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March 11, 2017: A Gathering of Families
The Karshner Center’s Great Hall was bustling with activity on Saturday, March 11 during the 2017 Gathering of Families: Celebration of Indigenous Culture & Art. Between 500 and 600 visitors, performers, storytellers, and artists packed the building between noon and 5 p.m.

HaidaThe free family festival, sponsored by the Puyallup School District and held at the Karshner Museum and Center for Culture & Arts is hosted with the goal of honoring Native American culture, promoting indigenous arts, enhancing cultural awareness, and promoting cultural competency. The incredible response to this year’s festival suggests the possibility that this will become an annual event.

Puyallup Tribal Elder Connie McCloud welcomed guests
chief leschi princessand spoke a blessing upon the hosts and participants. Students from Chief Leschi’s Drum & Dance group performed several songs and dances during the opening ceremony.

Native American artisans displayed jewelry, basketry, woolen garments, and trinkets – all for sale. Serigraph (silkscreen) artist Peter Boome had several prints on display, and sold many to the visitors and friends. Boome’s artwork was used in the marketing of this event. Sisters provided a beautiful sample of Coastal Salish artwork on all postcards and posters advertising the festival.

TammyThree storytellers entertained visitors with legends, stories, and song. Harvest Moon taught about the
SegundaCoastal Salish bigfoot called Sasquatch. Tammy Woodrich shared the Raven and salmonberry story whereHarvestRaven, the “Trickster,” plays with people gathering red and yellow salmonberries (and berries that are blackish). Author, singer, and Haida artist Sondra Simone Segundo shared her book Killer Whale Eyes while children sat at her feet to see the beautiful illustrations. She also shared a sneak peek at her new book Lovebirds.

Segundo also performed with the Haida Heritage Dance
Haida with bearGroup from Seattle. Dances performed were narrated by one of the group leaders. This helped the audience understand the story being depicted in song and dance. The story about hunting included performers of all ages, including the very young.

The final performing group included students from the Puyallup School District and some of their family friends from Seattle. Kailer Trujillo is a freshman at Kalles Junior High. He is also a Traditional dancer.

fancy dancersKailer was joined by his siblings Jasiah Eaglespeaker and Juan Old Chief, who are grass dancers. Together, they performed a traditional dance wearing brightly colored regalia sewn by their families. Feathered single bustle and porcupine hair roach with feathers provided an impressive display as they performed for visitors.

fancy girlsYounger siblings, Chandra Eaglespeaker and Aiyana Eaglespeaker also impressed visitors. Women's fancy dance often involves the use of a shawl and the dance represents the opening of a cocoon when the butterfly emerges. The beautiful shawls used for the performance on Saturday were also handmade by the family.

Baby Clarissa Morning Gun and Kaisa Trujillo performed as jingle dancers. Their regalia included jingle dresses, which include ornamentation with multiple rows of metal cones which create a jingling sound as they move. Dancing with a feathered fan, Baby Clarissa's movements provided beautiful sights and sounds for the visitors. 

Unfortunately, The Frybread Factory food vendor had a malfunction of some of their cooking equipment and had to leave before serving any Frybread. We hope to see them next year.
Children of all ages enjoyed their time in the craft room making beaded necklaces and cattail mats.

Each visitor went home with a four-poster collection of Samish artwork. Each poster is of one of the four painted panels on display in the Great Hall and contains a title and explanation of the design. Artwork was created by William Bailey and the Beaver Lodge Carving Club of the Samish Nation in the Anacortes area.

The final Culture & Arts festival for the 2016-17 school year will take place on Saturday, April 1, 2017. The Celtic Highland Festival will feature bagpipes, Scottish and Irish bands, heavy athletic sports, Celtic dance performances, and crafts for children. Don’t miss the free family festival at the Karshner Museum and Center for Culture & Arts on Saturday, April 1, 2017 from noon to 5 p.m.