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History Club of WSU Vancouver

The WSU Vancouver History Club (advised by Clinical Assistant Professor Steve Fountain) teamed up with the WSU Vancouver First Nations Club, the Clark County Historical Museum, and the Collective for Social and Environmental Justice to present a film series as part of the Sixth Native American Culture and History Symposium. Over three evenings in February and March, more than 250 students, faculty, staff, and members of the public viewed four documentaries.

A Thousand Voices kicked off the series, highlighting contemporary women leadership in Pueblo, Navajo, and Apache communities. Katie Anderson, Director of the Clark Country History Museum, led a discussion on her efforts to inspire the next generation of women leaders.

The second evening presented Celilo Falls and the Remaking of the Columbia River on the 10th anniversary of its initial release and the 60th anniversary of the silencing of the falls. It was followed by a screening of The Lost Fish, which recounts the efforts of the Columbia River Intertribal Fisheries Commission’s efforts to restore lamprey as a culturally important food. Wilbur Slockish, hereditary Chief of the Klickitats, offered opening words and followed the films with his responses questions about changes on the Columbia River in his lifetime.

The final film was Promised Land, a new documentary that has won several prizes, including the an Achievement Award at the LA Skins Fest and an Official Selection of the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco. Renny Christopher, Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, welcomed visitors to campus and Sam Robinson, Vice Chair of the Chinook Indian Nation, and Jane Pulliam, Chinook Elder, joined the filmmakers Sarah Samudre Salcedo and Vasant Samudre Salcedo afterwards in an extended discussion of Duwamish and Chinook efforts to gain federal recognition.

The filmmakers and tribal council members will continue to collaborate in showings around the Pacific Northwest during the next several months, and, if the Vancouver premiere is any indication, they will find audiences eager to hear more from our Native American community. Several hours after Chinook singers and drummers opened the evening with a blessing song, the conversations continued over the last of the food and drink.

The WSUV History Club also played an instrumental role in the Southwest Washington History Day on March 4, serving as judges for K-12 student projects including videos, original songs, dioramas, and more. For the third year running, more than a dozen WSU students, led by club President Shayna Thiesmeyer, served our community and worked alongside teachers and other volunteers from regional school districts to help younger students explore history and critical thinking.