Museum program tells of native culture

Lucy Luevano, right, poses with her daughter Michelle Luevano in front of the horse and buggy at the Douglas County Historical Society Museum. Lucy Luevano presented the public program following the Historical Society’s annual meeting on March 26. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)


4/16/19: The story “Audience introduced to local native culture during museum program” on Page 1 in the April 4 issue of Douglas County Empire Press included incorrect information. Shirley Daling is the treasurer of the thrift store, but not of the Douglas County Historical Society. The $35,565 mentioned was thrift store gross proceeds from 2018. About $18,000 of this was presented to the Historical Society last year. On March 26, Daling presented the Historical Society a new check for $5,000 from the thrift store.


By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

A group of Douglas County Historical Society members and members of the public had the chance to learn about native cultural traditions and how those traditions are preserved today during a presentation that followed the Historical Society’s annual meeting on March 26.

Guest speaker was Lucy Luevano, traditional cultural preservation officer of the history/archaeology program for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

Luevano is a direct descendant of the men who served as chiefs of the various tribes at the time that the area began to be settled by people of European descent. Luevano explained that it was traditional for chiefs of different tribes to marry their children to each other, so that is why so many of them are her distant grandfathers.

She showed photos she had of the chiefs and their families during that time period.

She also explained the way that her family and other traditional families preserve native culture today. They fish for salmon each year near Leavenworth and they go to traditional places to gather foods, including camas, bitter root, Indian carrot, Indian potato, huckleberry, serviceberries and chokecherries.

Luevano said that some of their traditional gathering places are in the Waterville area. Badger Mountain, for example, is a very important traditional gathering place. As a child she remembers gathering a range of foods on the mountain, including Indian carrot and Indian potato. Now bitter root and camas are the only two foods that can be gathered there. This is due to the expansion of housing.

Luevano explained that the people see their foods as sacred and even today they hold a special ceremony once a year before they begin gathering the foods.

They don’t eat traditional foods every day, but they make an effort to eat them at least every Sunday.

Some local places are also sacred for other reasons. The tribes remember Moses Stool as the place that Chief Moses would go to pray and fast for his people.

Luevano shared some of the history of the 12 tribes that make up the Colville Confederated Tribes, and showed a map of their traditional territory which consisted of a large swath of Eastern Washington, and extended into what is currently Canada.

In her capacity as traditional cultural preservation officer, Luevano works to interview elders, to compile story books, DVDs and other materials about the tribes and to help maintain the museums that the tribes operate including the Colville Tribal Museum and the Fort Okanogan Interpretive Center.

Prior to Luevano’s presentation, museum members enjoyed a lunch of pasta with sweet sausage, Caesar salad, crostinis and chocolate cake provided by Eyvonne Loomis of the Coyote Pass Cafe.

Trustee Sharon LaCrosse said, “Eyvonne treats our membership very well with plenty of hot, delicious food.”

Following Luevano’s presentation, museum volunteer Eileen Bone told the group about Joseph and Ola White and the many ways they have contributed to the museum collection over the years. Residents of East Wenatchee, the Whites visited the museum many times before deciding to donate some of the very special things they had collected over their lifetimes. From 2007 to 2014, they donated over 100 items to the museum.

Joseph White built scale-model farm equipment and a working model steam tractor. He donated these to the museum and the steam tractor stands in the museum entry way. He also donated a carving he had done of a Native American. Upon looking at the carving — which is done on the end of an orange crate — audience members were surprised to learn that he accomplished it when he was in eighth grade. Other items that White made include a doll-size Jenny Lind bed and a convertible library chair.

Ola White donated many of the antiques that she collected over the years, including a head vase, a ladies’ spittoon, a honeycomb holder and the cream and sugar set given to her mother in 1905 as a wedding gift. She also donated a cathedral window quilt that she had made.

Joseph White passed away in 2013 and Ola White passed away in 2018 at the age of 99.

Upon Ola White’s passing, the museum learned that the Whites had given the museum another gift — over $400,000 from their estate.

LaCrosse said that the gift is a godsend as the museum currently has quite a few maintenance needs. A leak has been discovered that has damaged a back wall. There is also a leak at the front entry way. The museum will need to look into repairing the roof.

Museum Treasurer Shirley Daling presented the members with a proposed budget of $35,565 for the coming fiscal year. She also announced that she had received a check of $5,000 for Thrift Store proceeds earned in 2019.

The museum membership approved Jim Danielson to serve as a new member on the Board of Trustees.

Continuing trustees include Betty Jones, Diana Vickery, Cathy Peirolo, Linda Daling, Sharon LaCrosse, Linda Avey and Peg Schmidt.

Officers are Royal DeVaney, president; Shirley Daling, vice president; Ann Whitehall, secretary; and Judy Dalton, treasurer.