Road Trip

Confluence Field School: Lower Columbia

July 11 - 12, 2020
9am - 4pm
SW WA. to Pacific Coast

Confluence Field School – Lower Columbia – July 11-12, 2020

Applications are now closed.

For generations, our region’s origin story has been “Lewis and Clark discovered this place and the pioneers settled it.” We work to replace this tragically oversimplified narrative with a more holistic view of history that includes the long-neglected voices of Indigenous cultures that still call this place home.

The Confluence Field School is an immersive opportunity for teachers and education leaders to learn more about the storied landscape of the Columbia River system through Indigenous voices. These summer journeys include guided visits to Native sites of cultural and environmental significance with tribal cultural leaders and thinkers to hear personal insights into Columbia River Native traditions and history. Participants come away with a richer understanding of Tribal sovereignty, cultural traditions and heritage, resilience, and the value of reciprocity.

By joining this immersive experience, you can also help carry this work forward. Educators who have joined us in the past repeatedly express how unique and powerful these experiences are for personal and professional development.


This trip begins at the Confluence Land Bridge at Fort Vancouver with a discussion with members of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. Then we travel to Bay Center, Washington as guests of the Chinook Indian Nation for a traditional salmon bake, conversation, drum and song. The following morning includes a visit to Cape Disappointment and the Confluence art landscapes by Maya Lin to experience where Lewis and Clark first saw the Pacific Ocean in Chinook homelands. Professional development for teachers: 7 hours.

About the Program

The Confluence Field Schools are open to educators of all kinds, including classroom teachers, school principals, district administrators, school board members, administrators and educators with nonprofit organizations that work with schools and students. Ideally, our cohort will include a blend of travelers with varied educational roles, geographic and cultural diversity, and subject area focuses. We strongly welcome tribal members and educators who serve Native students. We invite groups of as many as three people from one school, district, or organization to apply.

Confluence Field Schools are free of change thanks to generous grants from the Emily Gottfried Fund and Meyer Memorial Trust. Confluence will cover speakers’ and park fees, select meals, and supplies. Participants must pay their own travel costs, including lodging and some meals. Carpooling options are available. Teachers will receive professional development certificates in cultural awareness of Native American experiences and perspectives. In your application, please specify what impact you expect this experience will have on your work and with students.

Participants must submit their application by April 13, 2020. Final list of participants will be shared by May 1, 2020. For more information contact Confluence Program Manager Courtney Yilk or call us at 360-693-0123.