Announcement: NEA-funded Folklife Survey of the Columbia River Gorge

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded the Oregon Folklife Network funding to identify and document cultural traditions in the Columbia River Gorge counties of Hood River, Wasco, Jefferson, Sherman, Gilliam, Morrow, and Umatilla as well as with the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

As Oregon’s designated Folk & Traditional Arts Program, the OFN is dedicated to finding excellent performers, demonstrators, and speakers for our Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, local festivals, school and library programs in order to preserve and celebrate folkways throughout the state. Folklorists Debbie Fant and Nancy Nusz will be conducting the fieldwork, which involves interviewing and photo documentation. Fant will be in Morrow and Umatilla counties and at the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla starting in September with the Pendleton Round-up and throughout the year until June 2015. Nusz will be in Hood River, Wasco, Jefferson, Sherman, and Gilliam counties and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs from March to June 2015. They will be documenting people involved with traditions related to hunting, farming, commercial, sport, and subsistence fishing, ranching, logging, and mining, as well as river work, trapping, tanning, food preservation, and beekeeping. They are also particularly interested in the ethnic heritage traditions of the regions’ residents, such as Native, Asian, African American, Latino, European, and more.

Nancy Nusz (MA, Western Kentucky University) began her folklore career at the Bureau of Florida Folklife, serving as Folk Arts in Education coordinator & conducting fieldwork (maritime, ethnic urban communities, agriculture, circus). In 1991, she came to the Oregon Folklife Program (previously housed at the Oregon Historical Society), first as coordinator & then director, conducting fieldwork & programming, curating exhibits, & developing curriculum. She has worked for UNESCO and is very excited to be meeting with old friends and interviewing new ones in Oregon’s Gorge region.

Deborah Fant (MA, UT Austin) has been a public folklorist for over 20 years, first as a fieldworker for the Bureau of Florida Folklife. She has worked as the Idaho state folklorist, Manager of the Cowboy Poetry Gathering (Western Folklife Center), Deputy Director of Northwest Folklife, and now for the Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission. Fant has conducted fieldwork, directed festivals, edited publications, and curating exhibits and is thrilled to be investigating traditions in eastern Oregon.

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