In the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center
In addition to its flexible and strategic responses to the pandemic, the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center at Evergreen recently marked a milestone anniversary with a special online event. Below is a brief snapshot of how the Longhouse celebrated — and how it has engaged and expanded its community over the past two-plus years.
In November 2021, the Longhouse marked an anniversary: 25 years of supporting culture and arts in Indigenous communities and at Evergreen.
In November 2021, Sky Bear Media released a documentary on the Longhouse, featuring historic photos and poignant interviews that revealed that the center — the first of its kind — has inspired generations of arts and cultural leaders.
Over the last decade, the Longhouse has given over $800,000 in small grants to tribal artists, including dozens of small pandemic-era emergency grants to purchase art supplies. Native artists Terresa White, Yu’pik, Joe Seymour, Squaxin Island, and others note that they were inspired to take up artistic pursuits after a contact with the Longhouse.
During the pandemic, the Longhouse inaugurated a lunchtime lecture series where Northwest Native artists discussed their public art commissions in Portland, Tacoma, and Olympia. The series was attended by art enthusiasts nationwide, expanding the reach and influence of the Longhouse, and more lectures are planned.
New Classes and Workshops
The Longhouse returned to in-person events by offering art workshops for students, a Coast Salish weaving class taught by Susan Pavel, and a celebration of civil rights activist Elizabeth Peratrovich, Tlingit. The Longhouse also continued its Native heritage workshops in tribal communities, including hosting an online basket-hat workshop by Coeur d’Alene artist Leanne Campbell for Tribal participants.
The Gift of SIAM
The Longhouse launched the Supporting Indigenous Arts Mastery Program (SIAM), which will offer grants to select colleges and universities in 11 states and one Canadian province. The program will help grant recipients support the cultural arts of Tribal peoples in their communities.
The Longhouse’s retrospective exhibition, “Across the Waters,” was so well-received that the Longhouse is taking on management of the Evergreen Gallery. In this way, Longhouse leaders can ensure that art, including Native art, remains at the center of the Evergreen experience.
Leadership and Structure
Founding director and Vice President Tina Kuckkahn-Miller, Ojibwe, left the college to take on a new role in philanthropy, and was succeeded by Kara Briggs, Sauk-Suiattle. Laura VerMeulen, Tlingit/Haida, after a long tenure at the Longhouse, became its managing director. In addition, the Longhouse is now administered by the new Tribal Relations, Arts and Cultures division, and is creating a tribal liaison position.