NEW Exhibit: Roots of Wisdom opens at the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve


Mytyl Hernandez, Tulalip Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve


Tulalip, Washington – Overcoming environmental and cultural challenges can make for unexpected partnerships that result in extraordinary outcomes. At Roots of Wisdom, the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve’s latest exhibit opening to the general public May 16th from 12:00–5:00 p.m., the knowledge of native peoples and cutting-edge Western science are explored, providing insight into how we can improve our relationship with the natural world.

Roots of Wisdom features stories from four indigenous communities, giving visitors real life examples of how traditional knowledge and Western science, together, provide complementary solutions to ecological and health challenges facing us today. Through the voices of elder and youth, engaging video interactives and hands-on games, visitors will gather resources, examine data, and take part in the growing movement towards sustainability and the reclamation of age-old practices.

“We are so pleased to have had the opportunity to develop an exhibit through a collaborative process which is a new experience for us. We are so excited that we get to be its hosts”, says Tessa Campbell Senior Curator. “Roots of Wisdom allow our guests an inside look into Tribal communities throughout the country and see how they are managing and preserving their natural and cultural resources”.

Traditional Knowledge/Western Science

Visitors are invited to explore the unique relationship between Western science and native ecological knowledge. From everyday items like duck decoys to surfboards, popcorn to chocolate, guests will learn how native knowledge impacts our daily lives, and recognize the great contributions that indigenous peoples have provided over centuries.

Re-establishing a Native Plant (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians)

The river cane plays a prominent role both in revitalizing cultural practices and restoring ecosystems. Guest will learn how this hardy plant affects water quality and how Cherokee elders are teaching new generations about the traditional craft of basket weaving. Visitors are invited to experiment with river environments and even try their hand at basket weavings.

Restoring Fish Ponds (Hawaii)

Guests are given a chance to act as a caretaker of a fish pond or join a droplet of water on an incredible journey down a Hawaiian mountainside in these popular hands-on interactives. Visitors learn how native ecosystems have been disrupted and what is being done to restore these innovative forms of aquaculture, which could be a critical component to food sustainability for the people of Hawaii.

Rediscovering Traditional Foods (Tulalip Tribes)

Through a clever computer interactive, hands-on activities, and recorded stories, guests learn how Tulalip Tribes are striving to find a balance in their need for natural resources against the loss of land rights and environmental degradation. Visitors learn about traditional practices of wild harvesting and gardening. They will discover through Western science how these techniques are beneficial to human health.

Saving Streams and Wildlife (Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation)

Seen as a pest in some areas of the country, the lamprey is an eel-like fish that is important both ecologically and as a food source to many indigenous people. In this fun interactive, visitors can pick up a replica lamprey as would a scientist. Visitors learn about the traditional stewardship of the lamprey and how the fish is a critical component of the ecosystem that the Umatilla Tribes depend on. Find out how traditional ecological knowledge and Western science are being applied to bring this amazing little fish back from the brink of extinction.

Roots of Wisdom opens Saturday May 16, 2015 at 12:00 PM and closes September 13, 2015.

The Hibulb Cultural Center is open Tuesday through Friday 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM, closed on Mondays. Pricing: Adults $10, Seniors (50yr+) $7, Students $6, Veterans & Military $6, Children (under 5) FREE. “Family Pass” (2 adults, 4 children) $25. Visit for more information about the museum.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, Roots of Wisdom is specially designed for visitors ages 11-14. The exhibition was developed by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), the Indigenous Education Institute (IEI), the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Tulalip Tribes, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Waikalua Loko Fishpond Preservation Society in Hawaii, and was made possible through funds from the National Science Foundation.

About the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve

The Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve is dedicated to those who have gone home before us and those who remain to keep the cultural fires burning.  The Hibulb Cultural Center features a fully certified collections and archaeological repository. The Center features a main gallery, a temporary exhibit, two classrooms, a research library, an interactive longhouse and a gift shop featuring Coast Salish and hand made products.

Directions: From I-5 take exit 199 Marine Drive NE in Marysville. Go west approximately 0.5 miles, then turn left on 23rd Avenue NE.


NWIC Poetry students showcase work at Hibulb Cultural Center poetry series

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

NWIC student Ed Hill recites his poetry during the Hibulb Cultural Center's December poetry series. Students penned poems during a NWIC poetry class and recited for the first time to the public for the first time. Photo/ Bob Mitchell

NWIC student Ed Hill recites his poetry during the Hibulb Cultural Center’s December poetry series. Students penned poems during a NWIC poetry class and recited for the first time to the public for the first time.
Photo/ Bob Mitchell

Students in a Northwest Indian College poetry class had a chance to showcase their creative prowess during December’s Hibulb Cultural Center’s poetry series. The class, composed of novice and beginner poets, presented a collection of work created during the course to the public for the first time.

Professor Lynda Jensen, who teaches the class, is an avid writer and poet herself, encouraging students to create poetry with depth and emotional response.

“One of the exercises that we did in class was to make a list of 35 words we like. We would pass the list to someone else, and that person’s job was to turn the list into a poem,” said Jensen.  A poem by student Talon Arbuckle using the list of 35 words technique was performed during the event.

“I asked the students to give me a list of 35 words that they associate with themselves, with their personal identity. From these lists, I made a poem for each student. I read these poems to them at the event. That was one of my favorite parts of the evening, extolling and featuring them within poetry,” Jensen.

Students Ed Hill and Crystal Meachem, both newcomers to poetry, found inspiration in the structure of poetry. Hill’s poems focus on his connection to nature, and discovered poetry to be an inviting and inspiring form of communication. Meachem, who did not enjoy poetry at the start of the class, explored different forms of poetry to learn the deeper meanings embedded in style and word choice.

“As an enthusiastic optimist, Crystal enjoys the word search when creating something sublime. She said that when she writes poems, she lets the words flow out. Then she re-reads to see if it is sublime yet. If it isn’t she sits there, frustrated and confused, until she finds the right words to make the poem work perfectly,” said Jensen.

Novice writers Bobbi Jones and Marci Fryberg use poetry regularly as a way of self-expression. Jensen describes Frberg’s use of poetry as, “strong, inviting and eschew the exclusivity that poetry so often inflicts on readers. Her meanings are clear and her metaphors recognizable. A quiet and private person, Bobbi was uncertain about performing her poetry in public. She gave me permission to read two of her poems. After I finished reading her poem “Howling,” an appreciative hush fell over the room. Bobbi writes powerful personal poetry,” explained Jensen.

Other students use poetry as a mean of healing. Student Katie Longstreet used the skills she learned in class to write poetry as a way to process difficult emotions, drawing inspiration from strength and courage. She shared several poems that focus on the isolation individuals who endure trauma experience.

While poetry for many of the students became a way to communicate emotions and thoughts that could not be described otherwise, student Talon Arbuckle found a comedic undertone while developing his poetry.

“Talon discovered his interest in poetry on the first day of class. He shared several poems that he wrote, including one that was a response to an assignment that students write a poem as if they were someone else. Talon decided to write a poem as if he were Mike Tyson. He used only published quotes from Tyson. The poem was powerful and very well received,” said Jensen.

“The evening was full of emotion, support, beauty and laughter. It was the perfect capstone for our course,” Jensen said. “We are grateful to the Hibulb Cultural Center for hosting the event. We plan to create a chapbook with the poems we performed that night. We will make these available to the community when they are complete.”

The Hibulb Cultural Center hosts a monthly poetry series featuring local artists. For more information on the poetry series, please visit the Hibulb’s website at

For more information on Northwest Indian College’s poetry classes, please visit their website at


Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402;

Hibulb Cultural Center to hold annual Halloween party, Oct. 26

Tulalip Hibulb Cultural Center & Natural History Preserve will be hosting their annual Halloween Event on Sunday, October 26, from 1: 00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Families are encouraged to dress in costume while attending the event, which will feature crafting projects, story time for youth and a movie.

For more information contact, Mary Jane Topash, Hibulb Group Tours Specialist at 360-716-2657.




Free Admission At Hibulb Today

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

canoeTULALIP –  The first Thursday of each month the Hibulb Cultural Center & Natural History Preserve features free admission to their exhibits, guest lectures and workshop series and a chance to purchase new arrivals at the center’s gift shop.

Guests today will enjoy free admission to the center’s new exhibit, A Journey with our Ancestors: Coast Salish Canoes, in addition to its main exhibit where you will learn about the history of the Tulalip Tribes, and  Warriors We Remember, a gallery that tells the story of the Tulalip Tribes military tradition. This exhibit honors the Tulalip men and women who served their country in time of conflict and peace.

A Journey with our Ancestors: Coast Salish Canoes features a linear format which tells the historical timeline of canoe use and importance starting with pre-contact. Visitors will not only learn how canoes are used by Coast Salish tribes to travel, but also the different canoe styles, anatomy and how they are constructed, along with traditional canoe teachings and stories and about canoe carvers, canoe races and canoe journeys.

There is no scheduled workshop or guest lecture today.

Hibulb Cultural Center is open Tuesday through Friday , 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. and Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. and is located at 6410 23rd Avenue NE, Tulalip, WA, 98271. For more information about the center, please visit their website at


Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402;


Hibulb Cultural Center & Natural History Preserve’s new exhibit, A Journey with our Ancestors: Coast Salish Canoes.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News


Echoes of her ancestors

Tulalip storyteller Lois Landgrebe discusses life as a storyteller

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Lois-LandgrebeTULALIP – Tulalip tribal member Lois Landgrebe has always been a storyteller. What started out as an entertaining way to comfort her younger sister during childhood has evolved into a beautiful craft she uses to connect people to her tribal culture.

Bilingual in English and her tribe’s traditional language, Lushootseed, she gracefully uses the two languages interchangeably to help the listener understand the historical importance of her stories, while also being entertained.

A steady increase of requests from across the region to hear native stories has catapulted this once local storyteller into a larger audience venue. Through the use of storytelling she is able to educate local communities about tribal history and culture, as well as teach listeners about ethics and morals in the same manner as her ancestors would have.

Tulalip News/See-Yaht-Sub recently sat down with Landgrebe to discuss the art of storytelling and how she uses the words of her elders to continue one of the oldest ways to communicate and pass on history for the next generation.

TN/SYS: When did you begin to tell stories?

Landgrebe: I started with my adoptive baby sister. Our mother passed away when I was 11 and she was 3, so we ended up sharing a bedroom together when we were relocated. She felt alone and scared, so I would go to bed early just to keep her company and ended up starting to tell her stories. I was about 12 or 13 years old when that started, and I learned through my birth mother Carol that her father was a storyteller. He had told stories to my mother and uncles when they were little, so she tells me storytelling is in my blood.

I used to tell stories to the elementary kids on my school bus route, and this was way out in the country boondocks and it takes almost an hour to get to school. I always had a saved seat among the elementary kids because I would carry on a saga of a story that would continue and continue and would last for weeks. They were unique stories that I made up about animals and they absolutely loved it. I would give each animal personality characteristics and they had conflicts and such, so it was like a movie.

TN/SYS: How did you come to tell Tulalip stories?

Landgrebe: I was hired as a Lushootseed language assistant in 1994 and I started learning traditional stories. This is where I also met Dr. Toby Langen and learned from Ray ‘Te At Mus’ Moses, Vi Hilbert and Grace Goedel. Each time I hear a story I am able to retain most of it. I can do Te At Mus’ stories word for word because I have heard them a dozen times; so I really try to keep to his format.

TN/SYS: What is it that you love the most about storytelling? You are naturally a calm, quiet person, but when you tell a story there is a transformation.

Landgrebe: I think most of the time I take kind of a back seat to things in life and such because I am a quiet person, but when it comes to storytelling and presentation, and even the state of the Tulalip Tribes, I take an absolute passion. Sharing that gives me the strength to take the front seat and get out there.

TN/SYS: What is your favorite story to tell?

Landgrebe: I think my favorite is the “Pheasant and Raven”. I like it because it has a repetition in it so I can pause and the audience can blurt out what comes next, because they know exactly what is going to happen because it happens to the other characters.

TN/SYS: Do you prepare yourself before you have to tell a story? Is there a routine that you do right before telling a story?

Landgrebe: Usually my mind is set and I have to give myself a few minutes. Sometimes I think it is the spirit of a storyteller that I take on because sometimes I don’t plan it. I just stand up and introduce or do a song, and it is like stories line up. It is hard to explain. Some that come right to me are in the back of my mind and I know that is the story that needs to be told.

Lois Landgrebe tells the story of "Beaver and the Field Mouse," to a large crowd in the Hibulb Cultural Center longhousePhoto/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Lois Landgrebe tells the story of “Beaver and the Field Mouse,” to a large crowd in the Hibulb Cultural Center longhouse
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

TN/SYS: Do you write your stories down or is it all by memorization and how do you remember all those stories?

Landgrebe: A lot of it is by memorization. I do actually write them down upon request for an article or something.

Sometimes I catch myself in the wrong character. I will get done with “Mink and Whale” and start “Coyote and Rock,’and I will suddenly say whale instead of rock, so you have to be careful, especially in Lushootseed.

TN/SYS: When you tell the stories in Lushootseed do you feel it adds a deeper meaning to you and to your audience?

Landgrebe: Yes I do. I definitely do. I think that sometimes as Lushootseed speakers we take it for granted that we can write it down without thinking about it. And folks watch us write it down and they are amazed. I think that audiences that hear ancient Native languages, that when you first announce that this is endangered, and when you pronounce words that they have never ever heard or think would exist with the hard and guttural sounds, there are people that come up later and say they love to hear it. It is a way of preserving it.

TN/SYS: There are not many storytellers, and just like traditional carving, you have to be taught, you just can’t get up and tell a story. How do you feel as a Tulalip storyteller and Tulalip tribal member to be able to travel to different places with the teachings of your elders and from the people that taught you their stories?

Landgrebe: I feel like an echo of my ancestors. I really adhere to protocol to make sure that they are acknowledged. If the story is from Te At Mus and the Moses family I always make sure, as tribal members, they are mentioned. I always make sure there is that acknowledgement.

It makes me feel nostalgic. Not to toot my own horn because I feel humbled, but when I get on the stage, I feel important to be able to tell these stories. Stories are kept alive. When you are telling them you are breathing new life into them and it keeps that story going. And when you are listening to it, you continue to bring life to it as well, because it can’t move on without going into your ears and mind and being remembered. When I am telling them to little kids, I always pause for a moment and tell them about respect. We have to respect our traditional stories. We don’t know how old these stories are and how long they have been passed on from storyteller to children to another storyteller, so that makes children really stop and listen.

TN/SYS: When did you know that you were ready to step out and tell these traditional stories and that this was your path?

Landgrebe: I think it was right after I started working at the Hibulb Cultural Center. I started to become more known for storytelling with audiences that would visit. I knew I was a storyteller between 2001 and 2010, when I was with the Lushootseed program. They would receive requests to story tell and they would turn them over to me. To me, storytelling isn’t something that gives me anxiety, I feel privileged to be able to tell them.


TN/SYS: Do you consider storytelling an art form?

Landgrebe: Yes definitely. Most would look at it as more of an entertainment, which it was and is a form of entertainment. But there is also, locked in, an obligation to share a, or several, traditional teachings within it. It is almost like keeping in with a design, you can’t necessarily change it too much; you might be able to a little, only to fit to an audience. I have a way of clueing in to what my audience is. If they are younger children I can voice to them. If it was high school students I wouldn’t go, “ok and then they…” I just have that feel and I think as a storyteller you really know your audience and where their level of understanding is, so you can raise that level of complexity based on that.

TN/SYS: Storytelling is a very traditional form of communication, where do you see it fitting into the lives of our youth today, where mostly you compete with them checking Instagram and Facebook?

Landgrebe: That is a hard one. Our lives are very instamatic. Pulling away from technology can sometimes be a treat. Silencing the devices and being in a moment that is not a part of electricity or technology can give a whole another human interaction. Storytelling can be as enriching as watching a movie. You engage with your mind and your ears, and even your heart. When you listen you visualize the words. I have had groups, that when it is over, they are not ready for it to end.

TN/SYS: Can you tell me the elements of storytelling or the process you go through when you are learning a new story?

Landgrebe: I think the best way for me is to just hear it. I grasp onto stories better when I hear it told. I have learned stories on paper or on the Internet, but it takes me a little bit more time to learn them. I think the oral presentation is more susceptible for me to pick up. Sometimes scribbling down an outline because you are not quite as familiar with it as much, but as a storyteller you grasp onto the patterns of the story. A lot of our traditional stories have a pattern, we call them pattern episodes. The same thing will happen more than once in the story to different characters. It helps listeners learn the teaching.

My MO is patterns episode. When I stand up to tell the story it comes out stronger when it is in a pattern than if it wasn’t. Sometimes a story will just come out that way.

TN/SYS: Can you explain what you experience when you are telling a story?

Landgrebe: It is almost like an adrenaline and heaviness on your heart, but your heart is pumping through it. It is hard to explain. You are happy. You pause and you look for a lot of eye contact. It is really unique to see that connection and you pan across and you look to make sure your audience is with you. If you notice they are not then there is something you are not getting across to them.

It is amazing how everything melts away except for yourself and the audience. Afterwards you notice the stage and everything; you want to get off and get away. It is amazing how it all just shrinks away.

TN/SYS: What is your favorite age group to tell stories to?

Landgrebe: Third, fourth and fifth grade. They are old enough to understand the complexities of the story and not too old to think they know it all. Grown ups are a good group to but I really enjoy the youth.


Landgrebe is scheduled to appear on August 30 at 1:30 p.m. at the Hibulb Cultural Center for their monthly storytelling series. For more information on future storytelling events featuring Landgrebe or to request a story, please contact her at


Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402;

In their words

Youth at the 19th Annual Tulalip Lushootseed Language Camp's week one group debut their play "The Seal Hunting Brothers," at the Tulalip Kenny Moses Building on July 25. Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Youth at the 19th Annual Tulalip Lushootseed Language Camp’s week one group debut their play “The Seal Hunting Brothers,” at the Tulalip Kenny Moses Building on July 25.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Annual camp immerses youth in traditional language

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

TULALIP – Tulalip youth welcomed their family and friends to the 19th Annual Lushootseed Language Camp where they presented the play “The Seal Hunting Brothers,” a traditional Tulalip story told by Martha LaMont.

Throughout this week language warriors, ages 5–12, have been adding to their expanding Lushootseed vocabulary while learning a condensed version of the original “The Seal Hunting Brothers,” which is comprised of 900 lines. The story explores topics about greed, honesty, providing for family and community, as well as how the Tulalip Tribes emblem came to be the killer whale.

Tulalip Lushootseed teachers and staff, who coordinate the camp every year, teach youth basic Lushootseed phrases, prayers and traditional stories through interactive workstations. The camp, which features two sessions each a weeklong focuses on a different traditional story each year. This year a handful of Quil Ceda & Tulalip Elementary teachers joined youth in learning the traditional values and stories of Tulalip, resulting in a continued collaborative effort between the Marysville School District and Tulalip Tribes.

Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

“Each year we pick a theme,” said Lushootseed teacher Natosha Gobin to the audience before the play. “This year we learned about the seal hunting brothers and we are excited for you to hear what the kids learned during camp. Each year we have returning students. We only have ages 5 through 12, but when they reach that 12 year mark, most return to be group leaders and are excited to participate as a group leader.”

This year’s play was held at the Kenny Moses Building in Tulalip, a change from last year’s venue, held at the Hibulb Cultural Center’s longhouse. The longhouse setting is traditionally a place oral history; stories and traditions were told. Despite the change in venue, the youth put on a spectacular play, featuring a decorated set, costumes and props.

Keeping with Tulalip tradition, two witnesses were called forth to watch the play and speak a few words to the youth about their work. This year, the honor went to Tulalip elder Hank Williams, whose mother is Martha LaMont, and Tulalip tribal member Patti Gobin.

“I thank everyone for being here to watch the kids learn our language,” said Williams following the play. “This lifts my heart and makes me feel good to know that these children have learned our language and I hope they do not forget it, and they carry it on.”

Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

“What I witnessed was a dream come true,” Gobin said to the youth. “ The old people used to say they were waiting for this day. They were waiting for the day when we could speak our traditional language. My grandmother was forced into the boarding school when she was just five years old. She entered speaking Lushootseed and left at the age of 19 speaking English. She refused to teach me our language because she said she didn’t want me to get hurt like she was for speaking Lushootseed. These children are privileged to be able to speak our language. It is exciting to see this. I thank the you children for speaking our language, and I thank the staff for being here to teach it to them.”

For more information about the Lushootseed language or the camp, please contact the Tulalip Lushootseed Department at 360-716-4495 or visit their website at


Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402;



Conference seeks to join Native American carvers and museum professional in preservation of cultural items

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

hibulbTULALIP – The conservation and preservation of Native American poles, posts, and canoes will be the focus of the first symposium hosted by the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve on July 21- 22, held at the Tulalip Resort Casino.

Poles, Posts, and Canoes will bring together Native American and non-Native museum professionals, and contemporary carvers to discuss the challenges in preserving and exhibiting wood carvings, while also examining the Native and non-Native viewpoint on preserving these historic wood items.

“When I first came to work here four years ago, one of the things that struck me most was the fact that we have a number of poles and canoes in the collections,” said Hibulb Conservator, Claire Dean.  “These large wooden objects are a real challenge for museums everywhere, regardless of their cultural background. It is because these tend to be very big and heavy to move around. Actually they are quite difficult to display safely. If they are old, and deteriorated they become fragile. Here we have a disproportionate number of them, and that has to do with the fact that the community here, the poles and canoes, are a central part of the material culture here, and when you have a culture with that in its background, then you are going to run into them as more of a challenge than other cultures where they don’t exist. I am also very aware that we have carvers here in the community, and I like the idea of trying to involve them somehow.”

Dean explains the idea for the Poles, Posts, and Canoes Symposium developed from a conservator conference Dean attended, which highlighted the preservation of the Maori Waka Taua Project, or war canoe project, at the National Museum of Scotland. During the conference the issue of preserving cultural items such as wood canoes, a responsibility of Dean’s as a conservator at Hibulb, was examined. Dean learned how the war canoe, in derelict condition, was discovered during an examination to be a product of three canoes merged together, instead of one carving, making the preservation of the canoe difficult. With the help of highly-regarded Maori artist George Nuku, the canoe was restored using acrylic material to fashion a new sternpost, blending traditional materials with contemporary elements to safely preserve the canoe for display.

“We were already thinking about our conference and immediately I thought, ‘this is it! This is exactly what I have been thinking about. This idea of incorporating traditional carvers into the care of the collections.’ Not that I am suggesting that we are going to make lots of plexiglas poles, but it is this idea of working with artists who are very much a part of the community,” said Dean.

The two-day conference will feature a non-traditional conference format featuring informal presentations regarding the care of past, present, and future cultural

Photo courtesy/ Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve

Photo courtesy/ Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve


“I thought it was a great opportunity to have a conference where we could actually sit down and really talk about this, and while this isn’t the first time that a meeting has been held about this topic, it is the first time, that I am aware of, that it has been hosted by a tribal community and held on tribal lands,” said Dean.

“We will have little sessions where presenters will be giving 15 minute talks, so they are very short and to the point,” continued Dean. “I have asked the presenters to prepare their presentations to spark thought and discussion. We will have four or five of these 15-minute talks, then we take a coffee break and for at least an hour and half there is no program. It will be open discussion.  It is a chance for the folks attending to ask questions of the presenters and the carvers. This is a bit of a risk, because it is not a conventional way of doing a conference, but I think it is more in keeping with how things are done in communities such as this one.”

Presenters will include George Nuku, Maori artist, Graeme Scott from the Glasgow Museums in Scotland, Richard Feldman from the Eiteligorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Costantino Nicolizas from the Ecole Des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in France, Kelly McHugh from the National Museum of the American Indian, Tessa Campbell from the Hibulb Cultural Center, and Sven Haakanson from the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, and many others.

Following the two-day conference Hibulb Cultural Center will host a three-day workshop featuring Michael Harrington, Felix Solomon, and Andrew Todd on caring for totem poles held on July 23 – 25, at the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve.

Registration is open until the day of conference, and limited space available for the workshop. Registration fee for the conference is $350 with a discount fee of $250 for students, and the workshop fee is $350. Both events include breakfast and lunch. A special event featuring keynote speakers, Charles Stable and George Nuku, will be held on the evening of July 21, at the Hibulb Cultural Center free of cost and open to the public.

“This isn’t just about the conservation and preservation of old poles, posts, and canoes, which we have here in collections, it is also about the preservation of the tradition of carving these things, and how those two areas of interest intersect. How the collections here can be of help to contemporary carvers, and how the methods and materials in the knowledge of contemporary carvers can actually be of use to conservators.”

For more information on registration for the symposium or the workshop, please visit the Hibulb Cultural Center’s website at


Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402;

Bringing the tree back to life

"Coast Salish Canoes," opened at the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve on June 27, with over 80 guests in attendance.

“Coast Salish Canoes,” opened at the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve on June 27, with over 80 guests in attendance.

New Hibulb exhibit gives an in-depth look at Tulalip’s canoe culture

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

TULALIP- “Imagine you are at the shore of the Salish Sea where a grand ocean-going family canoe floats patiently, waiting for you and others to begin your journey. The rivers, lakes and seas are our earth’s arteries, carrying its life force of water. For thousands of years they functioned as our ancestors’ highways, connecting our people together,” reads the opening display panel in the new interactive temporary Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve’s exhibit, “A Journey with our Ancestors: Coast Salish Canoes.”

The new exhibit, on display through June 2015, explores canoe culture in Tulalip and in Coast Salish tribes. A soft opening for the exhibit was held on Friday, June 27, with over 80 guests in attendance. This interactive exhibit features over 70 items that guests can explore canoe culture through, such as videos on carving canoes, maps, display panels, paddles and tools used to carve canoes with, and a large canoe that guests can sit in.

Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

“We hope guests learn the importance of canoes and how they were tied to all aspects of our life,” explains Mary Jane Topash the center’s tour specialist, about what guests can expect from the new exhibit. “We hope to educate people on the types of canoes, anatomy, tools, what it takes to build one, and how they are still used to this day. This exhibit will encompass all aspects of the teachings, history, lifestyle, and how their importance hasn’t changed a whole lot over the years.”

Coast Salish Canoes highlights the roots of the Canoe Journey and the important role that canoes played in its revitalization during the 1989 Paddle to Seattle.

“It was a big learning process for us. It didn’t just happen in 1989,” explained Tulalip carver Joe Gobin, about the preparation involved in the Paddle to Seattle. “Frank Brown and Ray Fryberg Sr. got our [Tulalip] Board involved and the Board saw how this was something missing in our culture. They sent us to different reservations to learn, to Lummi and Makah, because none of us knew how to carve a canoe. We all talked about it and the tools we needed, and how when we were making the canoe we were bringing the tree back to life. And it did come back to life on the reservations, and it brought back so many things in our culture that were forgotten. I am glad to see this exhibit here.”

Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Lena Jones, the center’s curator of education, says guests will leave knowing the importance of canoes in Coast Salish culture. “Our ancestors helped keep a rich environment with superb art. We hope the exhibit will help people appreciate the social gatherings of the Coast Salish people and help our young people recognize their community’s role in revitalizing important Coast Salish traditions that can, and do, help the region.”

For more information on “Coast Salish Canoes,” please visit the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve’s website at



Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402: