The year 2020 has been tumultuous, filled with chaos and adversity in communities all over the world. From the worldwide pandemic, to wildfires and hurricanes here in the United States, lives and homes have been lost. People everywhere have been challenged in ways we have not seen before on this scale.
While we yearn for a more just world and continue to pick up the pieces of our communities, it is so important that we also celebrate the resilience of human beings across the world, especially our Indigenous communities. Celebrating and giving thanks for what we have is at the core of many of our Native cultures, in spite of the challenges we’ve faced this year. It is in that process of celebration and appreciation that we find hope for a brighter future. We look forward to a new leadership for this country, and a vision that is focused on racial equity and justice for the nation and Native peoples.
At NACF, that hope comes in the form of the Center for Native Arts & Cultures. Yale Union Contemporary Art Center (YU) has transferred ownership of their land and historic building in SE central Portland, Oregon, from YU to NACF. This extraordinary free land and building transfer will set an example for recognizing the value of Native ownership and property in urban areas across the nation.
In our vision of the future, the building will be a vibrant gathering space for Indigenous artists and both local and national partnerships. It will provide space to present and exhibit work, places to practice culture and make art, and areas for cultural ceremony and celebration. There will be opportunities for broad community learning, including workshops and seminars covering pertinent issues relative to arts and social change, Native arts aesthetics, Indigenous identity, and environmental justice.
“This Yale Union building stands in a very particular place in the country and in the world,” says U.S. Poet Laureate and NACF board chair Joy Harjo. “It’s been a cross roads for years and beyond for indigenous peoples all over the Pacific. People need a place to call home, especially in an urban community […] this community serves many indigenous peoples from all over the world, not just North American Native people.”
“We’ve come to a point in the world of great challenge, but also great opportunity, in which to revise and revitalize our communities. How do we do that? It always comes back to the arts, because arts revitalize, they tell us who we are, they tell us where we’re going and where we’ve been. Art makes connections on a deep soul level; it connects us in a way beyond words.”
We could not do this important work without you. The time to invest in Native arts and cultures is NOW. We rely on your generous support to build a future with Native arts and cultures at the center. The Center for Native Arts and Cultures will be a flagship space in Portland and you have the opportunity to be part of its inception (creation).
Will you consider making a gift today? We thank you for your consideration. Please click here to donate online, or you may call or text Leah Altman, Development Manager, at (503) 317-4861, to take a donation via phone or set up a recurring gift.
Once again, thank you for supporting NACF and the work of Native artists across the nation.
T.Lulani Arquette (Native Hawaiian), President & CEO
Transform community through Native arts!