Photos by Cheryl Landes
The Lelooska Foundation and Cultural Center in Ariel, Washington, was founded in 1977 by members of the Kwakwaka’wakw people. The center has a museum, educational programs and classes, and living history performances.
The museum’s collection includes items from different Native American cultures, such as handwoven baskets, bags made from corn husks, cradles, moccasins, tomahawks, clothing, and a birch bark canoe.
The living history performances are held in the summer and range from one to two hours. Both performances are held around a fire in the center of the Kwakwaka’wakw ceremonial house.
Guests sit on wooden benches on three sides of the ceremonial house, and the performance takes place around a fire in the center of the house.
The performances consist of traditional Kwakwaka’wakw songs, dances, and stories. The dancers and actors in the stories wear traditional handmade clothing and hand-carved, painted masks.
The performances were created by Chief Lelooska, Chief James Aul Sewid, and tribal elders to share the history and culture of the Kwakwaka’wakw people.
I attended one of the short performances. I didn’t post any photos, because taking pictures and shooting video are not allowed during the performances.
After the performance, we were invited to the museum for refreshments—coffee, hot chocolate, and cookies.
Find more information about the living history performances and other events at the Lelooska Foundation and Cultural Center’s Events page.
The Lelooska Foundation and Cultural Center is located at 165 Merwin Village Road in Ariel, Washington, 30 miles northeast of Vancouver, Washington, and 40 miles northeast of Portland.