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Press Releases


November 9, 2012, by Aili Schreiner

Vancouver, Washington (November 9, 2012) – The Confluence Project has announced the 2012-2013 recipients of art education grants to support “Gifts from Our Ancestors,” an arts program led by Warm Springs artist Lillian Pitt and the Confluence Project. Fifteen schools from The Dalles, Hood River, White Salmon, Wishram, Dallesport, Dufur, and Warm Springs and Nez Perce schools were selected. Each school will receive $3,000 to help cover material expenses and visits from artists and cultural experts.

Recipients of Gifts from Our Ancestors funding are:


  • ·         Hood River Valley High School (Hood River, OR)
  • ·         The Dalles Wahtonka High School (The Dalles, OR)
  • ·         Hood River Middle School (Hood River, OR)
  • ·         Columbia High School (White Salmon, WA)
  • ·         Westside Elementary School (Hood River, OR)
  • ·         Mid Valley Elementary (Hood River, OR)
  • ·         Wishram School (Wishram, WA)
  • ·         Wy’east Middle School (Hood River, OR)
  • ·         Wayne M. Henkle Middle School (White Salmon, WA)
  • ·         Dallesport Elementary (Dallesport, WA)
  • ·         Hood River Middle School (Hood River, OR)
  • ·         The Dalles Middle School (The Dalles, OR)



Ann Scott at Columbia High School in White Salmon is working on legends and personal beliefs; students will be creating pictographs that represent their personal beliefs that will be painted on and then sandblasted on stone. Students will visit Columbia Hills State park and be guided by the question posed by Artistic Director Lillian Pitt “What where the people who created this art thinking about when they made them?”


Carol Birdsell at Hood River Middle School, in collaboration with artist Toma Villa, will be exploring the food gathered and baskets used by the Columbia River Indians, culminating in a final mural of woven images. Students will go on a field trip to the Confluence Project sites at the Vancouver Land Bridge and Sandy River Delta. There they will meet with traditional artists to explore how art is inspired by nature and the evolution of nature to art to public art installations.


Artists and cultural experts working with schools include:


  • Lillian Pitt- Multi-media Artist (Warm Springs)
  • Linda Meanus- Beadwork Artist (Warm Springs/Yakama)
  • Toma Villa- Painter & Sculptor (Yakama)
  • Ethel Greene- Weaver (Nez Perce)
  • Ed Edmo- Poet, Playwright, Traditional Storyteller, and Lecturer on Northwest tribal culture (Shoshone-Bannock)
  • Terry Courtney- Traditional Fishnet maker (Warm Springs)
  • Pat Courtney Gold- Master Weaver (Wasco/Tlingit)
  • Lucinda Green, Ethnobotanist (Warm Springs)
  • Jefferson Greene and the N’chi Wanapum Canoe Family- Fancy Dancing & Singing (Warm Springs)
  • Brigette Whipple Scott- Beadwork Artists, weaver of cedar bark baskets and tule (Warm Springs)
  • Eileen Spino- Weaver (Warm Springs)


On November 10, participating artists and teachers will meet for a “Day of Sharing” at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center in The Dalles, OR. This orientation will provide teachers, teaching artists, and traditional artists the opportunity to meet and share ideas as projects begin.


Culminating projects will be completed by June 2013. Class art pieces will tour local museums and art centers the summer of 2013. The 2011-2012 “Gifts from Our Ancestors” traveling student art exhibit is on display at the Maryhill Museum of Art through the month and will reopen at the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River on December 7, 2012.


Gifts from Our Ancestors is a two-year program led by the Confluence Project, local artists, and educators to engage over 3,000 tribal and non-tribal students through multiple forms of artistic, musical, and oral expression practiced by Native Americans along the Columbia River for generations. Central to this engagement is Celilo Falls. In the Northwest, there are few places more powerful than where Celilo Falls once thundered into the Columbia. The mighty Wy’am ("echo of falling water") offered life-sustaining salmon and was the seat of commerce and cultural exchange for thousands of Native Americans for over 10,000 years. Celilo Falls was inundated by The Dalles Dam in 1957. By engaging students, teachers, and their communities in this rich history, Gifts from Our Ancestors will help to ensure the continued educational, cultural, and ecological stewardship of the Columbia River and its tributaries.


About the Confluence Project


Confluence is a collaborative effort of Pacific Northwest tribes, renowned artist Maya Lin, and civic groups from Washington and Oregon to create interpretative public art, perform environmental restoration on public lands, and provide educational programming at the community level. Since 2002 we have worked as a small non-profit with local arts and culture groups, schools, and Columbia River tribes to complete four out of six major public art projects and restored public lands onsite- to international acclaim. Our final project, a tribute walkway to Celilo Falls at Celilo Park, designed by renowned artist, Maya Lin, is scheduled for completion in 2014- 2015. Visit to learn more!


For more information about the Confluence Project arts education programming, please contact Coordinator Erika Rench at or call 360.693.0123.


Gifts from Our Ancestors is made possible through the support of:

 Brot & Mary Bishop

Oregon Cultural Trust

The Hickey Family Foundation

Native Arts & Culture Foundation

Mid-Columbia Medical Center

The National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town”

Roundhouse Foundation

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