Salish Modern: Innovative Art with Ancient Roots

Museum Director Patricia Cosgrove sits with “Super Ken” mannequin by Bill Holm.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Thirty years ago, you couldn’t find a map using the term “Salish Sea” for the Puget Sound region. There were Seattle galleries and t-shirt shops aplenty selling Northwest Coast Native art, but the masks, totem poles and sinuous formline animal prints were designs from hundreds of miles away, not from here.

Thirty years ago, no major art museum in Washington had mounted an exhibit highlighting Native created works of our own lands and waters. Artists were indeed working – Musqueam visual pioneer Susan Point was making innovative prints based on ancient carved designs. Ron Hilbert was painting bold scenes of spiritual practices and Lummi weavers Bill and Fran James were making sumptuous blankets and intricate baskets. But the critical interest and most gallery attention was focused on art from the Canadian coast.

Painting of a ceremonial smokehouse dance from 1989 by Ron “Chadusqidub” Hilbert (Tulalip and Upper Skagit).

In 1989, the balance started to tip. Washington State’s Centennial exhibit of Native arts opened, managed by Patricia Cosgrove (now Director of the White River Valley Museum) with Kenneth Watson as part of the exhibit staff. Both art historians were on a mission to convince Seattleites that totem poles are not indigenous and that Salish art in all its creative branches is. The exhibit was incredibly successful, and soon many influences aligned to literally change the landscape of the Native art market.

Ever since, both Cosgrove and Watson have worked hard to see the word ‘Salish’ enter the mainstream vocabulary, and to insure that the characteristic sweeping lines and subtle patterns of Salish arts become recognizable and emblematic of the Seattle area.

Through the effort of many, this vision has come true. High quality galleries like Seattle’s Stonington Gallery and Steinbrueck Native Gallery feature experienced and rising artists from across the Salish Sea region. Generations of new artists have risen in skill and popularity. Today, Salish art is an explosion of innovation and creativity that still has a firm foundation in our region’s earliest Salish generations.*

That innovation and creativity of Coast Salish artistry is currently on full display at the White River Valley Museum, located in Auburn only blocks away from the Muckleshoot Reservation. Inside the museum mounts an unprecedented six-month-long exhibition titled Salish Modern: Innovation Art with Ancient Roots.

“I’m really thrilled that we have works from artists who are rock stars in the Native art world, such as Louie Gong (Nooksack), Susan Point (Musqueam), and Shaun Peterson (Puyallup),” states Patricia Cosgrove, Museum Director and Salish culture enthusiast. “People are surprised when they see the ancientness of the tradition and then recognize the elements of it all around them in these very modern pieces. This is a perfect exhibit to celebrate this vital, fabulous modern art world.

“For museum visitors and people who see the exhibit, I’d like them to know that Salish cultures are alive and can be very modern. In my opinion, modern Salish art is some of the most elegant, divine visuals that you can find,” continues Patricia. “I’d love to see Salish art take the place of totem poles and form line design in Seattle as its visual identity.”

Salish Modern: Innovation Art with Ancient Roots will be on display through December, 17. The exhibit is supported in part by the Tulalip Tribes Charity Fund. Included among the many elegant Salish artworks is a rare painting by Ron “Chadusqidub” Hilbert (Tulalip and Upper Skagit) depicting a ceremonial smokehouse dance from 1989.

*source: Salish Modern exhibit material

Exploring Culture: Tulalip Quil Ceda Elementary takes field trip to see Tulalip art

TRC General Manager Sam Askew greets the children on their field trip and explains a little but about the art featured at the resort.
TRC General Manager Sam Askew greets the children on their field trip and explains a little but about the art featured at the resort. Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

By Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News

The Tulalip Resort Casino adorned with traditional Coast Salish art provides an excellent place to learn about art outside of a class setting. Tulalip Quil Ceda Elementary 5th graders took field trips to the resort February 24th through the 28th to look at the artwork done by Tulalip artists. The students are currently learning about Coast Salish art styles, specifically styles of Puget Sound traditions.

Students capture a photo on an iPad for the scavenger hunt.
Students capture a photo on an iPad for the scavenger hunt. Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

The kids struggled to keep from running, mesmerized by the art, losing themselves in the mystery and intrigue of coastal designs. The 5th grade students studied Coast Salish art before the excursion, learning the composition and design elements of the artwork. During their art period, Mr. Heimer  took each class on different days throughout the week to see the art first hand. Groups of students conducted scavenger hunts looking for very specific designs with unique elements, making the students engage with the art, using classroom iPads to show what they thought was the correct design. For example, one item was a bear with a snout made from trigons and crescents. There are many bear designs throughout the resort, though each design is different. The student groups were all abuzz looking over their pictures, talking about the designs they had captured, going back to the designs to point out what they needed to photograph, demonstrating their intricate understanding of Coast Salish Traditional art.

Students rush to finish their scavenger hunt.
Students rush to finish their scavenger hunt. Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

The trip, although short lasting only about 20 minutes, was important for the class. The students were excited to see the art, and even more excited to tell you about the art, explaining what different components were. They returned to class where their photos will be evaluated and graded. The school hopes to continue with similar activities, making their learning relatable on a local and human level.


The classroom iPads at Tulalip Quil Ceda Elementary were purchased with National Education Association (NEA) School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding. You may recall the See-Yaht-Sub coverage of the NEA visit to the school, congratulating them for their excellent progress as one of the SIG schools, and wanted to know more about the role technology has played in making them a successful SIG school.

The technology levy for the Marysville School District, which recently was passed by voters, intends to incorporate other technology in every classroom in the district for similar uses. Progressive learning has arrived in the MSD.


Andrew Gobin is a reporter with the See-Yaht-Sub, a publication of the Tulalip Tribes Communications Department.
Phone: (360) 716.4188

Coast Salish Inheritance


Temp exhibit is a reflection of Tulalip’s living culture

By Niki Cleary, Tulalip News

The Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History preserve is a place for the Tulalip people and our neighbors. Hibulb Senior Curator Tessa Campbell explained that the facility, especially the temporary exhibit, is dynamic and always changing just like the people who live at and visit Tulalip. The current temporary exhibit, Coast Salish Inheritance, will be on display through May 2014.

“[In the exhibit] you can see how our culture, how our teachings are still alive today,” she said. “They’ve been passed on and at the same time they’ve evolved. You can see just about every medium that’s out there: beadwork, carving, painting, mixed media and even kids’ artwork. There is also music, two tribal artists did music composition and the video portion. It really shows a good look into Tulalip artists today.”


Admission to the Hibulb Cultural Center is always free for Tulalip Tribal Members, for non-members admission is only $10 for adults with reduced rates for seniors, students and military. Children under five are free. The first Thursday of each month, admission is free to all visitors. For more information about the Hibulb Cultural Center visit the

HIbulb_cedar garmentsHIbulb_cedar garments2


HIbulb_drawing_bearHIbulb_drawing_faceHIbulb_jewelry_earringsHIbulb_collage HIbulb_wood_sun

Comic Book Heroes Get A Gorgeous Native American Makeover

Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man look truly stunning following a traditional, Pacific Northwest makeover.

By Mark Wilson

Jan 22, 2014

3025250-slide-thebatWe all know Batman when we see him, but he always looks a little different, depending on the artist. Whereas in the hands of Dick Sprang, Batman is a barrel-chested 1920s strong man, in the hands of Frank Miller, Batman is an ever-evolving shadow of sinew–a monster darker than the night itself.

Even still, we’d never seen Batman imagined as a Native American warrior before Jeffrey Veregge, an artist and member of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe (located just outside of Seattle), depicted him alongside Superman, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Flash through traditional Coast Salish design. Coast Salish is an art form unique to the Pacific Northwest, known for depicting the earth, sky, and its animals in distinctive, swooshing silhouettes.

“I want people get a chance to relate to an art form that has been used primarily to tell the tales of my people and heritage,” Veregge tells Co.Design. “I want to give other people an opportunity to see Native art tell the stories that many of us have grown up with, stories that transcend any single culture and can be embraced by all as their own.”

3025250-slide-starkNow most of you will recognize Veregge’s superheroes, but what of their intricate lines? To understand the shapes behind Coast Salish, know that its best, grounding metaphor is that of dropping a pebble in calm water. With that framework in mind, you can recognize the prominent circles in the work, rippling out in half-moon crescents and trigons (shark-tooth-like abstract spears with three tips).

It just so happens that the Coast Salish visual framework works superbly for superheroes, as the trigons fire your eyes across the forms like arrows midflight. So Batman’s cape seems to swoop him downward to an unsuspecting victim, while Flash appears to explode forth from his hips and shoulders.

The effect is dynamic enough to make you crave a whole comic drawn in Coastal Salish, but you’ll have to settle for Veregge’s prints, which are available from time to time, in limited edition, 50-print runs. He’ll also be making new works for EMP Museum in Seattle.

Hilbub Cultural Center features Tulalip artists in new exhibit

Cedar mask by Tulalip tribal artist Mike Gobin.Photo/Brandi N. Montreuil
Cedar mask by Tulalip tribal artist Mike Gobin.
Photo/Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

TULALIP – The Hibulb Cultural Center & Natural History Preserve will be featuring a variety of works by Tulalip artists in a new exhibit, Coast Salish Inheritance: Celebrating Artistic Innovation.

Opening November 16 and running through May 2014, the exhibit will feature a unique variety of traditional and contemporary art from Tulalip artists.

A collaborative effort between museum staff and Tulalip artists during the museum’s summer exhibit, Ramp if Up! Skateboarding Culture in Native America was the inspiration behind this exhibit.

“Our goal is to showcase the artists and talents we have right here,” said museum curator of collections, Tessa Campbell.

Works of art in a variety of mediums will be featured. Traditional pieces include cedar carving and weaving, sculpture, beadwork, and dream catcher weaving. Contemporary art will include mixed media, photography, painting, drawing, and musical composition.

Featured artists include Frank Madison, Tryone Patkoski, Steven Madison, Mike Dunn, Sr. Aaron Jones, Marie Moses, Michelle Myles, Judy Gobin, Ty Juvinel, Herman Williams, Sr. Kaiser Moses, Charlotte Williams, Shannon Edwards Pablo, David Spencer, Sr. Derek Jones, Virginia Jones, James Madison, and Katrina Lane and many more.

“Every artist is different, so in this display we wanted to showcase the unique variety of traditional Coast Salish art and modern abstract contemporary art that our artists are creating. This is a gallery of our artists, for our artists,” said museum public relations coordinator, Mytyl Hernandez.

For more information on the exhibit, please contact Tessa Campbell at 360-716-2646 or, or Mytyl Hernandez at 360-716-2650

Superheroes in Salish Design

Native artist Jeffrey Veregge embraces his nerdiness

Monica Brown, TulalipNews

Bio-shot-newJeffrey Veregge, a Port Gamble S’Klallam tribal member, has been creating art for most of his life. A few years ago, after exploring different art techniques, Jeffrey decided to mix two art forms he admires most, Salish form line with comic book super heroes and Sci-Fi. “I took what I like of Salish form line design, the elements and the spirit of it and decided to mix it with what I do as an artist and put my own take on it,” said Jeffrey about his latest art pieces.

His earlier work had a Picasso-esque theme that centered on native images. “I love cubist art. I like that it is messy but to be honest my heart wasn’t behind it [his earlier work], it wasn’t a true reflection of me,” explained Jeffrey. After taking a yearlong break to learn how to accept his nerd side, Jeffrey began to embrace his love of comic books, action figures and science fiction by recreating his favorite characters in the Salish design.

“Salish form line is beautiful and this felt like a natural extension. Comic books, Star Wars and all this stuff are equivalent to modern day myths and Salish art tells stories and myths,” said Jeffrey.

The sleek lines of the Salish design applied to superheroes such as Batman and Spiderman give them a solid and defined silhouette against a simple background. Because the placing of empty space against the background and the color contrast are both well thought out, the figures convey a sense of power and motion to the viewer. “I want to represent the comic characters in a good and noble way which they were intended,” said Jeffrey.

Last Son
Last Son
Courtesy of Jeffrey Veregge

Jeffrey is surprised and grateful for the success of his art, “A lot of native comic fans have approached me; a lot of support and wonderful emails, along with school programs asking for me to come show my work to inspire the students,” said Jeffrey.  With the support from the fans he intends to recreate many more comic and Sci-Fi characters. Currently in the works are Iron man and possibly Deapool. Jeffrey is also organizing his attendance to the Tacoma Jet City Comic Show this November, where he will have a booth and be doing an exclusive print for the show and to Seattle’s Emerald City Comicon March 2014.

Jeffrey studied Industrial Design at Seattle’s Art institute and the Salish form line from Master Carver David Boxley, a Tsimshian native from Metlakatla, Alaska. Prints are available for purchase through his website, . T-shirt designs and baseball hats will be available for purchase soon.

His art can be seen at, In the Spirit: Contemporary Northwest Native Arts Exhibit located in Tacoma, at the LTD Art Gallery in Seattle, The Burke Museum and The Washington State History Museum. Other recent art commissions include a piece commissioned for the Tulalip Youth Center for their Suicide prevention campaign, a Steer Clear campaign with the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board and a double sided mural in Edmonton, Alberta.

For more information please visit

Scarlett BlurCourtesy of Jeffrey Veregge
Scarlett Blur
Courtesy of Jeffrey Veregge

Weekend Activities at the Burke: Coast Salish Art

Burke Museum
Sat., Apr. 20, 2013 – Sun., Apr. 28, 2013
11 am –  3 pm
Included with museum admission; FREE for Burke members

Saturdays and Sundays in April, 11 am – 3 pm

Photo (c) Jack Storms/Storms PhotoGraphic.
Photo (c) Jack Storms/Storms PhotoGraphic.

Every weekend in April, enjoy Coast Salish art activities at the Burke. See Coast Salish artifacts not normally on display, and try your hand at a large weaving loom. Also join us for guided exhibit tours every Saturday at 1 pm.

The Burke Museum offers weekend activities throughout the year with themes changing monthly. Check our events page for updates on other upcoming weekend activities.

Tribal college fundraiser features real Coast Salish art

This year’s TL’aneq’ benefit dinner includes a live fashion show by international designer Dorothy Grant

Ryan Key-Wynne, Public Information Officer, Northwest Indian College
International designer Dorothy Grant, who is Kaigani Haida from Alaska, will host a live fashion show at Northwest Indian College’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Grant’s unique style combines traditional Haida artwork with contemporary clothing for an effect that has gained her worldwide acclaim. Photo courtesy of Dorothy Grant
International designer Dorothy Grant, who is Kaigani Haida from Alaska, will host a live fashion show at Northwest Indian College’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Grant’s unique style combines traditional Haida artwork with contemporary clothing for an effect that has gained her worldwide acclaim. Photo courtesy of Dorothy Grant

On April 12, Northwest Indian College (NWIC) will host its 5th Annual TL’aneq’: Gathering for a Celebration benefit dinner and Native cultural arts and experiences auction from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Swinomish Casino & Lodge. The event is the college’s biggest fundraising event of the year and – this year – will also celebrate NWIC’s 30th anniversary.

“I am truly looking forward to this year’s TL’aneq’ benefit dinner. This is a great opportunity to celebrate Coast Salish art and culture and share a meal and laughter, all while raising money to support our students,” NWIC President Justin Guillory said. “This has been a successful event, and we want to continue to build on that success by bringing friends and supporters of NWIC together in a good way for a good cause.”
The evening will begin with a silent auction, during which attendees will have a chance to bid on Coast Salish art – including paintings, carvings, jewelry and woven pieces – and they can speak directly with artists who have donated their work for the event. After that, a four-course dinner featuring fresh salmon, storytelling, a live fashion show and live auction will begin.
“You never know what will happen during the live auction,” said Ryan Key-Wynne, NWIC’s public information officer. “Last year, one of our supporters commandeered the mic and pleaded with others in the room to bid with her on a cultural experience. She said the experience would be a good opportunity to make new friends.”
Key-Wynne explained that bidding is usually competitive, with people bidding against each other, not with each other.
“Our auctioneer just stood there laughing, waiting for her to hand the mic back,” Key-Wynne said. “It was unprecedented, but very funny and the combined bid raised more than she would have contributed on her own.”
Coast Salish artists are the backbone of the TL’aneq’ fundraiser. Art, including this carving by Steven Charlie of the Squamish Nation, is donated by the artists each year and all of the profits help support a selected NWIC project or program. This year, all funds raised will go toward scholarships for NWIC students. Photo courtesy of NWIC
Coast Salish artists are the backbone of the TL’aneq’ fundraiser. Art, including this carving by Steven Charlie of the Squamish Nation, is donated by the artists each year and all of the profits help support a selected NWIC project or program. This year, all funds raised will go toward scholarships for NWIC students. Photo courtesy of NWIC
This year’s live auction will be preceded by a fashion show by international designer Dorothy Grant, who is Kaigani Haida from Alaska. Grant’s unique style combines traditional Haida artwork with contemporary clothing for an effect that has gained her worldwide acclaim.
“We are honored that Dorothy Grant will be joining our efforts at the college’s premier gala. Her fashion show willbe a lot of fun, especially with our student models,” said Greg Masten, director of NWIC’s Development Office, which organizes the event.
Last year, the event raised nearly $100,000, which helped NWIC match a $500,000 award from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the college’s new Coast Salish Institute Building.
Funds from this year’s event will go toward supporting NWIC student scholarships. NWIC, which is the only tribal college in Washington and Idaho, has a student body that represents more than 120 tribes from across the nation.
“It’s a misconception that Native students get their education paid for.Scholarships mean a lot to our students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college and who are working toward four and two year degrees so they can help their tribal communities,” Masten said.
Individual tickets are available for $250 or table sponsorships are available from $2,500 to $20,000.
NWIC would like to thank sponsors for the 5h Annual TL’aneq:
·         Premier Sponsor: Lummi Indian Business Council
·         Host Sponsor: Swinomish Tribe
·         Exclusive Reception Sponsor: Tulalip Tribes
·         Lengesot Patron Sponsors at the $5,000 level: the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, and the Snoqualmie Tribe
·         Cedar Sponsors at the $2,500 level: The Boeing Company, Puget Sound Energy, Morgan Stanley, and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe
NWIC would also like to acknowledge and thank Judy Mich for her continued generosity of a $15,000 sponsorship, and give a special thanks to the generosity of the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians.
For more information, to donate to the event or to buy a ticket or sponsor a table, contact Development Office staff Mariah Dodd at (360) 392-4217 or or Colleen Baker at (360) 392- 4305 or

Coast Salish Art Programs at the Burke

April 2013
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
Seattle, WA

First Woman. Yellow Cedar.By Luke Marston. Photo by Armstrong Creative.
First Woman. Yellow Cedar.
By Luke Marston. Photo by Armstrong Creative.

Seattle – The Burke Museum is pleased to offer a variety of programs featuring the groundbreaking artwork of Coast Salish artists. In April, attend a discussion panel with practicing artists, see art demonstrations and talk to artists about their work, and view Coast Salish art from the Burke Museum collections.

Discussion Panel: Coast Salish Art in the 21st Century
Friday, April 5, 2013 • Kane Hall 120, UW Campus • 7 pm

Coast Salish artists are using computer graphics, laser cutters, and glass hot shops, as well as adzes, knives, and looms to bring traditional forms into the 21st century. Join a panel of artists lead by Shaun Peterson as they share the challenges and rewards of transporting the vision of their grandparents into the modern world.

Panelists include artists Heather Johnson-Jock, lessLIE, Luke Marston, and Danielle Morsette.

FREE for all and open to the public. Pre-registration recommended. Reserve your seat today at

Special Event: Coast Salish Art & Artists Day
Saturday, April 6, 2013 • Burke Museum • 10 am – 3 pm

Explore artwork and demonstrations by notable Coast Salish artists in mediums such as weaving, sculpture, and print-making. Attend film screenings, and try your hand at a communal weaving piece on a large loom.

Art demonstrations include:

  • Coast Salish weaving on tabletop and upright frame looms
  • Cedar bark basketry weaving
  • Hand spinning yarn with a spindle whorl
  • Acrylic on paper pieces
  • Film screenings of Teachings of the Tree People: The Work of Bruce Miller and Killer Whale and Crocodile

Participating artists include Bill and Fran James, Heather Johnson-Jock, lessLIE, Luke Marston, Danielle Morsette, and Karen Reed.

Included with museum admission; FREE for Burke members.

Coast Salish Art programs are supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and 4Culture.

Weekend Activities @ the Burke: Coast Salish Art
Saturdays & Sundays in April • Burke Museum • 11 am – 3 pm
Every weekend in April, enjoy Coast Salish art activities at the Burke. See Coast Salish weaving pieces not normally on display, and try your hand at a large weaving loom. Also enjoy guided exhibit tours every Saturday at 1 pm.

Included with museum admission; FREE for Burke members.

The Burke Museum is located on the University of Washington campus, at the corner of NE 45th St. and 17th Ave. NE. Hours are 10 am to 5 pm daily, and until 8 pm on first Thursdays. Admission: $10 general, $8 senior, $7.50 student/ youth. Admission is free to children four and under, Burke members, UW students, faculty, and staff. Admission is free to the public on the first Thursday of each month. Prorated parking fees are $15 and partially refundable upon exit if paid in cash. Call 206-543-5590 or visit The Burke Museum is an American Association of Museums accredited museum.

To request disability accommodation, contact the Disability Services Office at: 206.543.6450 (voice), 206.543.6452 (TTY), 206.685.7264 (fax), or email at The University of Washington makes every effort to honor disability accommodation requests. Requests can be responded to most effectively if received as far in advance of the event as possible, preferably at least 10 days.


Providence partners with Tulalip Tribes to offer support to tribal members during medical care

Article by Monica Brown, photos by Brandi N. Montreuil

Tulalip Community RoomTULALIP, Wash.- Recently Providence Medical Center and Tulalip Tribes have been strengthening their relationship so that both may benefit; staff at Providence will have more knowledge about what tribal member’s needs are in times of crisis and tribal members will feel more at ease while in the their care.

The old surgery waiting room has been remolded and is designed to accommodate traditional practices when tribal members are hospitalized.   The new room called the Tulalip Community Room has been set-aside for tribal members to use and features a variety of sitting areas, a TV, phone, a small kitchenette, a computer with Internet access. The room also features elegantly carved art pieces by James Madison and Joe Gobin that decorate the walls,Tulalip Community Room and a large timeline of Tulalip Tribes history welcomes visitors as they walk in.

Tulalip Community Room is designed to provide comfort and privacy for family members and space to accommodate large gatherings.

“Especially in crisis time, all of our friends and family want to be there to give them [each other] a handshake, a hug. That’s how we are during crisis,” stated Don about the larger and quieter rooms.

Tribal member Dale Jones reads the Tulalip Tribes Past & Present timeline piece.
Tribal member Dale Jones reads the Tulalip Tribes Past & Present timeline piece.

Providence and Tulalip plan to meet every six months in order to address any underlying issues that may occur while tribal members are hospitalized.

“You’re an important and special part of our community,” said CEO of Providence Medical Center David Brooks. “I appreciate meeting here today and having open communications.”


Monica Brown: 360-716-4189;