UW Bothell empowers Native American students to plan for college

Photo/Micheal Rios

Photo/Micheal Rios

 

by Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The University of Washington Bothell held its 3rd annual Reaching American Indian Nations (RAIN) event Friday, February 6. It was a day dedicated to preparing American Indian, Alaskan Native, and First Nations students with the tools necessary to access higher education. Students interacted with UW Bothell and Cascadia College students, staff and faculty, engaged with speakers, and participated in cultural and educational workshops.

Native high school students and faculty from Native American educational programs from all across Washington State were invited to attend RAIN 2015. Amongst those who attended were tribal students from Tulalip, Puyallup, Yakima, Port Gamble S’Klallam, La Conner, Central Kitsap, Edmonds Indian program, and representatives from Tacoma.

“We have created this culturally relevant event where we can bring amazing people out to speak on all the reasons you, as a Native American high school student, should go to college, and to explain why higher education is important as a Native American person. How can you use it to connect to your community or be more a part of your community or work for your community,” explains Rachael Meares, Native American Outreach Coordinator for UW Bothell. “We just hope that they get that idea here. It doesn’t matter if they want to attend this campus or another college. We invite Northwest Indian College out and we have Cascadia College here, so they can see their college options. We just want them to think about planning for college.”

This year’s RAIN attendance was by far the highest in its history. In 2013, the first year RAIN was held, only  Tulalip Heritage high school students were participants. The following year there were roughly 55-60 students from tribes all over the state. This year the attendance nearly doubled with an estimated 110 Native students participating.

The inspiration that led to UW Bothell creating RAIN three years ago happened right here on the Tulalip Reservation. It was during a routine admission workshop that Rachael Meares was undertaking at Tulalip Heritage High School that inspiration struck. The junior and senior high school students at Tulalip Heritage were so eager to participate in her workshop and to learn of the opportunities available at UW Bothell that Meares thought it would be really beneficial for the students to spend a day at the UW Bothell campus, participating in various workshops,  exploring and learning about the campus, and receiving an alternative college perspective that wouldn’t otherwise be available to them here on the reservation.

A few months later, the entire Tulalip Heritage High School student body, with chaperoning teachers, spent a day at the UW Bothell campus learning about the university and opportunities available only a short thirty minute drive south on I-5. That day marked the first culturally relevant outreach event for Native American students, which was given the name Reaching American Indian Nations, or more commonly referred to as RAIN. The next year Meares and her colleagues from the UW Bothell Division of Enrollment Management extended invites to Tulalip Heritage and other tribal schools across Washington. The event has continued to grow with an increasing number of tribal students attending and more workshops being offered.

“Before RAIN our Native American student admission numbers were like five, six, or ten some years. Now we have eighty-three Native American students enrolled and attending UW Bothell. Our Native American student population has grown a lot over the last few years and we want to continue building upon that momentum RAIN has given us,” states Meares, who also carries the title of Admissions Advisor and Recruiter for UW Bothell.

At this year’s RAIN event the keynote speaker was the Executive Director of Chief Seattle Club, and member of the Pawnee tribe, Colleen Echohawk who gave a very passionate speech to her tribal student audience. Echohawk told her story of growing up in remote Alaska, not just living off the land but living with it, and how attending college opened up opportunities she had never imagined.

“Be brave, be strong, be bold and stay connected. You are the indigenous voice and are on a hero’s journey,” Echohawk said to the tribal students in their pursuit of higher education. “We are not just surviving, we are thriving.”

After a light breakfast, introductions of the coordinating event staff, and the keynote speech, the students chose two out of five available on-site workshops to attend. Keeping the idea of cultural relevancy in play, each workshop was specifically tailored to the Native American student pursuing higher education. The workshops were also led by a Native American staff members of UW Bothell.

“Paying for College” Financial Aid and Funding Resources workshop was led by Danette Iyall (Nez Perce), Director of Financial Aid. This workshop provided a unique opportunity for the students to meet with UW Bothell’s Director of Financial Aid to learn about the many ways to fund their education through grants, scholarships, loans and more. Students were introduced to the FAFSA as well as University funding resources such as the Husky Promise.

“Airplanes” Opportunities at Boeing workshop was led by Dr. Deanna Kennedy (Cherokee), UW Bothell Assistant Professor. This workshop allowing the tribal students to experience the interactive UW Bothell student classroom. Students got a feel of the UW Bothell classroom lecture about Boeing productions processes and learned first-hand about academic approaches in the School of Business and career pathways.

“Pathways to College” was led by Sara Gomez Taylor, Cascadia College Outreach Specialist. Students learned about the admissions process and the vast opportunities for academic growth from representatives from three college settings; 2-year institution, 4-year institution, and Tribal College.

UW Bothell Wetlands Tour was led by Alice Tsoodle (Kiowa), Islandwood Instructor and UW Bothell Alum. Students learned about the restoration design and how the campus and students have influenced the UW Bothell ecosystem. Participants left with a better understanding of how this campus resource is used in the classroom.

The fifth workshop offered was the Campus Tour led by current UW Bothell students. The campus visitors got to see all that UW Bothell has to offer thought current student perspective; classrooms, café’s, housing, sports field, library, and much more. A highlight of the campus tour was a walkthrough of the 3-story high student library. The UW Bothell student library features Native American artwork from tribal artists near and far. For the students participating in the tour they were happy to see artwork from their culture being so stunningly displayed throughout the campus library.

Among the tribal student attendees was Oceana Alday, Tulalip tribal member and current senior at Marysville Getchell High School. She is also a Running Start student in her 3rd quarter at Northwest Indian College. Alday expressed her enthusiasm for RAIN and hopes more Tulalip high school students attend in the future.

“Attending RAIN, I think Tulalip high school students could learn that there are college alternatives other than attending EvCC or NWIC,” says Alday. “They can consider their options at UW Bothell and Cascadia College. We have a few tribal members who attend UW and WSU, so I think they can see other options besides those close to the reservation.”

 

Contact Micheal Rios at tulaliptribes-nsn.gov 

Art Of The American West Comes To The Tacoma Art Museum

Buffalo At Sunset by John NietoTACOMA ART MUSEUM, HAUB FAMILY COLLECTION

Buffalo At Sunset by John Nieto
TACOMA ART MUSEUM, HAUB FAMILY COLLECTION

 

By Jennifer Wing, KPLU

Images of the American West line the walls of a brand new addition to the Tacoma Art Museum. The collection, a gift from a German family with ties to the Northwest, is a once-in-a-lifetime acquisition that is raising the museum’s profile.

The transformation of the Tacoma Art Museum over the last two years began with a phone call between the museum’s director and the lawyer for Erivan and Helga Haub. The museum was looking for a donation to help with the redesign of its lobby. But Laura Fry with the museum says the Haubs, through their lawyer, made an incredible and unexpected offer.

“He said, ‘Well, would you be interested in their collection of Western American art?’” Fry said.

That conversation resulted in the new 16,000-square foot addition designed by Tom Kundig. It houses four galleries that contain what is now one of the top collections of Western American art in the world. The collection boasts 295 paintings and bronze sculptures, 130 are currently on view. The Haubs also gave money for the construction of the new wing and set up endowments for 10 new positions, including Fry’s, who is the collection’s curator.

 

Albert Bierstadt, Departure of an Indian War Party, 1865

Albert Bierstadt, Departure of an Indian War Party, 1865
CREDIT TACOMA AT MUSEUM, HAUB FAMILY COLLECTION

 

“This is the biggest donation of artwork in the Tacoma Art Museum’s History,” said Fry. “In 79 years of operating, this is our single biggest gift. So this really does transform the institution.”

By this point, you’re probably wondering: Who are the Haubs?

“Erivan and Helga Haub are from Germany. They also have a home here in Tacoma and a ranch in Wyoming,” said Fry.

The Haubs made billions in the grocery store business. They came to the U.S. after World War II and honeymooned near Tacoma. Because the medical care was better here than in Germany at the time, all three of their children were born at Tacoma General Hospital.

In a video produced by the museum, Erivan Haub says his dream of seeing the American West started when he was young and read books by Karl May. The stories glorified the plains Indians of the American West. They were as popular in Germany at the time as the Harry Potter series is today.

“The story of the west I had learned long before I ever came to the west through Karl May who was a famous German author that made me hungry to get to see this and to get to experience it myself. So we made it to America and never regretted one moment of it,” said Haub.

Cinematic images of the American West dominate the Haub collection. Wide open plains, blue skies hanging over mountains and rivers and Native Americans in formal dress.

Fry points to a painting, two feet tall and three feet wide, of a buffalo grazing on the wide prairie. As real and detailed as a photograph, the image by Nancy Glaizer is called Birds of a Feather. This is the first piece the Haubs bought in 1983. It’s the painting that started the collection.

“It shows a group of bison in Yellowstone park,” said Fry.” Here you have this proud bison bull. He’s rendered in this photographic detail. But you have little birds resting on his back. It shows how he’s part of the whole ecosystem even though he’s this giant bull. These little tiny birds are still benefiting from his presence. It’s showing the whole cycle in Yellowstone.”

The Haubs, who are now in their 80s, both lived through WWII and avoided artworks with images of violence. Helga Haub says the couple never started off with a master plan for their art.

“We did not collect with vision of ever giving it to a museum. We only collected what we liked,” she said.

As artworks filled up the walls and shelves in their homes they started purchasing with more guidance from professional galleries. Some of the standout works include Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington. This is the image printed on the dollar bill. It’s from 1791 and is the oldest piece in the collection.

There is also Piñions with Cedar, the museum’s first painting by Georgia O’Keeffe. Fry says the painting of a bare leafed tree in the desert can be used as a bargaining chip.

 

Piñions with Cedar by Georgia O'Keeffe, 1956

Piñions with Cedar by Georgia O’Keeffe, 1956
CREDIT TACOMA ART MUSEUM, HAUB FAMILY COLLECTION

 

“It will give us a greater ability to borrow from other institutions to bring really wonderful works here,” Fry said.

Images and sculptures depicting Native Americans from the Northwest are absent from the collection. To bring the Native American perspective into the fold, the museum is asking prominent native artists to comment on specific pieces in the collection. Their honest, and sometimes critical, reflections are part of the exhibit.

Marvin Oliver, a Seattle-based premier Native American printmaker and sculptor, is thrilled TAM has this collection, but says many of the paintings aren’t historically accurate. To really know what you are seeing Oliver says you need to read the labels to understand the context in which the pieces were made.

“Some people will say, ‘Gee, you know this is really glorifying the noble savage and the beautiful maiden,’ whatever, you know. But you don’t know what the intention is. it kind of puts it in a stereotypical category. It’s up to the museum to document and identify each and every piece that has the correct labeling. And they’ve done a pretty good job of that,” Oliver said.

Over the years Erivan And Helga Haub have supported other Tacoma institutions. They’ve contributed to the Museum of Glass, the LeMay Car Museum and the University of Washington’s Tacoma campus.

In a Seattle Times article about the Haubs in 1994, Erivan foreshadowed what we see today. He told the reporter, “If I construct anything, there it must be extraordinary, something Tacoma can be proud of.”

Native Art Mart – Daybreak Star, Nov 22 and Dec 20

art_mart_web

 

The Native Art Mart is Saturday, November 22, 10am – 4pm
Get your Holiday Gifts at our Art Mart at Daybreak Star in Discovery Park! Nov15th and Nov 22nd and Dec 20th.

Holiday Shopping at the Annual Art Mart at Daybreak Star!

Beautiful work by Native American Artists, Salmon, Fry Bread, Entertainment and Great Music.

Benefit for United Indians Elder Meals and Community Programs.

Buy Local, Buy Authentic

Native American artists will be selling and showcasing handmade authentic arts and crafts. UIATF is in full support of The Indian Arts and Crafts Act. This is a free event open to the public.
http://www.unitedindians.org/arts-culture/indian-art-mart/

Art project teaches youth about domestic violence

Heritage High School students are using art and social media to learn about domestic abuse and how to prevent it.  Photo\Brandi N. Montreuil

Heritage High School students are using art and social media to learn about domestic abuse and how to prevent it. Photo\Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

 

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

TULALIP – Every October the nation is splashed with a dose of bright pink, as result of a national campaign to bring attention to breast cancer. This campaign has resulted in an increased number of early detection screenings and a decrease in death rates since 1989. Since 1987, purple ribbons have begun to be associated with the month as well, as a result of the domestic violence awareness and education campaign. Both campaigns have resulted in successful lifesaving education. However, incidents of domestic violence are still at epidemic proportions.

To bring awareness to the dangers of intimate partner violence happening in her community, Heritage High School art teacher Cerissa Gobin, decided to use the platform of the popular social media trend ‘women crush Wednesdays,’ to educate and engage students about the dangers of domestic violence and teen-dating violence.  Instead of picking a women who is admired for beauty as the crush of the day, Gobin is asking students to think about Native women who are missing or murdered as a result of intimate partner violence.

“In the spirit of ‘women crush Wednesday,’ I wanted the class to do some research on the missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada. It really is an issue that affects all us women around the world, because we, as Native women, are the ones that are the least represented and the ones that are highly victimized,” said Gobin, who is also a Tulalip tribal member.

As part of the in-class project, students are researching the current statistics of aboriginal women murdered and missing in Canada, along with the current statistics of domestic violence in Indian country. Students are also learning about dating violence experienced in their own age group. Students will then use the research they have completed to create a piece using art mediums such as poetry, multi-media, sculpture, photography, painting, drawing, or sculpture. The project will need to include statistics and what the student has learned.

 

Tulalip Tribes Councilwoman Deborah Parker spoke to the students about putting an end to abuse.

Tulalip Tribes Councilwoman Deborah Parker spoke to the students about putting an end to abuse. Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

 

 

In support of the student project, Tulalip Tribes Councilwoman Deborah Parker gave a special presentation about her work in educating the public about the plight of First Nations women and her work regarding Violence Against Women Act.

“It is not an easy conversation that our fathers or even mothers have had with our young men,” said Parker, to a dozen male and female students during her presentation on September 25. “How do we treat our women? Sometimes we see how our dad treated our mom and that is the way we treat our partners, or how our moms treated our dads, because domestic violence can go both ways. We have broken systems here in Tulalip, but also throughout our indigenous communities. It is a difficult issue to talk about. Nobody wants to talk about sexual assault and physical abuse.”

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “on average, nearly 20 people per minute are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner in the United States.” These statistics mean that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience some form of domestic violence from their intimate partner, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion or nationality.

In Indian country the statistics are even more alarming. According to a 2008 Centers for Disease Control study, “39 percent of Native women in the U.S. identified as victims of intimate partner violence in their lifetime, a rate higher than any other race of ethnicity surveyed.” The report also points out that most crimes go unreported due to a belief that nothing will be done.

According to the CDC teen-dating violence is defined as, “physical, sexual, or psychological/emotional violence within a dating relationship, as well as stalking.” The CDC also states that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men in high school reported experiencing abuse from their partner while dating. And “many teens do not report abuse because they are afraid to tell friends or family. Teens often think some behaviors, like teasing and name calling are a ‘normal’ part of a relationship.”

Although many school districts, including the Marysville School District, have a zero tolerance policy towards bullying in any form, many incidents of dating violence that happen within school boundaries are never reported.

“It is not only my goal, but the goal of the Tulalip Board of Directors and the goal of our Tribe, that we stop this type of abuse. We stop the madness and we stop putting down each other, whether you are male or female. To our men, if you think this issue is not about you, it is absolutely about you. Part of your role historically as Native men is to promote our women. It is not to harm. It is not to hurt, to disregard, but to uphold our women,” said Parker.

“I don’t want to see our kids bullied. I don’t want to see our young kids raped and abused. People ask me why I am so passionate about this, it is because I was one of those kids. I was one of those kids who were abused. You are the heartbeat of our nation. You are the heartbeat of our people. I don’t want you to walk away from here today feeling disempowered. You are never alone. We stand together,” said Parker.

For more information about teen-dating violence, please visit the website www.loveisrespect.org. If you feel you may be a victim of domestic violence or have questions, please contact the 24/7 hotline at 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 22522. You may also contact the Tulalip Legacy of Healing Advocacy Center & Safe House at 360-716-4100.

 

Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402: bmontreuil@tulalipnews.com

Native Nations treaty exhibit opens Sept. 21 at NMAI

treaties-exhibit

Source: Native Times

 

WASHINGTON – The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian will open the “Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations” exhibit Sept. 21 during the museum’s 10th anniversary on the National Mall.

The exhibit is the museum’s most ambitious effort yet, presenting the Native nations’ individual treaties side-by-side in their largest historical collection ever presented to an audience. The exhibition focuses on eight treaties representing the approximately 374 ratified between the United States and the Native nations, on loan from the National Archives. Each document details and solidifies the diplomatic agreements between the United States and the neighboring Native nations.

More than 125 objects, including art and artifacts, from the museum’s collection and private lenders will be featured, including the Navajo blanket owned by Gen. William Sherman, a collection of Plains nations pipes and beaded pipe bags, peace medals given to Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and the sword and scabbard of Andrew Jackson.

Video installations, archival photographs, wampum belts, textiles, baskets and peace medals highlight each historical moment and help tell the story of the early ancestors of the Native nations and their efforts to live side-by-side at the birth of the United States.

The exhibit will be on display through Sept. 1, 2018. The NMAI’s hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. It is closed on Dec. 25. Admission is free. The museum is located at 4th St. and Independence Ave. SW.

To learn more about the exhibit, email asia.romero@edelman.com, or call 202-772-4294.

Students’ work featured at Longhouse Gallery

Northwest Indian College Tulalip campus student Monica McAlister discusses her glass mosaic piece featuring a fused glass hummingbird to Northwest Indian College Art Classes exhibit guests. The exhibit is available until August at the Peninsula College's Lonhouse Art Gallery.Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Northwest Indian College Tulalip campus student Monica McAlister discusses her glass mosaic piece featuring a fused glass hummingbird to Northwest Indian College Art Classes exhibit guests. The exhibit is available until August at the Peninsula College’s Lonhouse Art Gallery.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

PORT ANGELES – Student artwork from the Northwest Indian College Tulalip Campus traveled 96 miles to the Longhouse Art Gallery at Peninsula College for a first-time exhibit. Northwest Indian College Art Classes is a compilation of the work of a dozen students and art instructor Bob Mitchell, which features art produced during NWIC’s winter quarter.

Pieces included glass mosaics, basketry, beading, and handmade jewelry using various art mediums. The exhibit’s centerpiece is a large story pole made with fused glass, featuring students’ Native American culture using animal designs.

On June 5, the Peninsula College held a VIP opening, welcoming local guests and students.

“The class has really expanded,” said Bob Mitchell, who began teaching art at the Tulalip campus five years ago. “We are doing glass fusing and jewelry. I can look over in class and see basket weaving and

Northwest Indian College Art Classes exhibit shown at Peninsula College's Longhouse Art Gallery features a large fused glass story pole. Each panel was designed by NWIC student and reflects the Native American culture of each student. Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Northwest Indian College Art Classes exhibit shown at Peninsula College’s Longhouse Art Gallery features a large fused glass story pole. Each panel was designed by NWIC student and reflects the Native American culture of each student.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

people passing on those skills to other people. The class is pretty student directed and the story pole is a good example of that. I came in with the idea and the frame, and we started thinking about how we could incorporate it into class. We gave everybody a panel and decided to do a theme and let everybody interpret it based on their culture. The student directive was they wanted to use traditional colors red, black, yellow, and white. We fused it and we finished with mosaic triangles that are a representation of bear claws from Tulalip.”

The story pole’s success means that future classes will be designing their own story poles. “The students bring a lot to the class with their skills. I feel very honored a lot of the time being in the class working alongside them. We need to show off what they are doing, so this is pretty impressive,” explained Mitchell.

Current NWIC Tulalip campus student Monica McAlister, whose work in the exhibit includes basketry and glass mosaics, said working on the exhibit and class project helped to keep her connected to her Yurok culture.

“Being at NWIC is like a home away from home. It connects you to culture and with people that support you. It is really uplifting to be able to get that sense of community, which for me was lacking for a long time because I am not from here. I took Bob’s class in 2012 and I fell in love with glass art. Art is such a big part of my life now and it makes me happy, and this all started because of NWIC.”

The Peninsula College Longhouse Art Gallery will be showing the original artwork of Bob Mitchell and students from NWIC now through August. The exhibit features NWIC Tulalip campus students Monica McAlister, Louis Michell, Denise Michell, Ed Hill, Shirley Jack, Alicia Horne, Sarah Andres, Teesha Osias, Annette Napeahi, Raven Hunter, Tatiana Crawford, Mark Hansen, and John Martin.

For more information on the exhibit please visit www.pencol.edu.

 

Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402; bmontreuil@tulalipnews.com

 

‘It becomes new’: Port Gamble S’Klallam skatepark is a work of art

The skatepark may help bolster relationships with people from outside the reservation.

The skatepark may help bolster relationships with people from outside the reservation.

 

By Kipp Roberston, North Kitsap Herald

Editor’s note: This version expands a comment in the 20th paragraph to clarify how the skatepark and the art will be a mechanism for sharing S’Klallam culture.

LITTLE BOSTON — It was almost midday at the Port Gamble S’Klallam skatepark, and Louie Gong and Josh Wisniewski were preparing to put some final touches on the art sprayed onto the cement.

The two were discussing the collaboration that resulted in a skatepark that was more than a place for people to skateboard. Then, the sound of wings overhead as an eagle flew above, almost directly over a Coast Salish painting of an eagle.

Maybe the eagle was a sign. “Or not, maybe. Maybe [it] just is,” said Wisniewski, the Tribe’s archeologist and cultural anthropologist.

The Tribe will celebrate the official opening of the skatepark in April. It’s a project that started in 2012, after the project was chosen as the best skatepark project — from hundreds of submissions — via social media through the Sheckler Foundation.

The foundation, founded by professional skateboarder Ryan Sheckler, assists projects that benefit and enrich the lives of children and injured athletes. It was the foundation’s first project.

The Tribe provided the site for the project, near the Teekalet neighborhood. The site was selected by the S’Klallams Working and Giving (SWAG) youth group.

After the site was selected, Angelique Zaki of the foundation visited Little Boston to help plan the skatepark’s development. She connected the Tribe’s planning department with Grindline Skateparks, a skatepark developer in Seattle which has built more than 120 parks — from Okinawa, Japan, to Orcas Island to Oxford, Miss. Grindline donated its design services, Zaki said.

Other project partners: Map Ltd., construction and civil engineers of Silverdale, surveying services; Krazan & Associates of Poulsbo, soils testing; and Coho Concrete of Kingston, concrete laying.

Gong said he received a grant through the Evergreen Longhouse to help with costs, mainly travel between his home and the Port Gamble S’Klallam reservation.

The skatepark has become more than just another place to skate. It reflects the Tribe’s youth and culture.

“The artwork here in the park is really meant to reflect the people and interest of who the park belongs to,” Gong said.

Gong, an artist of Nooksack and Chinese ancestry, was one of the driving forces behind the skatepark art. Gong produces Coast Salish art in various forms — among them shoes, skateboard decks and home decor — for his company, Eighth Generation. He was contacted by Wisniewski and invited to participate.

Gong worked with SWAG on what art they would like to see at the park. He took that info back to his office in Seattle and made mockups of the designs and potential color templates on his computer.

Gong and S’Klallam youth then used high-end spray paint, with stencils and masking tape at times, to piece together the art.

The art project was mostly completed within March. The result is a colorful and cultural skating experience.

Breaking barriers

When a non-tribal member steps onto the skatepark they will see an eagle, orca, canoe, and two phrases written in S’Klallam: “It becomes new,” and “We are Noo-Kayet S’Klallam.” “It becomes new” is the closest language equivalent to “Be the Change,” the Sheckler Foundation’s campaign.

It’s almost like a stamp. “You walk into that park, and the first thing you see is ‘Port Gamble S’Klallam,’ ”  Wisniewski said.

The artwork was a way to reflect the youth — not only as S’Klallam, but as the people who brought the skatepark into the community, he said. And that’s not being done in an exclusionary way, but as a way to show respect for the youths’ hard work.

“People have perceptions of Native people and communities,” Wisniewski said. “This park is something that kids who are Tribal members can invite their off-reservation friends to come visit. In doing so and sharing the park and the art, they will be able to share their community, culture and language. That is how the park and skateboarding will break down barriers.”

Already a lot of interest in park

The skatepark is technically open to the S’Klallam community and guests. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t growing interest in the park from outside of the community.

As boxes of spray paint cans and stencils were being pulled out of a supply shed so a few more artistic features could be added to the park, two men pulled into the adjacent parking lot. They wanted to know when the park would be open. Because painting was going on, they were turned away.

Apparently, interested skaters have become common at the park, which hasn’t officially opened.

Wisniewski said skateboarding is growing in popularity within Native American communities. A “cultural event,” he called it.

The skatepark will also give S’Klallam youth another recreational opportunity. Other than the skatepark, there is a playground, gym and basketball court. There is not a lot of recreation for older kids in Little Boston, Wisniewski said.

“If you don’t have a place for kids to do stuff, they won’t do it,” he said.

When finished, the S’Klallam skatepark will be one of four skateparks in the area. Other skateparks are located in Kingston, at Raab Park in Poulsbo, and at Clear Creek Park in Silverdale.

In Your Teepee will bring tribal culture and activism to the everyman

InTeepee_04

By Niki Cleary, Tulalip News

At 32, Deshawn Joseph has already lived the life of an addict, cleaned up and is currently father to three children and founder of In Your TeePee, a small art and apparel business dedicated to giving back.

“In your TeePee is a reflection of what’s in your closet, but not just your closet, your home, your people, where you live and what you represent. I want to follow my culture and bring back pride in the Indian Community through exposure of art, political awareness and philanthropy. I want to give these teachings to the youth, show them that there are bigger and brighter things than just this reservation and your own family. I want to show that our people are resilient, we’re strong, creative and we have passion.

“In Your TeePee isn’t just about pride,” Joseph continued. “It’s about being humble, in a conducive manner for our youth. It’s a group of people working together, all native based and working for a brighter future. I started this with the free promotion of art. I’m not wealthy, I’m a full-time deckhand just trying to make it work, but I want to give back.”

InTeepee_02

Although Joseph is the founder and provides the vision behind In Your TeePee, the company is run more like a co-operative for artists.

“I know artists out there who are very talented, but may not have the time, money or ability to promote themselves. I’m currently working with five artists at this time, all Native American. I don’t necessarily want to be the front line person. Multiple people have stepped forward to say, ‘I like what you’re doing.’ It’s so exciting. Chad Charlie, a comedian with Rez2Rez, wants to be the face of In Your TeePee. I have four categories: Apparel, Art, Music and Community. We also want to give back to the community through public speaking. We’re against drugs, gangs and want to prevent suicide. This isn’t just for me, this is for our people.”

In Your TeePee has featured artwork by Toni Jo Gobin (Tulalip), Clint Cambell (Ojibwe), Daniel Mayotte (Red Lake Band of Chippewa), and Aaron Hamilton (Yakama).

InTeepee_07

“I’m not an artist,” Joseph confessed. “I want to say I’m the creative mind behind the art. The people who do my art, I give them an idea and let them do the art their way. I never did art, I’ve tried, but I just don’t have that touch with my hands, but I can image it in my mind.”

Although his only storefronts are Facebook and a booth at tribal gatherings, Joseph has big dreams for expanding the brand.

“I have ideas for Zumies and Pac Sun. These stores aren’t necessarily Native, but they do carry political t-shirts. If I could get a shirt into Zumies, that could really solidify us. For now I’m strictly on-line and doing Native American gatherings.”

Joseph’s dream for In Your TeePee started years ago; he credits his family, especially his children Jaylen (13), Caleb (11) and Tamiah (9), with motivating him to launch.

“Native American’s are just like a star quilt. Each generation is stitched to the next. My grandmother is Loretta James. My mom’s father is Douglas Jefferson from Lummi. My mom is Carmen Burke, she’s always interested me in my art, dancing and fashion. That’s where I started this love of fashion. And just me being a father, I want my children in the best position to succeed. I’ve turned my life around and hopefully my children can see that their father is leading by example.”

For more information about In Your TeePee find it on Facebook or email inyourteepee@gmail.com. If you’d like to share your business with the community, please contact the See-Yaht-Sub at editor@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov.

InTeepee_06InTeepee_01

Native American travels across U.S. photographing citizens of tribal nations

Courtesy Matika WilburJenni Parker, right, and granddaughter Sharlyse Parker of the Northern Cheyenne tribe pose in Lame Deer, Mont., in August.

Courtesy Matika Wilbur
Jenni Parker, right, and granddaughter Sharlyse Parker of the Northern Cheyenne tribe pose in Lame Deer, Mont., in August.

By Simon Moya-Smith, Staff Writer, NBC News

She sleeps on couches, dines with strangers and lives out of her car. Still, Matika Wilbur does it for the art and for the people.

Wilbur is Native American. Invariably strapped to her arm is a camera, and other than a few provisions and clothing, she owns little else. Last year she sold everything in her Seattle apartment, packed a few essentials into her car and then hit the road.

Since then, she’s been embarking on her most recent project, “Project 562.”

The plan is to photograph citizens of each federally recognized tribe, Wilbur said. Sometimes she’ll journey to an isolated reservation, other times she’ll meet some of the 70 percent of Native Americans living in urban settings. Yet she hopes that when her project is complete it will serve to educate the nation and “shift the collective conscious” toward recognizing its indigenous communities.

To date, Wilbur has photographed citizens of 159 tribes.

In 2010, when Wilbur first conceptualized the campaign, there were 562 federally recognized tribes in the U.S., hence the name. Since then, the U.S. government has added four more nations to the list.

Courtesy Matika WilburNative American activist and poet John Trudell, left, and Son Coup of the Santee Sioux Nation pose for a photo in San Francisco, Calif., in July. 

 

The project all began three years ago when Wilbur photographed her elders from both of her tribes, the Swinomish and Tulalip. She soon decided it was not enough to photograph only her people. After raising $35,000 through Kickstarter.com, an online funding platform, she had enough to realize her project and zip across the country capturing the faces of this nation’s first peoples.

Wilbur said her project is aimed toward debunking the bevy of erroneous stereotypes surrounding Native American culture and society and to reiterate the continual presence of Native Americans.

“We are still here,” she said. “We remain.”

One of those stereotypes is the image of Indians clad in feathers, nearly naked running across the prairie, whooping it up like what’s oft portrayed in western cinema. Also the caricature image of Indians as mascots.

With that in mind, Wilbur said the project is meant to drive conversations about the ubiquitous appropriation of Native American culture and to discuss how U.S. citizens can evolve beyond the co-opting of indigenous images and traditions.

“I hope to educate these audiences that it’s not OK to dress up like an Indian on Halloween,” she said. “I’m not a Halloween costume. I hope to encourage a new conversation of sharing and to help us move beyond the stereotypes.”

Wilbur added that she hopes her photos — her craft — will display the “beauty of (Native) people and to introduce some of our leaders to a massive audience.”

Wilbur, 29, operates on a modest budget and relies heavily on the “generosity and kindness” of the people she meets when travelling throughout Indian country. Many of her photo subjects will host her overnight and provide her with meals.

Courtesy Matika WilburAnna Cook of the Swinomish and Hualapai tribes poses for a photo in Swinomish, Wash., earlier this month. 

 

“I come in a good way. I bring gifts. I interact with their children well. I behave myself. I walk the red road,” she said. “People believe in my project because they, too, have been affected by the stereotypical image and they want to see it change.”

In between shoots, or maybe over dinner, Wilbur will tape record her subjects as they impart their wisdom and life stories. She plans to transfer the files to an application, which will coincide the corresponding photos in a future exhibition.

In the last year, Wilbur has slept in her two-seater Honda only once or twice but, following a new fundraiser in January, she hopes to get a van to sleep in on those long nights out on the open road.

Wilbur said that the fact that there are newly recognized tribes is indicative of the progress Native Americans are making today and that she plans to photograph the four tribes as well as various others who haven’t been recognized by the federal government.

Currently, Native Americans make up 1.6 percent of the entire U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census.

On Oct. 31, President Barack Obama proclaimed November 2013 as Native American Heritage Month and designated Nov. 29, 2013 as Native American Heritage Day.

Wilbur’s previous work has been showcased across the U.S. and internationally at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Canada and the Fine Arts Museum of Nantes in France.

In May 2014, the Tacoma Art Museum in Washington will host an exhibition of Wilbur’s collection of photos. In the meantime, she says she’ll continue her project and “let it flow as the spirit moves it.”

Mash-Ups Star in a Homage to American Indians

Jeffrey Gibson Injects Visual Pizazz Into Found Objects

“Freedom” uses tepee poles, rawhide lacing, artificial sinew, buffalo hide, acrylic paint, wool, glass and plastic beads, sterling silver and turquoise.

“Freedom” uses tepee poles, rawhide lacing, artificial sinew, buffalo hide, acrylic paint, wool, glass and plastic beads, sterling silver and turquoise.

Karen Rosenberg, The New York Times

“Jeffrey Gibson: Said the Pigeon to the Squirrel” is the type of show that’s perking up the once-sleepy National Academy Museum. It inaugurates a new biennial program of solos by emerging artists, expanding on smaller efforts to highlight young, living artists (Phoebe Washburn’s spiraling nest of scrapwood in the rotunda, for example).

There are a few glitches with this one, however. One is that the Academy hasn’t yet figured out how to handle ultracontemporary art with the ease of a MoMA or a Whitney. (This show looks a lot like a commercial gallery exhibition, but its texts seem to be pitched at graduate students.) Another is that Mr. Gibson’s art, though promising, falls short of its potential.

Mr. Gibson, an abstract painter who often works on animal hides in homage to his American Indian heritage (he is a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and is half Cherokee), is certainly an interesting choice. His work points to worlds of intensive, disciplined art making beyond the walls of this Academy, or any academy.

It also embodies two sweeping trends in contemporary art: feverishly bright geometric abstraction and the creative reuse of found objects. The animal hides are stretched over antique mirrors and ironing boards, and even wrapped around fluorescent light tubes in an obvious nod to Dan Flavin.

In his catalog essay the show’s curator, Marshall N. Price, describes Mr. Gibson’s work as a “mash-up” or “remix.” The show’s playful title, he says, imagines a “dialogue between two urban animals as characters in a contemporary creation myth.”

Nonetheless, the paintings and their supports don’t always interact in any way that generates sparks. “Freedom,” for example, simply carries forward the indigenous conventions of the parfleche and the travois. (The parfleche is a carrying case made of animal hide, often adorned with geometric designs; the travois is a frame of long tepee poles, used to transport the parfleche on horseback.) Mr. Gibson’s version is exuberantly decorative, with beaded fringe and a weblike pattern of painted triangles, but then so are objects made and shown in a more traditional tribal context. A show last year at the gallery Participant made this point neatly with collaborations between Mr. Gibson and more specialized American Indian artists.

Other works — especially the ones made with antique mirrors as supports — have plenty of visual pizazz but are weak conceptually. The painting-as-mirror conceit feels a bit stale, and they rely too heavily on the thrift shop eclecticism of the mirrors, with their different carved and cast frames, to offset a formulaic painterly vocabulary.

Also problematic are the fluorescent light sculptures, which cover the bulbs with colored gel and encase them in acrylic tubes that are then wrapped in deer hide. On a material level, Mr. Gibson is onto something here: the hide softens the light, making the sculptures look less like Flavins and more like ravers’ glowsticks. But they still read as pastiches, especially if you aren’t aware of Mr. Gibson’s interest in rave culture.

He is certainly capable of variety and invention, as his drawings series “Infinite Sampling” suggests; its 55 configurations of pencil, watercolor, thread and tape have a kind of shamanic flow and intensity.

Something of that magic makes its way into the “shield paintings,” executed on hide stretched over ironing boards, which are by far the best of the painted works here. Their sharply angular compositions allude to European early Modernist movements, like Orphism and Rayism, but the curved contours of the boards foster all sorts of other associations: the surf-inspired art of 1960s Los Angeles, or the early shaped canvases of Frank Stella, or, as the titles suggest, heraldic armor.

Also intriguing are the punching bags bedecked with sequins, beads and tin shingles, wrapped in pieces of “repurposed” paintings. They have the festive, performative appeal of Nick Cave’s “Soundsuits”; one, “She Walks Lightly,” is placed close to an air-conditioning vent so that its fringed skirt sways ever so gently.

In the catalog Mr. Gibson recalls his inspiration for the piece: a performance by the dancer Norma Red Cloud. “She moved gracefully,” he writes, “so that the jingles all moved in unison and made the most beautiful sound: even, continuous, confident.”

The sculpture conveys that powerful impression and more, and suggests that dance — or movement of some kind — may be the next step for this talented artist who hasn’t quite hit his stride.

“Jeffrey Gibson: Said the Pigeon to the Squirrel” runs through Sept. 8 at the National Academy Museum, 1083 Fifth Avenue, at 89th Street; (212)369-4880, nationalacademy.org.