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The American Folklife Center
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 home >> about the center >> folklife in your state >> washington
Phoebe Mason with her salmon catch, 1949.
Phoebe Mason with her salmon catch, 1949. Photo from the Carver Collection, Whatcom Museum of History and Art. Part of the cultural documentation found in Washington's Local Legacies projects.


The collections of the American Folklife Center include material documenting the Native American traditions of Washington. Represented in its recordings are the Chehallis, Clayoquot, Klallam, Lummi, Makah, Nooksack, Nisqualli, Puyallup, Quileute, Samish, Skagit, Snohomish, Skokomish, Squamish, and Yakima tribal groups. Many of these are cylinder recordings collected by employees of the Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of American Ethnology in the early years of the twentieth century. Their preservation ensures their future availability to researchers and Native Americans.

In 1982, the Center's Ethnic Heritage and Language Schools Project documented an Islamic school in Seattle. In 1989-90, the Center conducted a field research project documenting the culture and traditions of Italian-Americans in the West, which culminated in a traveling exhibition and companion book of essays. The documentary material from this project includes hundreds of hours of interviews, thousands of photographs, and fieldnotes, which were made in Walla Walla and nearby communities.


Finding Aid: View a complete list of our Washington collections.

Local Legacies: This project provides a "snapshot" of local culture as it was expressed in the year 2000. View Washington's Local Legacies projects.

Veterans History Project: Browse state collections from the Veterans History Project.

Songs of America: Browse an interactive state map for selected songs from the American Folklife Center’s collections, as well as songs from the Library’s Music Division and Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.

Ethnic Heritage and Language Schools Collection: Includes documentation of an Islamic School in Seattle, Washington. [catalog record] [finding aid]

Italian-American Folklife in the West Collection: Includes documentation from Walla Walla, Washington. [catalog record] [finding aid]

Additional Resources:

Educational Resources: View a list of educational materials related to Washington from A Teacher's Guide to Folklife Resources.

Folklife Resources: Find state folklife-related agencies, societies, archives, higher education programs, and more, in Folklife Sourcebook: A Directory of Folklife Resources in the United States.

Conference: "Ethnic Heritage Workshop in Seattle," Seattle Center, 1979.

Publications: "The Islamic School of Seattle," Ethnic Heritage and Languages Schools in America. [catalog record]

Federal Cylinder Project: Guide to Field Cylinder Recording in Federal Agencies, Volume 3 (Great Basin/Plateau, Northwest Coast/Arctic Indian Catalog). [catalog record]

"Walla Walla Sweets: Onions and Ethnic Identity in an Italian Community in the Northwest," in Old Ties New Attachments: Italian- American Folklife in the West. [catalog record]


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   May 15, 2015
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