Confluence Project Grant Award by Michelle Dawkins

Gifts from Our Ancestors is a two-year art program led by the Confluence Project, local artists, and educators to engage over 2,000 local students in the exploration of traditional art and cultures found at Celilo Falls. In the Northwest, there are few places more powerful than where Celilo Falls once thundered into the Columbia River. The mighty Wy’am -“echo of falling water”- offered life-sustaining salmon and was the seat of commerce and cultural exchange for thousands of Native Americans for over 10,000 years.

Corbett Grade School was selected to be a part of this outstanding educational program.  The Confluence Project will fund $3000 for upcoming art projects in our school.   We will also have access to visiting artists that have partnered with the Confluence Project.  Participation in the project also includes a visit by artist Lillian Pitt.  Lillian Pitt is a Pacific Northwest Native American artist whose ancestors lived in and near the Columbia River Gorge for over 10,000 years.  Our school will also participate in a touring exhibit that will feature student art in local museums, galleries, and public spaces.

Corbett Grade School teachers and students will gain access to many resources to help further our exploration of the Columbia River Gorge.  Participation in this project will help students gain a deeper sense of place and belonging as they learn about the rich cultural heritage of the Gorge.  Students will be introduced to indigenous ways of knowing while developing critical thinking skills, promoting the preservation of natural resources, oral history gathering, and sourcing art pieces with local materials.

Please visit or contact Michelle Dawkins at  to find out more information about this project.