History & Cultural Summit jettisons lectures this year in favor of 'living culture' activities

09.30.2019 Danielle Frost Culture, Events

If you go

Grand Ronde History & Culture Summit

Where: Chachalu Museum & Cultural Center, 8720 Grand Ronde Road

When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5

More info:


By Danielle Frost

Smoke Signals staff writer

This year’s Grand Ronde History & Culture Summit will look very different than it has in the past.

That’s because of both a location change – from the Tribal gym to Chachalu Museum & Cultural Center – and a move from lecture style to interactive, family-friendly activities.

“With the completion of Phase II of Chachalu, the Cultural Resources Department has worked to focus energy on providing experiences for community within the new facility,” Cultural Collections Coordinator Sibyl Edwards says. “Now that we have such a beautiful cultural center, it made sense to create an event that focused on elements of living culture rather than relegate them to smaller breakout sessions.”

This year’s gathering focuses on Chinookan art and those who continue its practice as it evolves.

The main event will be a community open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, which will feature a collaborative carving project by several artists and hands-on activities for attendees. Self-guided museum tours also will be available.

“This will enable the wider community to participate with their families,” Edwards says. “We have changed from a lecture-driven event to an engagement that focuses on more personal interaction between the presenters and the guests.”

Short presentations and talks will occur throughout the day. The gym area at Chachalu will include hands-on opportunities for delving into Chinookan art as well as a place to meet artists and view examples of their work.

“We hope the community will feel welcome to come to the museum and engage,” Edwards says.

For those who enjoy the traditional lecture-style format and breakout sessions, those won’t be relegated to the past.

“We plan on alternating between the old and new style of event annually so that there is something for everyone,” Edwards says. “We want to light the spark of inspiration in community by creating the gathering of artists. Not only will the artists learn from each other, but they then in turn will show the next generation of carvers and weavers ways to connect with their culture.”

The Tribe has been hosting a History & Culture Summit annually since 2013.