Launch of New Book on Coast Salish Artist

Published: November 21, 2013

Coast Salish carver Joe Hillaire works on a totem pole. Hillaire’s daughter Mary Ellen founded Evergreen’s Native American studies program in 1972.

(Olympia, Wash.)  One of the Pacific Northwest’s leading Native artists, from a family long associated with Evergreen, is the subject of a richly illustrated new book, A Totem Pole History:  the Work of Lummi Carver Joe Hillaire.  The inaugural release of the book will be hosted by members of “Creativity and Diversity in American Culture: Art and Narrative in Response to Place,” December 3 at the College.

Lummi elder Pauline Hillaire writes about her father’s legacy as one of the most influential Coast Salish artists of the twentieth century.  The book includes photographs of Joe Hillaire’s most significant totem poles, along with essays from contributors on Coast Salish art history, pigment technology, oral history, intercultural relations and the central role of art in Coast Salish life.

Joe Hillaire’s daughter, Mary Ellen Hillaire, was a founding faculty member of Evergreen who spearheaded the development of the College’s Native American studies programs in 1972.  She also inspired the creation of Evergreen’s “House of Welcome” Longhouse Education and Cultural Center, the first building of its kind on any college campus in the U.S.

“The Hillaire family has played a special role in the development of Native arts, culture, and education on our campus,” said Evergreen faculty member Rebecca Chamberlain.  “This is a wonderful occasion to let people know about this history.”

Lummi/Haida carver Felix Solomon, editor Gregory Fields, and others associated with the publication will present images and readings from the book and its accompanying video and audio CDs at the December 3 event, which will take place at 3 p.m. in Seminar Building Two, Room C1105 at The Evergreen State College, 2700 Evergreen Parkway NW in Olympia. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.  Additional background on author Pauline Hillaire can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXwdDpwP5Oo.

Supported by: “Creativity and Diversity in American Culture: Art and Narrative in Response To Place;” “Bella Bella or Bust;” the Longhouse; the Evergreen Library; and the Deans.