Celebrating Blossoming “Balsamroots”

Dear Lily,

Many years ago, I was amazed to learn that the native balsamroot can take up to ten years to flower! This is why it is so important to protect and tend to our northwest landscape and, when we can, plant seeds that will one day blossom. That’s how I feel about Confluence’s extraordinary year. After 20 years of hard work and steady care, many figurative balsamroots have bloomed in our efforts together to connect people to the history, living cultures, and ecology of the Columbia River system through Indigenous voices.

Just take a look at what you helped us accomplish in 2022:

  • Confluence Land Bridge in Vancouver refurbished and rededicated with new artworks by artist Lillian Pitt (Warm Springs)
  • Voices of the River journal inaugural issue published
  • Founding Director Jane Jacobsen honored at Legacy Maker Gathering
  • Columbia River curriculum partnership developed with the Museum at Warm Springs, High Desert Museum and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, including new interviews with Elders
  • Emerging Indigenous Arts Educator program launched at retreat in Sisters, Oregon with our Indigenous educators and The Roundhouse Foundation
  • Conservation stewardship work parties at the Sandy River Delta
  • More than 4,000 students reached by new and longstanding Indigenous educators sharing their cultures in schools
  • National attention for Confluence by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City
  • In-person Story Gatherings returned at the Pacific Northwest History Conference in Tri-Cities, WA in collaboration with the Washington State Historical Society
  • Field School experiences with Indigenous speakers for conservation managers, educators, and museum curators
  • Teacher development workshops reached more than 400 educators and the Confluence Learning Community launched

Check out photo highlights below. As our 20th anniversary year comes to a close, I can see more blossoms growing in 2023:

  • Co-publishing with Oregon State University Press of Warm Springs Elder Linda’s Meanus’s book, My Name Is LaMoosh
  • Major expansion of school field trips to our art landscapes along the Columbia River with support from Washington’s Outdoor Learning Grant
  • Confluence Filmmaker Fellows for Indigenous creatives to be launched with support from Oregon Film
  • Stories from the Canoe documentary short to premier with Tule Films and Woodrow Hunt
  • Second issue of Voices of the River journal to be published next year
  • Voices of the River multi-media exhibits in Tribal museums and cultural centers along the Columbia River

I’m serious when I say all of this is only possible because of the support our foundation and organizational partners and by the Friends and Legacy Makers of Confluence. That’s you! If you have already supported the Our First 20 Years appeal, thank you! If not, there’s still time for a tax-deductible donation to support all the Confluence balsamroots already flowering and those yet to emerge. Thank you!


Colin Fogarty
Executive Director