Cultural Resources seeking exhibit donations about Grand Ronde women

12.29.2011 Dean Rhodes Culture, History, Events

In April, the Willamette Heritage Center at the Mill in Salem opens a new exhibit, "shawash ill/I LuchNfn - nstayka ikanuN," or in English, "Grand Ronde Women - Our Story."

The Cultural Resources Department project, led by Tribal member and Cultural Interpretive Specialist Julie Brown, has set its sights on items like photographs of Tribal women who served in the armed forces, wearing traditional regalia and carrying cradle boards.

Specifically, said Brown, "We're looking for old photos of Tribal women who filled positions that men typically held during WWII. Examples include shipyard, welders, machinists, etc.

"We're also looking for old cradle boards, or photos of cradle boards; old regalia, beads and accessories or pictures of them; old clothing made from hides or fur; old canning jars, crates or other items used in the cannery in the mid-1900s; and stories of courage, perseverance of our Tribal women.

"The exhibit is an opportunity for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde to educate the public that Native American women have always been leaders and visionaries to their people and to the success of their Tribes," said Brown.

"We have been stereotyped as followers and domestic workers in society, inaccuracies that still prevail in our history books and media. Through this event with Willamette Heritage Center, we will honor our Native women in our history as well as our current leaders as we continue to provide direction and leadership to our people."

"This exhibit represents the second cooperative exhibition between the Heritage Center and the Grand Ronde Tribe," said Heritage Center Executive Director Peter Booth. "I'm extremely excited and thrilled to see this partnership continue."

The Grand Ronde Women exhibit is being curated by Tribal member David Lewis, manager of the Cultural Resources Department, Brown and Tribal member Stephanie Wood, a University of Oregon student who is contributing exhibit material and history related to basketry.

The exhibit will follow another women's show, the January-March winter exhibit, "Willamette Women: Our History is Our Strength," the museum's second annual Heritage Extravaganza. The museum's heritage extravaganzas invite Mid-Valley heritage, cultural and history museums and organizations to participate together in one show.

The two exhibits come at the 100th anniversary of women suffrage in Oregon, Booth said.

"The subject is also extremely important in the Native community, in that the role of Native women was essential for the survival of the community. And the Grand Ronde Tribe has created some very strong and influential women up to and including the current Tribal Council."

The exhibit will run from Friday, April 6, through Monday, May 28.

Brown can be contacted regarding donations at or 503-879-2186.