the election of new officers.  This is also a time to celebrate those among us who selflessly support SDIS by giving of their time and talent to sustain our organization.

The special refreshments to enhance our social hour at this meeting are made possible by a donation by Barbara Ford, daughter of our founding member the late Jane Ford.  Jane was known for her hospitality, and we welcome this opportunity.



The Life and Culture of the Quechua People of Bolivia


Delina Halushka reported at the April meeting on her research into the life and culture of the Quechua people of Bolivia:

The Quechua of Bolivia live in the central part of the country. The climate and the altitude in this part of the fourth largest state of South America are similar to those of   Tibet. The Quechua are the largest of the many indigenous groups that live in Bolivia.

The Spanish conquest of the Incas in the western parts of Bolivia imposed their culture, language and laws on the Indians. By 1554 Western Bolivia was completely colonized by the Spanish. In 1825 Bolivia had won its independence and Simon Bolivar was named president. Families were given land grants.

The Quechua continue carrying on the Inca culture themselves. They have a cooperative social organization. Especially in rural areas they build huts of adobe with a small window and a small door. The kitchen is outside the house. The families have a tool shed and a corral where sheep, chickens, a burro and pigs can be safe. The men and women weave cloth for clothing from Alpaca and sheep wool. They dress like they did in Inca times with some Spanish influences.

The men wear a woven shirt underneath a poncho, white pants and sandals. A pouch is worn on the waist holding coca leaves for chewing. Their head is always covered with a hat. Delina showed us a felt hat made to resemble a conquistador's helmet. Women like to wear dark colors of black, blue, and olive. They wear a long shirt made of cotton under a woven skirt. A square cloth is worn over the shoulder to be used for a shawl or for carrying a load or a child. They also carry a money bag and a coca bag. Their hair is parted in the middle of the forehead and a cord is braided into the hair.

The diet of the people is the same as in Inca times, corn, potatoes, quinuoa and oca. They buy salt and sugar and coca to supplement the other food that is grown locally. Food is cooked in a large pot. The people make toasted quinuoa or corn to carry with them. Potatoes and meat are freeze-dried in the cold dry air. A fermented drink called Chicha, made of corn flour, is popular.

The culture of the people includes celebrations of the first hair cut of a child when they are about three years old. The children are named then. Folk dances and the music from the pan flute, with drums and rattles, show an Incan influence. They use masks of the devil and other entities in their dances. The men of the communities fight once a year in a competition to show which community is the strongest. They hit each other and the audience throws food and stones at the loser. A win in this fight means that the community will have a good harvest.

Religion is a combination of Catholicism and Incan beliefs. It is influenced by superstitions, and myths and legends passed down orally. Many of the stories and legends have core beliefs of European origin such as the bear story in the underworld. Devil worship in the mines of Potosi seems to have come down from superstition. Shamans use coca leaves to cure illness.

The ordinary Quechua is not influenced by modern technology yet. They do not have access to the Internet and have no reading or writing skills. Delina's research has been hampered by the political climate of the country as when she traveled to Bolivia last in 2006.

-- Special to the Scholars Notebook

By Edwina Shell Johnson



Works in Progress

Works-in-Progress allows scholars to present their research, preliminary or advanced, to a group of interested people.  Recent projects have included a book on the barnstorming era by Al Christman and a video developed by Judy Ramirez for her website, This provides a sense of the range and variety of projects that can be supported.  Past participants report that the knowledgeable feedback has been immensely valuable.  Members with projects for presentation should contact Cathy Blecki by email (or phone: 760-603-8930).


Colloquy Café

The next Colloquy Café will be held on Wednesday, May 19 at 1:30 PM.  The subject is "Art as Human Necessity." As usual, those who are interested in attending can contact Sam Gusman at  



The Literary Group will address Pat Terry’s selections from the odes of John Keats on May 24, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. in the home of Marla Jensen.


Science (aka Brain Study Group)

The Science Study Group will meet on Friday, May 14th, 2010 to discuss chapters 5 and 6 of Gentle Bridges:  Conversations with the Dalai Lama

Meeting place is Bea Rose’s apartment and the time is 3 PM. Visitors are welcome, but please call Bea Rose first for needed directions.



A Parting Word from the Editor

This is my last issue as Notebook editor.  It’s been quite a year.  The highlight for me was the fascinating excursion into the history of our era led by David Klein which we featured in the February 2010 issue.  The low point was learning that we had erred in numbering the issues on a calendar year basis while SDIS uses an academic calendar.   We apologize to anyone who was misled by this misunderstanding.  The issue numbers of the Scholar's Notebook on our website have been corrected – the beauty of technology.

Our organization is changing.  San Diego Independent Scholars originated as a place to which unaffiliated scholars could bring their work to have the benefit of the thinking of others.  Technology now offers additional linkages for that purpose, which can be impersonal. SDIS also offers a social purpose for members to come together.  The benefit of having people of intellect meet socially is likely to outlast any technological change. 


The future is bright and I look forward to seeing you all when next we gather.



From the President

Now we await the warmth of summer, a time to relax and renew.  We close out this year, a good one.  In addition to informative and entertaining presentations, many members of have stretched their minds and hearts by meeting regularly in Study Groups to explore various issues.

May 15th meeting – our last for the year – will start with business: reports from the current Board and election results for the new SDIS Board.  Then we'll spend some time socializing over wine and cheese, and other refreshments.

Meantime, you have a job: Vote.  Watch your email and US mail for the ballot.  When you get it, think it over, and vote.  You can mail or email your election choices, or bring your ballot to the meeting with you and vote there.  Specific directions will be included in the ballot.  See you on the 15th.

-- Donna Boyle, April 2010



About SDIS

San Diego Independent Scholars (SDIS) supports unaffiliated writers and researchers and welcomes everyone who appreciates creative and intellectual activities in the humanities, science, and the arts.  SDIS is a non-profit organization and an affiliate of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars.

Donna Boyle,


Scholar’s Notebook is the newsletter of SDIS. Please send your news for the Notebook to Jack Cumming, the Notebook editor: or by mail to 2855 Carlsbad Blvd N116, Carlsbad, CA 92008. The deadline for submissions is the 25th of the month prior to publication date.

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