Cultural Resources Department
Cowlitz Indian Tribe Cultural Resources Department
Phone (360) 353-9997 | 4217 NW 319th St, Ridgefield WA 98642 | Contact Us : Cultural Resources Department
Office Hours: M-F 8am-5pm
The role of the Cultural Resources Department is to strategically support the Vision and Mission statements of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe:
Vision: We the Cowlitz are the forever people; who strive to stay connected to our land, water and Tamaniwas to achieve a healthy, prosperous community for all generations.
Mission: The Mission of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe is to preserve and honor the legacy of our elders and ancestors by empowering a Tribal community that promotes our social justice and economic well-being, secures our aboriginal lands, respects our culture and sovereignty and fosters justice, freedom and our mutual welfare.
…most formally outlined in Goal 7 of the Tribe’s Comprehensive Plan (2019-2023):
Preserve, Protect, Recover and Grow Tradition, Culture and Language to Promote Cultural Identity
Innumerable aspects of traditional Cowlitz culture arise from the landscape, and the region has been home to the Cowlitz People since time immemorial. The rich resources of the landscape have been managed for thousands of years by the Cowlitz, enhancing the reciprocity between each resource and harvester, enabling the Cowlitz People to flourish as they continue to steward the landscape with their complex traditional culture. The seasonal round of resource acquisition establishes the annual cycle of where the people travel, in what sequence, and at what time of year. Woven throughout traditions of resource gathering is the heritage of how and when families come together, ceremonies are held, and memories are recounted. The stories, a spoken history thousands of years deep, are powerful lessons in the telling – rooted in the past, but offering guides for how the people should come together and live in the future, and modeling important values of ethics, integrity and reciprocity.
The Department’s core undertaking is to support all cultural functions of the Tribe. The Department serves as a cultural liaison between regional agencies, organizing interviews with Tribal members, while also providing feedback on functions and displays. The Department responds to the constant call of community outreach and awareness about the landscape. We are currently partnering with Washington State University Vancouver to develop a curriculum for 23 surrounding school districts in need of Indigenous curriculum. Culture Dept. staff review development permits, ensuring that any sensitive heritage and archaeological sites are not disturbed by proposed projects. The Department constantly works to acquire and archive all historic Tribal governance documents. Overall, the Culture Department serves both the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and the surrounding community to ensure that the Cowlitz culture is honored, shared and properly portrayed throughout the region.