By Adrienne Decker, OFN Assistant Folklorist
Lindsey Howtopat (Yakama) shares basket making techniques with teachers.
On November 1, the Oregon Folklife Network joined Confluence for a “Day of Sharing” at Fort Vancouver. Confluence is a multi-year endeavor to complete public art installations at significant points along the Columbia River, a collaboration between Pacific Northwest tribes, renowned artist Maya Lin, civic groups from Washington and Oregon, and other Northwest artists. The Day of Sharing offered a unique opportunity for native teaching artists to share their traditional art forms and stories with public school teachers to encourage classroom participation in Confluence’s “Gifts from our Ancestors” program. The Oregon Folklife Network’s participation was provided in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, which awarded OFN funding to document the cultural traditions in the Columbia River Gorge region and to partner with the Confluence Project to foster collaborations between traditional artists and educators.
“Gifts” is a collaborative program between K12 schools and indigenous artists from both sides of the Columbia River. The program engages students and teachers in experiential learning through native arts, promoting interdisciplinary curricula with an emphasis on cultural and ecological stewardship. This year’s Day of Sharing featured cultural artists and tradition keepers Lillian Pitt (Warm Springs), Ed Edmo (Shoshone-Bannock), Toma Villa (Yakama), Lindsey Howtopat (Yakama), Patricia Whitefoot (Yakama), Lavina Wilkins (Yakama), and Joann Smith (Warm Springs).
By Nikki Silvestrini
In late September, a flag raising ceremony at the EMU amphitheater saw the flags of Oregon’s Nine Confederated Tribes go up. I sat down with Gordon Bettles, the Many Nations Longhouse Steward, to follow-up on the project. The flag raising was a student driven project that started two and half years ago when Famery Yang, Orion Falvey, Hannah Mixon-Gilliam, Michael Johnson, Tucker Lokendah and Tetsuya Mishagwho – students at the Lundquist College of Business – came together to increase tribal visibility on the UO campus. This student group collaborated with the Many Nations Longhouse, the Native American Student Union, and the Native American Law School Student Association to make the project a reality. Student leaders Falvey and Mixon-Gilliam stayed with the project from beginning to end. Despite some struggles with time constraints and bureaucratic regulations the students involved have left something lasting. Bettles says, “The Native American students that have gone and seen them or participated are very empowered to see a Native American presence on campus.”
Documenting Tradition in Klamath and Lake Counties
By LuAnne Kozma, contract folklorist, Southern Oregon Folklife Survey, funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
I returned to southern Oregon for the Oregon Folklife Network’s Southern Oregon Folklife Survey and traveled the high desert, along Lake Klamath, and in the downtowns and storefronts of Klamath, Lakeview and other smaller places on the map, always meeting interesting and talented people.
Meats and outdoor cookery seem to go together here, with the Lakeview Locker providing sausages, smoked meats and fresh cuts. Meals cooked over an open fire by dutch oven cooks Patty and Keith Barnhart are the special attraction of their Willow Springs Guest Ranch outside of Lakeview. Longtime horsepeople, the Barnharts began dutch oven cooking over 25 years ago, sharing their culinary talent with friends on trail rides, which eventually led to their home-based business.
Southeastern Oregon Folklife Survey in Malheur County
By Douglas Manger, contract folklorist, Southern Oregon Folklife Survey, funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
Scratch the surface a bit in Malheur County–the second largest in Oregon–and you’ll discover a wealth of folklife traditions, from the buckaroo rodeo, to the Mexican American panaderia (bakery), to Native American sweat lodge rituals.
To experience one of the most revered traditions in the county, look to the 100 year old Vale 4th of July Rodeo. There you are sure to catch Dan and Robin Fulwyler in the team calf roping competition. As horse trainers, rodeo competitors, and helping hands on area ranches at branding time, the Fulwylers’ live and breathe Western ranch traditions passed down through the generations. Not to be outdone, since the age of five their two daughter have rode and roped, as well.
The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded the Oregon Folklife Network funding to identify and document cultural traditions in the Columbia River Gorge counties of Hood River, Wasco, Jefferson, Sherman, Gilliam, Morrow, and Umatilla as well as with the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.