Stan Knick: One of the Best

You may be reading this after reading my “Sandspur” column of November 19.

To sum it up:  In that essay I drew a connection between Socratic philosophy and the practice of offering verbal appeciation for those who do well in their assigned tasks, crafts, or professions.

I mentioned Dr. Stanley G. Knick, who has been Director of the Native American Resource Center since his arrival on the UNCP campus in 1986m and my compliment to him in a recent E-mail after I read on the “University Newswire” about the successful completion of the third of eight planned half-hour documentary videos on the eight most prominent tribes in North Carolina.

Dr. Knick, my friend Stan,  has been exemplary in a number of ways in his practice of anthropology, achaeology, and issues in Native American health care and tribal cultural practices, most notably among those populations in North Carolina and in Robeson County.

Stan has never flagged or faltered in addressing himself to the professional ethics and in observing the appropriate research protocol, both of which are expected, even demanded, of those who have become anthropologists and archaeologists.  His role has often been more closely scrutinized by local Native American tribal members and leaders because of the potential resentment that could, because he is a Caucasian raised in Texas and working among non-Caucasians,  compromise his position and his  professional standing by being negligent or arrogant.

What is most revealing about his success in avoiding the losing respect and appreciation for his work is his being inducted in 1986, ten years after coming to Pembroke,  as an Honorary Member of the Lumbee Tribe.  To Stan, I would be certain, this is more significant than if he were presented the “Order of the Long Leaf Pine” by the Governor of North Carolina.

I worked most closely with Stan in the Fall Semester of 1992, when he agreed to become one of the Sonnet Recitalists in an on-campus and community outreach program sponsored by the “Friends of the Library of Pembroke State University” (of which I was then President, as well as the developer of the program and its moderator, both in an on-campus event and in evening events at the Robeson County Public Library and the Scotland County Public Library) and the North Carolina Humanities Council, which provided funding.

Sometime after Stan had agreed to be one of the performers and a suggestion or two had been given him as to possible sonnets to choose from, he called me with an intriguing question:  “Could I,” he asked,” write a sonnet myself to perform?”  After a brief discussion and a couple of questions,  I said to Stan,  “Let’s get together and talk this over.”  We did, I could see that Stan was committed to doing this, and I was sure that he would do very well, both in the writing of his sonnet, and in the delivery of it. 

And he did, following the conventions of the Italian or Petrarchan form.  And here it is now, available to anyone in the world who has access to the Internet.  Interest in the field of archaeology may be useful but certainly not required:

     In every field where artifacts are found —

     where recent men have strained with mule and plow

     to urge a living from the quiet ground,

     where archaeologists like me go now

     to hunt elusive sherd and arrowhead,

     to reconstruct the lives of ancient souls    

     whose bodies have for centuries been dead,

     to glimpse their world in broken bits of bowls —

     In all these fields I sense a presence there:

     a subtle eloquence, a tender feel,

     a certain human tension in the air

     that cannot be explained,  but still to me is real.

     I search the soil; I shift through sand and loam.

     In every field I feel I’m coming home.

As a delver in another field, I should also acknowledge the excellent work Stan did as a columnist for a community newspaper when he wrote for years “Along the Robeson Trail” for “The Carolina Indian Voice.”

RJR

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3 Responses to “Stan Knick: One of the Best”

  1. Stan Says:

    Ray, your kind words are humbling. I always knew you were a good man, but this… well, I’m speechless…

  2. Hayes A. Locklear Says:

    Stan I am honored to call you “Brother”! This man has truly been an inspiration in my life. I say “Thank you” from my family, my ancestors and the Lumbee People.

  3. DGB Says:

    As a long time observer of Stanley’s life I can heartily echo the comments of Professor Rundus. Coming to a culture to which he was not born, he has identified with their traditions and they have become precious to him. I think it is safe to say that Stan holds a mirror to the communities and says, “This is who you are. Rejoice and be proud.”

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