Pillars of Indian Culture Honored
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Sun May 8 20:05:58 UTC 2005
Pillars of Indian culture honored
By Sonia Krishnan
Seattle Times Eastside bureau
They were the soldiers of the Puget Sound-area tribes, the ones who fought
to preserve traditional Native American ways in a modern society.
They wove baskets to tell stories and spoke their native tongues, even
though the government banned their language in schools through the 1930s.
Some of the teachers are in their 80s and 90s now; some have died.
Yesterday, these tribal elders were honored at the Seattle Art Museum for
their spark, bravery and, most of all, their determination to keep Native
American culture alive in the face of discrimination and displacement.
Anthropologists and linguists who collaborated with tribes to preserve their
language and oral histories also were recognized.
The event celebrated 27 people "who have done work from their heart," said
James Rasmussen, of the Duwamish tribe. "The survival of Indian people is
knowing who you are and where you came from."
Traditionally, Native American teachings were passed on orally through the
generations. Lushootseed, the tribal language spanning from Olympia to the
Skagit Valley, didn't have a written alphabet until the 1970s.
Hanging on to the old ways became increasingly difficult as America
modernized, said Jay Miller, professor of anthropology and Southern studies
at the University of Mississippi, who spoke at the ceremony yesterday.
Includes a mention of those honored including the late Dale Kincaid.
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