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June 1997

Native Artists from the Columbia Plateau

A celebration of the Goddess concept and image through the eyes of three artists.

Because of its geographic location between the Rocky Mountains and the Cascades, the Columbia Plateau has its own individual way of life which has thrived through the persistence of a unique way of life. Plateau clutural identity endures and is found in the hearts and artistry of the people.

These five Native artists are continuing the artistic traditions of their people, but they are also bridging the gap between traditional and contemporary art.


contour beaded bags traditional clothing

Maynard Whiteowl Lavadour received this year's Governor's Award for the Arts of Oregon. Maynard is Cayuse-Nez Perce and an Umatilla tribal member known internationally for his beadworking, basket making and tribal clothing. His work is represented in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC. He will exhibit one of his famous "Baby Boards", a traditional native vehicle for carrying infants. The 18" board is shaped similar to a snowshoe, with a fully beaded top and a white buckskin cover. Adorned with beaded and buckskin fringes, it is made to be carried either on the back or on a horse's saddle.


        Sophie George is of Wanatchipum, Wasco and Cowlitz descent. She is a Yakama Nationn tribal member. Sophie works in Portland making beadwork, basketry and ceremonial objects with skills passed down from her mother and grandmother. Recently she had been recreating the Columbia River Wedding Veil, made of shells, coins, metal and glass beads. One of these exquisite veils will be featured in the show.  

"From Generation to Generation"
Handwoven "Sally" Bag
cotton, dogbane, tradebeads
3", 5" and 8" diameters

Pat Courney Gold , and Bernyce Courney are sisters who both work as fiber artists in basketry. They are Wasco-Wishram Indians enrolled in the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, OR. They have revived the Wasco tradition of Sally bags, a full turn twine type of weaving decorated with unique X-ray motifs. They have also created their own variations based on their own experiences and observations.

Lillian Pitt
"Feather Woman"
raku, buckskin, beads


        Lillian Pitt a member of the Warm Springs-Yakima tribe, lives and works on Portland, OR. Combining beads, feathers, shells and wood she hand builds masks reflecting the characters from traditional legends and images from the rock paintings along the Columbia River. She Who Watches, a prominent image among Pitt's masks, is taken from the pictograph on the North Side of the Columbia River where her father's people, the Yakama, lived.


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