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

Bill Healey Foundation

Firstenburg Foundation

PGE Foundation

Gray Family Foundation

US Bank Foundation

Contact Us

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

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

Confluence in the Classroom

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

2016-2017 Confluence in the Classroom

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

Hood River Middle School (Hood River, OR)  Brigette McConville, will visit 6th grade classrooms the last week of May to talk to students about the importance of sovereignty as it pertains to cultural appropriation. Students will also learn the importance and traditional uses of tule and will learn to weave by creating a group tule mat project that will   on permanent display at the school. Classroom learning is centered around the study of Celilo Falls utilizing the Since Time Immemorial Native American curriculum from Washington State Department of Education. A field trip to Celilo Park  to speak about salmon, traditional fishing, dams and treaty rights with native educators and community environmental stewards will culminate the project. 

Native American Youth and Family Center (Portland, OR) Art for Social Change teacher, Clay River, received a grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust to connect Native Educators with  fifty students from five different schools. Native Clubs at NAYA and David Douglas will  tell the diverse story of  Urban Native Identity while honoring traditions of storytelling and weaving through the  creation of a documentary installation project and  fabric mural.  Brigette McConville, Clifton Bruno, Foster Kalama and CeCe Whitewolf will talk with students about everything from the importance of salmon tribal rights to hunt and gather to the long term impact of the Indian Relocation Act of 1956. Students will travel to the Sandy River watershed to be taught by Elders about the importance of salmon, lamprey and traditional river keeping. A screening and reception for the documentary and mural will culminate the project. 

Discovery Middle School (Vancouver, WA) Toma Villa will  work with students on a mural that connects them to a greater community.Last year, Toma created a mural showcasing the diverse ways students dream and achieve those dreams. To see a time lapse video of the project click here. This year, Toma is  working with students on understanding empathy by looking at different cultures that lived and still live along the Columbia River. Greg Archuleta will teach students about his traditional life ways at the Cathlapotle Plankhouse located on the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. 

Lyle Secondary School (Lyle, WA) and Wishram School (Wishram,  WA)Jefferson Green will teach Sahaptin language to students at both schools. In Lyle, Ann Scott  will create an after school program where community members and students participate in classes that include interactive activities and conversation using basic Sahaptin words. In Wishram,  Heather Lopez will create an extended learning opportunity for students tand teachers to connect with the river through the language of the river, Ichishkin. The language goes back to the beginning of time and related dialects span as far north as the Colville Indian Reservation as eastward as the Nez Perce Indian Reservation and as southwestward as the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.  At the end, students will create a short video highlighting what they have learned and will present it to the larger community.  

Sunridge Middle School and Washington Elementary ( Pendleton, OR) Students will work with Sahaptin Language teachers, Jefferson Greene and Mildred Quaempts, as well as Fred Hill and Lloyd Commander, both from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, to teach students about history of treaties, sovereignty, ceremony and first foods. Students will visit Tamastslikt Cultural Institute for a guided tour of the center and beading with Jefferson Greene. At the visit, tudents will share beaded works and visual reflections through  a library exhibit.  Indians In Oregon Today curriculum will be used to supplement learning in the classroom. Infall of 2017, Washington Elementary 4th grade students will learn Sahaptin language with Mildred Queampts Students will visit a traditional tule site and learn from Fred Hill about the importance of tule, and  how to harvest weave it . Tule mats created in class  will be showcased at a community event.  

Nixyaawii Community School (Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, OR)  Students will participate in the CTUIR Summer Recreation Program where they will learn  traditional skills of drum making, tule harvesting and weaving, and contemporary arts at Crow Shadow Institute led by Fred Hill, Mildred Queampts and Lloyd Commander. 

South Wasco School (Maupin, OR) and Warm Springs K-8 Academy (Warm Springs, OR) Art as a form of self and cultural expression will be the theme as students learn and create multiple pieces over the course of this project that integrates Confluence in the Classroom and  4-H’s afterschool and summer rograms. Traditional arts, storytelling, dance, flute playing, language, weaving, beading and contemporary arts will be  explored. Students willtake field trips to the Museum at WarmSprings and Columbia Hills State Park with Native Educator Brigette McConville to learn about history, culture and place. Warm Springs  K-8 Academy students will work with language teacher Jefferson Greene in an 8-week class to develop basic skills in speaking Ichishkin. Students will create  individual illustrated storybooks to teach basic words with stories from the three tribes – Wasco, Paiute and Warm Springs. Students will visit Horsethief Lake and She Who Watches at Columbia Hills State Park with Ed Edmo and Brigette McConville and speak with elders at Celilo Village.   

More information about our  native educators and programs are available in our Confluence In the Classroom Resource Guide   more >


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