Gifts from Our Ancestors Funders

Brot & Mary Bishop

Roundhouse Foundation

Oregon Cultural Trust

BNSF Foundation

Ray Hickey Foundation

Wildhorse Foundation

Herbert A. Templeton Foundation

Mid-Columbia Medical Center

Contact Us

Phone 360-693-0123
Fax 360-693-7770

Mailing Address:
1109 East 5th Street
Vancouver, WA 98661

Gifts from Our Ancestors

Confluence in the Classroom Education Program

For the last four years, Confluence in the Classroom has connected K-12 classrooms with Native artists and tradition keepers to create meaningful projects about the Columbia River system. We help create a confluence of cultures. Confluence in the Classroom uses art as a catalyst to stimulate interaction between artists, students and teachers for a year-long cultural journey. Storytelling, mural painting, mask making, weaving, dance and music encourage a deeper understanding of place, self-identity through cultural experience and relationships between people and their environment. 

The program includes at least one frield trip to a culturally significant place, including Confluence sites. At the end of the school year, students present their community projects, which embody the exploration, research, sharing and skills acquired during the school year. The majority of the classrooms Confluence are underserved where creative opportunities have diminished just when standardized testing leaves little opportunity for inspired, diverse educational experiences. 

If you are interested in learning more about Confluence in the Classroom, please email Program Coordinator Erika Rench at

2014-2015 Confluence in the Classroom

Confluence is pleased to be working with the following schools and artists:

Mosier School (Mosier, OR) - As part of a two-year students considered how the local tribes’ approach to plants enriched the quality of life for the Columbia River Tribes. Artist Brigette Mcconville took all 8th graders on a field trip to Celilo Park and the Celilo Village Longhouse and then worked in the classroom on a tule weaving project and a natural objects sculptural project. Students also planted native wormwood as a restoration project with Fish and Wildlife plant 

Lyle Secondary School (Lyle, WA)- Artist Toma Villa worked with self-selected students on a mural in the Chinook Form Line Style and incorporated important cultural symbols for the school, Native American students and shared understandings. Storyteller Ed Edmo shared traditional and contemporary teaching of tolerance through storytelling and students took a field trip to Columbia Hills State park to consider “She Who Watches” and its implications as public art. 

Nixyaawii Community School Summer Program (Pendleton, OR)- This summer 125 students will take part in printing workshop with Master Printers from Crow Shadow Institute. Students will learn techniques and incorporate personal and cultural symbology into prints. Students will take traditional drumming workshops that teach the cultural importance of drumming as a life way and participate in a Day of the Drum celebration that brings native drummers together.

Sabin School (Portland, OR) - The Sandy River Delta and Confluence’s Bird Blind were a focal point for Sabin’s programming. Pat Courtney Gold worked with 116 4th and 5th graders on tule mav weaving and spoke about healthy ecosystems, native plants and environmental conservation. Storyteller Ed Edmo presented and students took a field trip to the Delta that integrated traditional wisdom with science to create a meaningful project about place and sustainability utilizing partnerships with Confluence, Sandy River Basin Watshed Council and the East Multnomah County Soil and Water Conservation District. 

Legacy High School (Vancouver, WA) - A small alternative school of 230 students Legacy works with Artist Toma Villa to create a mural that compliments their curriculum which involves human relations, team building, and communication.  A small self-selected group chose to work on the mural that symbolize’s the importance of  plants as food, the conservation of Earth’s valuable resource: water and our place in the world.

The Dalles Wahtonka High School (The Dalles, OR) – JoAnn Smith, a multi faceted artist from Warm Springs and Fred Hill, Ceremonial Drummer from the Confederated Tribes of  the Umatilla will share perspectives and work with high school art students on exploring culture; what should be honored, treasured and passed on. Students will create three-dimensional multi- media art works that reflect students unique perspective about their own understanding of culture.

Eagle High School (Toppenish WA) - Thirty students participating in the High School Yakama Ichiiskin Sinwit Language classes will travel on an overnight field trip to Celilo Park, Celilo Village, and The Discovery Center  to teach students about the historical significance of the Celilo Falls among the Plateau Tribes as a large commercial trading center and natural learning environment. Students will learn: terms that relate to the Celilo Falls area and fishing way of life; about sovereignty -the shared earth, environment and human conditions; Geography; oral traditions; and they will tour Yakama Nation Museum to respect the indigenous/cultural ways of knowing.

Walt Morey Middle School (Troutdale, OR) - In a second year of programming, 70 art class students explored the Sandy River Delta, Native American history and culture with a strong emphasis on its metaphorical meaning of mixing and mingling of cultures and ideas as it relates to indigenous ways of knowing, land use, history, and restoration.   Muralist Toma Villa returned to continue to explore these themes of Sandy River Stories through art. Sandy River Basin Watershed Council provided science based and traditional understandings on a field trip to the Delta with Chinukan tradition keeper Greg Archuleta.    more >


If you are interested in learning more about Confluence in the Classroom, please email Program Coordinator Erika Rench at