Longhouse Education and Cultural Center

Grantee:  Longhouse Education and Cultural Center
Location:  Olympia, Wash.
Award:  Regional Collaboration Pilot Program
Discipline:  Regional Collaboration Pilot Program
Web Site: http://www.evergreen.edu/longhouse/

The Longhouse Education and Cultural Center is the only Native facility of its kind on any university grounds in the country. The dream began when Evergreen State College faculty member, Mary Ellen Hillaire of the Lummi tribe, founded the Native American Studies Program.

Originally focused exclusively on Pacific Northwest tribal artists, the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center now works on a national as well as international level with indigenous artists. They maintain a Native artist marketing service, art sales, art exhibitions, artist gatherings, artist-in-residence workshops and offer a grants program to fund bringing individual master Native artists to tribal communities to teach.

Master artists who played leadership roles in some of the events supported by this grant included dance group leaders Florentino (Tiny) Barril, leader of the Alaska Kuteeyaa dancers; Deva Yamashiro, Ke Kukui Foundation; Walter Pacheco, Muckleshoot Canoe Family; and Connie McCloud, Puyallup Canoe Family. Lecturers and presenters included visual artist Lillian Pitt, First Nations poet Jane Rogers, Rona Yellow Robe and Anishinaabe Grandmother Josephine Mandamin. Traditional artists Ojibwe canoe-maker Wayne Valliere and master weavers Karl Leonard and Christina Wirihana also participated.
In all, eleven separate events and activities were produced throughout the year, which included the In the Spirit festival, the Longhouse holiday fair and a ground breaking ceremony and the grand opening of the carving studio. The s3hlihl Awards Program, “To Teach by Example”, was established as part of an annual community dinner that recognizes the lifetime contributions of elders who are teachers of the cultural arts in the region. The inaugural recipients of the s3hlihl awards were Fran and Bill James of the Lummi Tribe and Pete Peterson, Sr. of the Skokomish Indian Tribe. Selected artists not only represented the highest standards of artistry, but have significant connections to the Longhouse and the passing on of intergenerational knowledge.

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