A guitar player with a friendly smile, wearing a festive hat and a traditional serape shawl.
Oregon Culture Keepers Roster
About the Oregon Culture Keepers Roster

Search the online Oregon Culture Keepers Roster—an ever-expanding, juried selection of folk and traditional artists—and connect with cultural experts documented through our regional surveys and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program.

Rostered artists and culture keepers can provide educational presentations, hands-on demonstrations, or performances to a variety of audiences. We recommend a fee of at least $250 plus travel expenses unless otherwise noted, for such appearances. We do not serve as a booking agent, so please contact the artists directly.

Search the roster by county or keyword to find

  • highly skilled traditional artists for your classroom,
  • storytellers for your library event,
  • cultural experts for your humanities program,
  • performers for your festival stage, or
  • craft artists for demonstrations.

Check back often—we regularly add new folk and traditional artists!


Interested in applying to be on the roster?

First, review OFN’s definition of a Culture Keeper:

  • A Culture Keeper is a folk or traditional artist, who actively practices, passes on, and preserves the living cultural traditions of the cultural community to which they belong and is recognized by that community. Folk and traditional arts do not include folk-inspired art, which is produced by individuals and groups who are not part of the cultural community that originally produced/created/developed the art form, even if the quality of the art is excellent.

Second, fill out and send in the application form and all required work samples.

Or contact us at 541-346-3820 | ofn@uoregon.edu for assistance.

Found 252 profiles.
Tuaopepe Tasi Keener sits in front of a sewing machine. She is wearing a light blue tank top and a necklace.
Polynesian Dance
Tuaopepe Tasi Keener (Keizer) is a Samoan dancer and musician. Keener, who learned dance from her mother in Western Samoa, followed in her mother's footsteps here in Oregon. Her dance troupe, Paradise of Samoa, performs a variety of traditional Pacific Islander dances, including Hawaiian, Tahitian, Maori, Samoan, and Fijian. Keener's other traditional arts include weaving, playing the ukulele, and singing.
Tulehoidjad pose in front of a Scandinavian boat. They are wearing traditional embroidered outfits.
Estonian Folk Dance
Tulehoidjad (Portland), an Estonian folk dance troupe, has kept Estonian folk dances alive in the region for four generations. In 1950, Lehti Merilo founded the group, and her daughter, Liina Teose, has directed the group since 1985. Tulehoidjad performs a wide range of Estonian dances including circle, line, and partner dances.
Michelle Fujii and Toru Watanabe pose against a black background. They both wear black robes with kanji characters on them.
Japanese Taiko Drumming
Unit Souzou (Portland) is a Japanese taiko drum group that draws its name from the Japanese word souzou, meaning imagination, creation, and noisy. Michelle Fujii and Toru Watanabe formed the group in 2014. Unit Souzou currently has a professional performance team with several taiko specialists and a community performance group.
Wally Cunial stands in a kitchen and prepares traditional Italian food. He wears a white t-shirt, a cream printed apron, and a checkered baseball cap.
Italian Foodways
Wally Cunial (Klamath Falls) is a tradition Italian cook and an expert in Italian foodways. As a member of the Sons of Italy, Cunial works to foster Italian heritage and shares his knowledge of traditional Northern Italian cuisine with the community.
Wambui Machua poses in front of a white wall. She is wearing a turquoise patterned outfit and a large necklace.
Kenyan Foodways
Wambui Machua (Portland/Beaverton) is a Kenyan chef and owner of Spice of Africa, a Portland-based African restaurant. Born in Nairobi, Kenya and of Kikiyu heritage, Machua learned to cook from the matriarchs of her family. Today she teaches African cooking classes, caters, sells food at markets, and funds charitable projects in Kenya.
Members of Weaving Together sit together in a room on blue chairs.
Karen Backstrap Loom Weaving
“Weaving Together—The Karen Women of Portland” (Portland) is a group of refugee women weavers from the eastern border regions of Myanmar (formerly Burma). As young children, these Karen women learned to weave on backstrap looms. The Karen Women of Portland find that this traditional activity provides a source of income and helps them adapt to their lives in Oregon.
Wenix Red Elk stands outdoors next to several banners showing information about local habitats and first foods. She wears a white, black and gray geometric blouse.
First Foods Outreach, Weaving
Wenix Red Elk (Pendleton) is a weaver who grew up in the Umatilla Reservation. She is very knowledgeable about First Foods, the relationship between each of the foods and the tribe, and the tribe’s current efforts to restore habitats.
Portrait of Wilson Wewa against a gray background. He is wearing a cream embroidered vest and a blue collared shirt.
Northern Paiute Storyteller, Oral Historian, Spiritual Leader
Wilson Wewa (Warm Springs) is a storyteller, spiritual leader, and the Warm Spring’s Paiute Tribe’s oral historian. A descendant of Paiute Chief Paulina and Chief Weahwewa, he learned most of the stories and legends he tells from his grandmother and tribal elders in Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and California. Wewa is the author of Legends of the Northern Paiute (2017, OSU Press).
Wilverna Reece holding a large woven basket against a dark blue background. She is wearing a white t-shirt.
Karuk Basket Weaving
Wilverna Reece (Happy Camp, Calif.) is a traditional Karuk basket maker and weaver. Reece, who has served on the Karuk Tribal Council, learned from her mentor 35 years ago. Today, she passes along her traditional knowledge to a new generation.
Yat Sing Music Club practice together, holding a variety of instruments including strings, prass, and percussion. Two people stand at the front of the room in front of music stands.
Cantonese Opera
Yat Sing Music Club (Portland) is a group of Cantonese opera singers. Founded in 1942, the group still rehearses twice a week in Portland’s Old Town. The group once produced complete Cantonese operas with traditional costumes and a full cast of characters, but eventually scaled down their performances. Yat Sing Music Club performs parts of operas for public events and private parties.
Yingwana Khosa demonstrates South African drumming. He is wearing an olive green outfit shirt and pants and a black beanie.
South African Dance and Drumming
Yingwana Khosa (Portland) is a traditional Tsongan dancer and drummer originally from Soweto. At 10, Khosa began studying drum and dance with the Mzumba Dance Troupe, a dance company that performs traditional drumming and dancing from tribes all over South Africa. He has also performed with the Ringling Brothers.
Yuqin Wang poses against a white wall with framed documents.
Chinese Rod Puppetry
Yuqin Wang (Portland) is a traditional Chinese Rod Puppeteer. Before coming to America, Yuqin Wang, and her husband and fellow performer, Zhengli Xu, were both leading puppeteers with the famous China Puppet Art Troupe for more than 30 years. Yuqin Wang, a 2012 Oregon Folklife Network Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program Master Artist, was honored by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2004 when she received the National Heritage Fellowship Award, the highest honor our nation gives to folk and traditional artists.