This IS Kalapuyan Land opened in 2019 as a physical museum exhibition by Guest Curator Steph Littlebird Fogel (Grand Ronde, Kalapuya) and became an online exhibition in 2020. Fogel annotated panels from the museum’s prior exhibit on Kalapuyan peoples, curated contemporary Native artwork into the exhibition, and added historical content from David G. Lewis, Phd, who is a preeminent scholar on Western Oregon tribes. The exhibition prompts critical thinking around representation of Indigenous history and identity in non-Indigenous institutions.
In my unique role as Five Oaks Museum’s first Guest Curator, I was tasked with reframing a preexisting exhibition on the Kalapuyan people of Oregon.
As a lifelong Oregon resident and descendant of the Kalapuyan people, I grew up in a state that exalted pioneer and Oregon Trail mythology. The preexisting exhibition, created over 15 years ago, was riddled with errors, erasures, stereotypes, and scientific misinformation. Because I am not a historian, it was imperative for me to work with someone who is an expert in our tribal history. I was incredibly lucky to collaborate with tribal scholar and Grand Ronde Confederation member, Dr. David Lewis. With his generous assistance and online collection of academic articles, I eliminated inaccuracies, and reframed biased narratives. By introducing artwork made by living Native creators I could demonstrate the vibrancy and abundance of Indigenous culture that thrives today.
This IS Kalapuyan Land acts as both a museum exhibition title and land acknowledgment. It is also a declaration of perpetual stewardship by the Kalapuyan people. “We have always been here, we will always be here.”
-Excerpt from Decentering Whiteness in the Museum, by Steph Littlebird Fogel
Stephanie Littlebird Fogel (Grand Ronde, Kalapuya) is a visual artist, professional writer and curator from Washington County, Oregon. She is a 2019 Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) project grant awardee, a two-time Art + Sci Initiative recipient, and has worked in collaboration with the Oregon Bee Project, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Postal Service. Fogel served as a juror for the Idea Initiative grant program and received the Nancy Tonkin Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Artists.
David G. Lewis, Phd (Grand Ronde, Takelma, Chinook, Molalla, and Santiam Kalapuya) acted as expert consultant to this exhibition. Lewis is a Native American researcher and educator with over 20 years of experience in Anthropology and Native Studies. He teaches at local universities and colleges and takes research and consultant contracts with tribes, local governments and nonprofits. In the past, Lewis worked for the Grand Ronde Tribe for over 8 years as the Cultural Department Manager and volunteered for another 3 years on the Culture Committee, becoming Vice Chair of the Committee.
He is very active in the western Oregon region in researching key questions the tribes have about Tribal history and culture, colonization, and sovereign rights.
All images in this exhibition photographed by Mario Gallucci.
Welcome to the image gallery!
- Click on an image to see it fullscreen. Click the browser’s back arrow to return to this image gallery.
- Click on a panel or object title to link to its page where you can find a transcript and related research links.
- Click on an artist’s name to link to their page, where you can view all of their works included in this exhibition and read their bio and statement.
Everyone’s A Winner – Don Bailey
When Rivers Were Trails –
Matriarchs and Sacred Ones Moccasin and Earring Set–
Beaded Yoke –
The Oregon Trail of Tears and Other Hidden Native Histories: A Local Story Talk with David G. Lewis, Phd | View the video here.
Native Children and the Forest Grove Indian Training School; research presentation by Eva Guggemos | View research materials here.
Indigenous Curator; Oregon Public Broadcasting interview with Steph Littlebird Fogel | Listen to the interview here.
Museum at (Our Place): This IS Kalapuyan Land | Visit a mini yard sign exhibition in your community.