Native American Studies specialist will speak at Confluence Gallery June 15

Dr. Laurie Arnold is the Director of Native American Studies at Gonzaga University
“These objects tell stories and share histories, if we know how to view them.”

TWISP - Confluence Gallery and the Methow Valley Interpretive Center, together with Humanities WA, present Dr. Laurie Arnold, Director of Native American Studies at Gonzaga University, for a free presentation on indigenous Columbia Plateau art at the Confluence Gallery, 104 Glover St., Twisp at 6:30 p.m. June 15.
Dr. Arnold’s address, Indigenous Columbia Plateau Art Historical and Contemporary Contexts, is in conjunction with the Snk’lip Nc’aps: Coyote Winked: Native Art from the Indigenous Plateau art exhibit at the Confluence Gallery that runs until June 30.
“I love the title of this exhibit, “Coyote Winked!” said Mary Yglesia, Executive Director for the Methow Field Institute/Methow Valley Interpretive Center. “Coyote figures prominently in the stories of the Native Americans sometimes representing the power of creation and sometimes as a messenger carrying important  information.”
Dr. Arnold’s talk will provide a framework for contextualizing the Columbia Plateau. It aims to orient listeners to the ancestral past - lifeways, cultural practices, social formations - to interpret the present. The discussion will reflect on how changes during the last 200 years interrupted tribal lifeways but did not destroy them. It will consider how cultural continuity is present across the Columbia Plateau, if observers know how to recognize it.
The Columbia Plateau has been an Indigenous space for at least 10,000 years. For the last 200 years, it has been a co-occupied space, a region shared by descendants of ancestral Plateau peoples and the settler society which grew during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Today, Native American communities throughout the Columbia Plateau engage in cultural revitalization ranging from language restoration to writing tribal histories to creating art, including traditional and modern art forms.
Dr. Arnold speaks about how the contemporary landscape still offers representation of the Plateau culture, and she teaches the context to understand the representation.
“It could be in the digging stick spotted in the back seat of a pick-up, a canoe made from a traditional design floating down a river, a Spokane Indians baseball jersey with the team name written in Salish, or a painting or drawing or photograph made by Plateau artists,” said Dr. Arnold. “These objects tell stories and share histories, if we know how to view them.”
Laurie Arnold is an enrolled member of the Sinixt Band of the Colville Confederated Tribes and is Director of Native American Studies at Gonzaga University. Her first book, Bartering with the Bones of Their Dead: The Colville Confederated Tribes and Termination, was published by the University of Washington Press in 2012. She holds a PhD in History from Arizona State University and a Bachelor’s degree in History from Oregon State University.
In 2017, Laurie together with a colleague at Whitman College, won a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute award for “The Native American West: A Case Study of the Columbia Plateau.” The institute will be held at Whitman in June 2018. Laurie’s next project, The National Indian Gaming Association and Intertribal Activism: Community Leaders, National Impacts, is a study of Indian gaming told from the beginning, through the lens of leaders who advocated on behalf of tribes and who continue to advance tribal goals three decades later. Laurie previously held positions at the D'Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry Library in Chicago and at the University of Notre Dame.
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