OFN Welcomes New Staff

Being housed at the University of Oregon empowers OFN to provide rich professional development experience. We offer a variety of student opportunities to train emerging public folklorist. Please welcome…

Rebecca Pace, a first-year M.A. student in Folklore and Public Culture, working at the OFN for the 2019 – 2020 Academic Year. Originally from Los Angeles, Rebecca earned her B.A. in Theatre and Cinema Studies, with a minor in Psychology, from Northeastern University in Boston. She returns to the west coast after residing in Washington, D.C. for several years – working in public policy, non-profits, and communications, while becoming a Certified Associate Project Manager (CAPM).

Key among her program administration duties at OFN is managing the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program. She plans to take advantage of the many opportunities offered within the UO Folklore Program.

Buckaroo Exhibit Pairs with Blake Little’s Gay Rodeo Exhibit at MNCH

We are happy to announce the return of and updates to our Buckaroo Traditions of Oregon exhibit! This exhibit celebrates the continuity of occupational traditions in rural Oregon and encourages audience understanding and appreciation of art forms arising from ranching practices.

Cowboys have made an enduring mark on the American popular imagination but not every cowboy is a buckaroo. What sets them apart? In addition to their sense of style and self-sufficiency, buckaroos work almost exclusively from horseback in the manner of their vaquero predecessors. In the Great Basin, knowledge of many vaquero and buckaroo traditions have been passed along through families and become integrated into the lives of working ranchers and horsemen. Buckaroos are unique in their use of extensive horse training techniques and custom handcrafted gear, including traditional saddles featuring intricate leather- and silverwork as well as mecates (ropes) made from horse mane hair and braided rawhide reatas (lassos).

Some of the most vibrant examples of buckaroo artistic traditions are thriving in rural eastern and southern Oregon, despite their decline elsewhere. Buckaroo Traditions of Oregon features a mecates by Helen Dougal Corbari, and the tooled leatherwork of saddle maker Steve McKay. These pieces represent a unique blend of hard work and artistry.

The exhibit was made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the fieldwork of folklorists Douglas Manger and LuAnne Kozma. Featuring folk artists Merlin Rupp, Helen Dougal Corbari, Bill and Teresa BlackLen Babb III, and Steve McKay from Malheur, Harney, and Lake counties, the exhibit traces the development from vaquero to buckaroo. It features the artistry of some of Oregon’s finest gear-makers. Folklorist Adrienne Decker served as the exhibit curator, while folklorist and exhibit designer/fabricator Lyle Murphy designed and built the exhibit.

OFN’s Buckaroo exhibit augments the Museum of Natural and Cultural History’s Blake Little: Photographs From The Gay Rodeo exhibit, which has been extended to February 20, 2020. The gay rodeo movement began in the 1970s, combining gay and cowboy culture to combat stereotypes and create a community for marginalized individuals among the rodeo scene. The movement grew to be the second-largest rodeo circuit, creating the International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA) in 1985. Despite its successful trajectory, it met opposition and remained relatively underground to protect its members from scrutiny and discrimination. Today it is internationally renowned and open to all – while still highly encouraging LBGTQ+ participation. Little’s photographs chronicle the period between 1988 – 1992. Folklorist Craig Miller of Utah wrote a piece about the movement: “Gay Rodeo; a Celebration of Western Urban Heritage and Urban Gay Culture” and delivered a talk at the MNCH in October 2019; Miller, an experienced ballroom and western swing dance instructor, also led a rousing rodeo dance party, which included dance lessons for all attendees. Little and Miller were among the first few to document gay rodeos; their work illustrates how gay rodeo challenged and embraced the image of the cowboy while simultaneously shaping their own identity and agency in the West.

Buckaroo Exhibit at the OFN

Both exhibits are located on the University of Oregon campus: Buckaroo Traditions of Oregon in the OFN exhibit cases on the second floor of UO Knight Library, Room 242; and the Blake Little: Photographs From The Gay Rodeo at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History.

2019 Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program Master Artists’ Gathering

Iris Teeuwen (photos and text) and Christal Snyder (text and editor)

Top starting from the left: Steve McKay, Marjan Anvari, Mic Crenshaw, Mark Ross, Brian Hart, Hossein Salahi, Antonio Huerta. Bottom Starting from the left: Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim, Kelli Palmer, Esther Stutzman, Roberta Kirk, Marge Kalama, Azar Salehi, Maria de Jesus Gonzalez Laguna. Present at the gathering, but not photographed here: Charlotte Roderique, Wanda Johnson, Sandra Teeman

 

Oregon Folklife Network staff had the privilege of spending 2 days at Bend’s High Desert Museum at a professional development gathering with 17 of Oregon’s master traditional artists. Funding from the NEA and the Oregon Arts Commission and a generous partnership with the High Desert Museum provided support to invite our Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program’s (TAAP) master artists (2011-2019) for peer-to-peer mentoring and professional development. On April 27-28, 2019, 17 of 32 master artists came together for networking, panel discussions, performances and demonstrations. As the artists noted, “It was wonderful to have this opportunity to get to know each other.” The gathering provided a “fantastic opportunity to connect – all of it was useful.”

Folk & Traditional Art Displays: The Gathering began with introductions. Several artists shared their pieces with the group.

Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim (center) shows her traditional Palestinian embroidery to Persian tazhib artist, Marjan Anvari (right). Burns Paiute moccasin maker and tradition keeper Charlotte Roderique (left) chats to another artist.

Iranian traditional artist and conservator Marjan Anvari specializes in tazhib, a form of traditional manuscript illumination that dates back to 224 A.D. Because of its ubiquitous presence in Iran’s historical architecture, visual arts, and craftsmanship, tazhib has become a symbol of nationality and culture. Anvari has more than 15 years of experience working on manuscripts, books, and art on paper and is particularly dedicated to using her talents to educate children and adults. This particular piece, Anvari explained, is a runner that she decorated with “a combination of traditional Persian fabric (Termeh) and hand-painted Persian illumination (tazhib).” The motif is called shamseh (sun).

Cornhusk weaver Kelli Palmer (Warm Springs) uses dried cornhusk, hemp, yarn, and buckskin (brain-tanned and smoked deer hide) to make her traditional baskets. Palmer employs a double-twining technique to create traditional woven hats and sally bags or wapus (flat baskets); women wear the bags around their waists and use them to collect roots that they later dry and prepare for eating.

Marjorie Kalama (Warm Springs) makes traditional loomed beadwork. Her method of two-needled tack-down beading requires the simultaneous use of two needles with different sized threads. She adorns dresses, fans, and more with her intricately shaded designs. Kalama has won six awards for her beadwork at tribal member art shows.

H’Klumaiyat-Roberta Kirk (Wasco) is a traditional beadworker and regalia maker. Kirk uses shells and beadwork to embellishes traditional clothing that she designs and makes for ceremonies and pow-wows. Kirk also gathers traditional foods for the Simnasho Longhouse in Warm Springs and has consulted for several museums, including the Smithsonian, on Native American artifacts.

Ragalia makers Marge Kalama (Warm Springs) and Charlotte Roderique (Burns Paiute) admire Kelli Palmer’s traditional baskets.

Buckaroo and traditional saddle maker Steve McKay (right) shows Marge Kalama (left) one of his intricately braided rawhide lariats. McKay learned to tool saddles in the 1980s from fellow traditional artist Len Babb II; other Oregon buckaroos consider him the “go-to” guy for functional, well-made gear.

Antonio Huerta (Mexican charro/cowboy) examines one of Steve McKay’s braided rawhide ropes.

Antonio Huerta performs traditional charrería (cowboy rope work), an skill used to work cattle and in rodeo competitions.

 

Needs Assessment and Professional Development: OFN asked artists to let us know about areas in which they needed help as well as where they had strengths and could help others. Categories included promotions, finding gigs, business and finance, and expanding opportunities.

Tazhib (illumination and calligraphy) artist Marjan Anvari (Persian) is interested in assistance with online promotion.

Roberta Kirk and Maria de Jesus Gonzalez Laguna add their thoughts for a session on Looking Back/Looking Forward or the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program.

Antonio Huerta, who also does outreach for the UO Division of Undergraduate Studies, shares his ideas with fellow artists.

Charlotte Roderique (left), Wanda Johnson (center), and Sandra Teeman (right) are members of the Burns Paiute Tribe and skilled moccasin makers who have taught this traditional art to Burns Paiute children As members of the tribe’s Cultural Advisory Committee, these culture keepers have dedicated their time and effort to sustaining their heritage.

Charlotte Roderique takes her turn to talk with the group.

Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim (standing), a 2018 National Heritage Fellow, learned traditional Palestinian embroidery the stories behind the designs from her mother and grandmother.

Emily West Hartlerode (standing), OFN Associate Director, facilitates a session about exploring resources that OFN and artists can share to support one other.

Michelle Seiler-Godfrey, Program Development Manager at the High Desert Museum, spoke to artists about marketing their arts and expanding their networks.

 

Performances: On Saturday evening everyone gathered at McMenamins Old St. Francis School to socialize and share their traditional arts.

First up to perform was old time musician Mark Ross, whose repertoire of over nearly 500 songs runs the gamut of American roots music, includes ballads, train songs, blues, and western swing.

Traditional Irish singer Brian Ó hAirt explores the Irish experience from the profane to the conventional through music. The continuing significance of Irish ballads and folk songs is evidenced by its popularity at any Irish gathering, whether at homes, in pubs or bars, and for community celebrations.

Master santoor player Hossein Salehi began his musical career at seven when he started learning this ancient traditional art form from his father, Maestro Abbas Salehi. The instrument is a trapezoid-shaped hammered dulcimer with 72 strings strung over small adjustable bridges; this makes it possible for the santoor, Iran’s national instrument, the capacity to produce a range of three octaves. This musical tradition is over 1100 years old.

Azar Salehi is an Persian storyteller who also recites traditional poetry. Salehi has partnered with Portland State University and others in her mission to connect members of the Iranian diaspora to their cultural roots.

MC Michael “Mic” Crenshaw is a poetry slam champion and a respected hip hop artist around the Northwest and in Africa. A former member of the Portland-based group Hungry Mob, Crenshaw currently acts as Political Director for the Hip Hop Congress and the Lead U.S. Organizer for the Afrikan Hip Hop Caravan. Crenshaw recently received one of four inaugural 2019-21 Fields Artist’s Fellowships from the Oregon Community Foundation in partnership with Oregon Humanities.

Traditional Coos and Kalapuya storyteller Esther Stutzman is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz and a member of the Northwest Indian Storyteller’s Association. Stutzman was the winner of the 2017 Governor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement.

At the conclusion to the TAAP Master Artist Gathering, Mexican Folkloríco dancer and teacher Maria de Jesus Gonzalez Laguna and Antonio Huerta collaborated on a performance that combined charrería with a traditional folklórico dance. Each of Mexico’s states has a set of traditional dances that feature specific expression, technique, dress, and accessories.

Echoing everyone’s sentiments, one of the artists commented, “the performances [and folk art displays were] all beautiful, and we will remember that for a long time.

 

In Memoriam: Ricarda McCleary Cause

In Memoriam,

 Ricarda McCleary Cause

December 22, 2016

Ricarda McCleary Cause in her workshop.

We recently learned of Ricarda McCleary Cause’s passing. Our condolences go out to her family and friends. Cause was a world class silversmith whose lifetime of work has been featured in books, on public television, and in western art galleries. She sold her pieces at the annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering and the Western Folklife Center has featured her work. As a child who grew up on a ranch in Winnemucca, Nevada, Cause admired her father’s workshop and “loved being out there with all the tools.” Inspired by her mother’s love of silver jewelry, Cause started with silver belt buckles. She later learned how to make silver bits and spurs and how to engrave. Later making more jewelry than bits and spurs, she continued to make exquisitely crafted belt buckles, bracelets, and concho belts. Cause made her home in Lakeview where she married, reared a daughter, and later taught silversmithing to her son-in-law, Jimmy van Bell. Cause continued to collect tools for her well-appointed home workshop. Ricarda McCleary Cause’s silverwork had both local and international renown.

More on her life and work.

http://www.lakecountyexam.com/obituaries/ricarda-mccleary-clause/article_8405cfac-d203-11e6-91ce-07bbee000786.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oregon Legends & Lore Marker Program

The Oregon Folklife Network has partnered with the William G. Pomeroy Foundation® on their Legends & Lore® Marker Program. Established by the Pomeroy Foundation in 2015, Legends & Lore promotes cultural heritage by placing markers at sites associated with local traditional culture (for example: folklore, customs, legends, beliefs, traditional art, music and dance) in communities across the United States. Stories from Oregon’s rich folklife heritage will be featured on roadside markers at sites across the state thanks to a partnership between the Oregon Folklife Network and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation.

OFN will serve as a grant evaluator for the Pomeroy Foundation’s expanding national Legends & Lore Marker Grant Program, helping to put Oregon folklife in the spotlight. OFN will be responsible for reviewing applications as well as confirming the legitimacy and accuracy of folklore and legends that applicants in Oregon intend to commemorate on a marker.

How to Propose an Oregon Legends & Lore® Marker:

Go to OFN’s Legends & Lore page and click on the application hotlink. Grants are available to 501(c)(3) organizations, nonprofit academic institutions and municipalities in Oregon. The Foundation’s grants cover the entire cost of a marker, pole and shipping. See above for a sample sign featured for the Legends & Lore Marker Grant Program.

Questions? Contact Riki Saltzman riki@uoregon.edu or Emily West Hartlerode eafanado@uoregon.edu or call 541-346-3820.

2019 Tradition Keepers Folklife Festival, Four Rivers Cultural Center, June 29, 2019

OFN is proud to partner once again with Four Rivers Cultural Center for the 2nd annual Tradition Keepers Folklife Festival in Ontario, Oregon, June 29, 2019, 10 am – 5 pm. Not only is Four Rivers one of OFN’s partners for Culture Fest 2019, but the organization was also the recipient of the Museum of Natural and Cultural History’s 2019 Oregon Stewardship Award for the center’s Tradition Keepers Folklife Festival, a daylong public celebration of traditional arts and artists in eastern Oregon.

                       

Culture Fest 2019!

Culture Fest partnerships support performances, demonstrations and presentations about Oregon’s living cultural heritage and feature traditional artists who are part of the Oregon Culture Keepers Roster, which provides a curated listing of over 200 folk artists for presenting organizations to work with in planning their programs.

Culture Fest 2019 brings collaborative public programs with diverse culture keepers to six local arts, culture, and heritage organizations around the state in Ontario, Portland, La Grande, Baker City and McMinnville. Completed Culture Fest partnerships include Portland’s 5th Annual New Year in the Park and the McMinnville Library’s El Día de los Niños Fiesta.

On April 27, 2019, OFN partnered with the Hmong American Community of Oregon (Portland) for the 5th Annual New Year in the Park festival. It took place at Glenhaven Park, in Northeast Portland and featured several traditional dance groups from the Thai, Lao, Hmong, and Cambodian communities.

On May 4, 2019, McMinnville Public Library presented Latino and other folk and traditional artists for El Día de los Niños Fiesta. This collaboration featured OFN’s rostered artists Grupo Condor (traditional Latin American music), Sushmita Poddar (Asian Indian henna), and Monica Moreno (Mexican piñatas, sugar skulls).

The next four event partnerships are with Crossroads Carnegie, Art Center East, Four Rivers Cultural Center, and Andisheh and take place June-August, 2019.

Crossroads Carnegie (Baker City) presents

  • June 22, 2019: “Barrel and Vessel: The Art of Aging Wine,” with traditional cooper (barrel maker) Rick DeFerrari.

Art Center East (La Grande) presents

  • June 26, 2019, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: La Grande Farmers Market morning story time and demonstration of wool spinning, and lunch-time talk with sheep rancher Carol Etchemendy.
  • July 12, 2019, 7:30-8:30 pm: a Master Class with Guinean master drummer Alseny Yansane.
  • July 13, 2019, 10:30-11:45 am: La Grande Farmers Market a public performance and workshop with Guinean master drummer Alseny Yansane.

Four Rivers Cultural Center (Ontario) presents

  • June 29, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., 2nd annual Tradition Keepers Folklife Festival, a day-long folklife festival celebrating the diverse range of traditional arts and culture in the Four Rivers area. Come experience a variety of traditional artists demonstrating or performing cowboy poetry, silversmithing, rawhide braiding, Paiute basketry, Paiute Pow Wow dancing, Japanese Taiko drumming, traditional Japanese Mochi making, and much, much more, including a visit from National Heritage Fellow Eva Castellanoz.

Andisheh Center for Iranian Cultural Heritage (Portland), presents

  • August 3, 2019, 1:00 – 6:00 pm, Portland State University, an afternoon of traditional visual art, music, and dance workshops with Iranian local artists. Leading these free workshops will be santoor player Hossein Salehi, tazhib (illumination and calligraphy) artist Marjan Anvari, and Oak Leaf with Hamid Habibi (tombak/hand drum) and Yasi Mehdian (daf/lute); there will also be a session on traditional Kurdish dance. The intention of this event is to foster community connection and pride, and to drive awareness and education about the diverse cultures and traditions in our neighborhood.

Funding for Culture Fest comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, Oregon Cultural Trust, Oregon Arts Commission and the Oregon Historical Society. Their support helps OFN partner with local organizations to support folk and traditional artists to share their artistry and knowledge with others.

Culture Fest partnerships support performances, demonstrations and presentations about Oregon’s living cultural heritage and feature traditional artists who are part of the Oregon Culture Keepers Roster, which provides a curated listing of over 200 folk artists for presenting organizations to work with in planning their programs.

OFN Welcomes New Staff

Prince F.M. Lamba is a Folklore and Public Culture graduate student at the University of Oregon. He is an ethnomusicologist with scholarly interests in urban ethnography, African musical arts, creative industries, arts and culture management and issues related to arts and culture in development. He holds a master’s degree in arts and culture management from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. Prince has worked for both public and private institutions including the Zambian Department of Arts and Culture, American Embassy in Zambia, University of Zambia and the Zambian Open University. He is also the founder and artistic director of the Pamodzi Dance Troupe in Zambia.

Benton- Linn Co. Fieldwork Essay

Thomas Grant Richardson

In the Spring of 2018 I conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Benton and Linn Counties in the Willamette Valley. Folklorists focus on the everyday traditions of people in communities and at how people define creativity, tradition, and community in their own lives. It is therefore a great joy to work as a folklorist, to be invited into the creative spaces of people often quite different from myself, and to have conversations that usually include phrases like “this is the most important thing in the world to me.”

While in Benton and Linn Counties I encountered numerous wonderful and generous people connected to many vibrant traditions, including fly-fishing, boat building, instrument building, quilting, fiddle music, and various foodways. I was particularly struck by the area’s social dance traditions. During the three weeks I spent traversing the two counties, I attended three different social dances, although I could have attended one nearly every single night.

The Jefferson Jammers is mostly two-step, waltz, and line dancing, and happens every single Wednesday

The Jefferson Jammers perform on Wednesday nights at the Morning Star Grange Hall in Millersburg. This dance started as a country music jam among retired musicians who still wanted to play. Bruce and Joann Hamilton held the first few jams in their home, but it quickly outgrew their capacity, and they moved to the Grange Hall. Today it serves as a place for musicians to gather to play country music together; anyone interested can also sing along in a kind of live-backed karaoke. The audience is busy dancing with the floor usually occupied by at least 30-40 dancers. Mostly attended by local residents above the age of 50, the dance also brings in younger participants. Most attendees told me it’s the highlight of their week.

The Albany Timber Twirlers Modern Western Square Dance club’s membership is diminishing in number but not in dedication.

In nearby Albany, the Albany Timber Twirlers are a Modern Western Swing Dance Club (one of four clubs in the area) that focus on the highly precise and intricate moves of choreographed square dances. These patterns are so complicated that dancers need to take four months of lessons before they’re up to speed to participate. Club President, Bev Swearengen, told me they’re more about fun than formality.

The Corvallis Contradance was by far the biggest dance I attended, with a regular attendance of around 100 people, twice a month.

In Corvallis, a twice-monthly Contra dance has a regular attendance of over 100 people. Contra dance is somewhere in between the loose nature of traditional square dancing and the highly stylized patterns of Modern Western Square Dancing; like traditional square dancing, it’s led by a caller who gives instructions in a rhythmic and stylized fashion. But contra dancers form lines with each member of a couple opposite each other instead of side by side like square dancers. The Corvallis Contra dance also includes a live band and brings in a huge number of dancers under 40. Dance Chair, Jennifer Carlin, notes that it’s the music that makes this dance so special.

The Corvallis Contradance goes out of its way to make sure the dance is inclusive for all.

But greater numbers do not always equal a more successful event or a more important folk tradition. Social dance is alive and well in this area. And next time someone in the central Willamette Valley suggests the Internet, television, or whatever latest scapegoat is killing social life, drive them to Benton and Linn County and find a dance!

Folk Artists in Marion, Polk, and Lane Counties and the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde

Amy Howard

During  the spring and summer of 2018, OFN hired me to conduct folklife fieldwork in Marion and Polk counties and at the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. The geographical area I covered was large and diverse. The sheer length of each county encompasses a landscape in transition—mountain to valley to coast. Each day brought new surprises: green fields and grasses in wine and sheep country; bustling city streets; pine-encompassed mountain lakes, and winding, sparkling rivers. The landscape reflects the local agricultural and industrial economies.

The people are equally diverse, each a wonder in their own way. Their identities and folk arts and practices also reflect the topography and economy. Whether loggers creating art from the medium they know inside and out (wood), transplants from foreign countries carrying on traditional skills, Native artists connecting to roots that were once taken away, or farmers keeping their multi-generational farms relevant and operational, the people of the Willamette Valley adapt to their surroundings. They preserve the identity that is most important to them while being rooted in traditions they cherish. I felt honored to document a snapshot of Oregon’s ever-changing, rich cultural landscape.

Chainsaw carver James Lukinich (Willamina) lived in Oregon until age 14, when he traveled to Alaska to join his brother and learn the logging business. For James, wood carving was a natural art form to pursue during long stretches of isolation in the Alaskan wilderness. While he worked as an arborist in San Diego, chainsaw carving went from hobby to career as he completed an increasing amount of custom jobs to repurpose tree stumps. He began participating in chainsaw carving competitions in 2009 and finished in the top 10 at the national competition in Reedsport last year. He and his wife, Marilyn, returned to his Oregon home, where he has continued to practice his craft professionally.

Jeremy Mitchell (Salem) is an advocate for bees. As one of the few young beekeepers with a mid-sized operation in the area, he and his bees fill an important role in the Willamette Valley, pollinating berries and other produce at small farms. Schooled in beekeeping by his great-uncle, Wayne Porter, and through the OSU Extension Master Beekeeper course, Jeremy took over Flying Bee Ranch from his relatives in 2017 after Wayne’s passing. At that time, Jeremy transformed from hobbyist to full-time, professional beekeeper, helping his great-aunt, Kathy Porter, keep the business a family operation. They are known for their mono-source honeys, captured after the bees pollinate specific crops. Jeremy also works to educate the public about bees’ role in agriculture and strategies for keeping them safe.

Connie Graves (Sheridan) is a traditional basket weaver of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. She’s been instrumental in revitalizing and teaching the art of basket weaving for her Tribe. Born in McMinnville, she has lived her entire life in the Grand Ronde area. Connie has always possessed a love of craft and creativity and an ability to create by simply looking at an example. With her masterful basketry skills, she makes hats, baskets of all dimensions, doll clothes, baby rattles, or whatever she is inspired to do. She collects and works with many varieties of reeds, grasses, barks, and roots. Connie is currently battling cancer but still exudes positive energy and strength in all she does. Her help in the project was enormous.

As an addendum to my fieldwork in Polk and Marion Counties and with the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, I was privileged to conduct some further documentation in Lane County. Juana Cortez (Eugene) owns and operates Juanita’s Pupusería, a food truck specializing in food from El Salvador. A pupusa, the national dish of El Salvador, is a thick flatbread made of masa—corn flour and water—stuffed with one or more ingredients such as cheese, squash, refried beans, or meat, then cooked on a griddle. The versatile flatbread comes from the Maya/Pipil culture of El Salvador. Cortez, a restauranteur in her native country, came to the US in 1987 as a refugee of war and natural disaster. A single mother, she worked and saved for years before returning to her dream of owning and running a restaurant. What began as a pupusería has expanded into a celebration of Salvadoran and Mexican foods.   If someone asks for it, she can make it, she says. Cortez’s food traditions connect her to homeland and, more importantly, allow her to enjoy peace and stability after a life of hardship and perseverance.

These individuals represent a few of the many hard-working, diligent bearers of folk traditions I documented for this project. Like Oregon’s beautiful landscapes, these people deserve to be celebrated and supported as part of the cultural landscape.