Jamie Valadez

On June 1, 2010

Educator and Lower Elwha Klallam cultural activist in Port Angeles, Washington

Interviewed: June 2010

In 2011, a removal of two dams on the Elwha River in Olympic National Park will begin. The largest dam removal in US history will not only free the river but also renew the culture of the Lower Elwha Klallam nation. They will gain access to their sacred sites and to the salmon, which help the nation practice their way of life and maintain cultural traditions.

Jamie Valadez has been a cultural activist in the Lower Elwha Klallam community, revitalizing the culture through teaching Klallam language for all people. “Education is important. Educating all youth about our history and language is a key to revitalize our culture,” said Jamie. With Olympic Park Institute, a campus of NatureBridge, Jamie has co-led the Elwha Science Education Project in Olympic National Park. She has been inspiring Lower Elwha Klallam youth to connect with the river and the land in the park through the Klallam language, stories, basket weaving, and other traditions. In the summer of 2011, I plan to go back to Olympic National Park to finish documenting the dam removal process and Jamie’s work.

Read my blog of Jamie’s interview summary

See the photos

Coming soon! – Jamie’s interview, as well as other Lower Elwha Klallam tribe women who are following Jamie’s steps, will be summarized in a short video. Please check back for updates!

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