Living Legacies in the Parks Program

As Northwest Folklife looks ahead to celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2021, it is the stories and traditions of our communities that serve as the foundation and significance behind our organization and work. In partnership with Jackstraw Cultural Center, Washington State Parks Folk and Traditional Arts Program and The Center of Washington Cultural Traditions, Living Legacies will empower communities and individuals around the Pacific Northwest to capture cultural traditions and stories by developing and sharing a Living Legacies Toolkit to preserve, document and transmit cultural knowledge. Living Legacies in Parks brings the toolkit to the people with documentation stations at community celebrations of regional heritage that engage local culture keepers and organizations. 


A Living Legacies Toolkit will be developed for communities around the Pacific Northwest to document and transmit cultural knowledge, including a how-to guide on preparing for the interview, how-to conduct an interview, examples of questions and how to use available recording devices such as phones. The toolkit will also include examples of ways to preserve and present the stories. Recording devices will be available for use and workshops will be offered in community centers and libraries.

This collaboration will bring project partners together for 5 Community ‘Fests’ throughout Washington State Parks with on-site Living Legacies documentation stations. This includes partnering on 4 existing festivals in state parks hosted by the Folk & Traditional Arts Program, including:

  • Cambodian Festival (Aug 8, 2020) in Saltwater State Park (Des Moines, WA)
    • Roughly 600 people attended in 2019, 85% people of SE Asian origins
  • Heritage Days (Sept 25-26, 2020) in Sacajawea State Park (Pasco, WA)
    • 2,000 kids from all 3 school districts cycle through the stations on the first day of the festival. Most are 3-5th graders. Homeschool groups also attend.
  • Paddle Journey fundraiser festivals (first two weekends of June, 2020)
    • Millersylvania State Park (Olympia, WA) 
      • Tribes include Skokomish, Nisqually, Chehalis, Puyallup Canoe Families
      • Roughly 300 attended in 2019, 60% people with tribal heritage
    • Deception Pass State Park (June 13, 2020) in Oak Arbor, WA
      • Tribes include Samish, Swinomish Canoe Families
      • Roughly 150 attended in 2019

In partnership with local cultural communities, Living Legacies in Parks will host a new community fest in Yakima at the Yakima Sportsman State Park will take place on July 18, 2020 and host cultural performances, community storytelling, demonstrations and workshops for capturing individual legacies. This fest will also include a Legacies Trail Map. 

Join us in preserving, supporting and celebrating our region's cultural endowment.

About Northwest Folklife

Since 1972, Northwest Folklife has been deeply committed to celebrating the diversity of our Northwest communities and demystifying our differences together, under one roof. Our work centers on preserving cultural arts, bridging connections to heritage and identity, and cultivating the ever-evolving traditions of the Pacific Northwest. From daily creativity and imagination, to family and community customs, Folklife is a part of each of our lives – past, present, and future.

About Washington State Parks Folk & Traditional Arts Program

Washington State Parks cares for Washington's most treasured lands, waters, and historic places, connects Washingtonians to their diverse natural and cultural heritage, and provides memorable recreational and educational experiences that enhance their lives. Since 2004, the Folk & Traditional Arts Program has added to those memorable experiences with events in state parks by musicians, dancers, craftspeople and storytellers who represent a wide variety of old and new Washington traditions. From tribal canoe journeys to Cinco de Mayo festivities, from fisher poetry to Cambodiandance, the program brings people together—some to celebrate a common heritage and some to learn about the traditions of others. 

Washington State Parks is excited to host the Community Fests where Living Legacies documentation stations will engage with cultural communities. The Folk & Traditional Arts Program provides event infrastructure, honorariums for artists and culture keepers, and other technical assistance.

About the Center of Washington Cultural Traditions

The Center for Washington Cultural Traditions is a new arts and heritage program set up to survey, study, and support cultural traditions, tradition bearers, and traditional communities throughout Washington State. This innovative program is a statewide, go-to source for learning about Washington’s rich, diverse cultural heritage.

About Jack Straw Cultural Center

Jack Straw Cultural Center is the Northwest's only non-profit multidisciplinary audio arts center. A community-based resource since 1962, we provide a production facility that is unlike any other in the region for local artists who work creatively with sound. Jack Straw focuses on annual artist residencies through our Artist Support Program, our Writers Program, and our Gallery Residency Program; art and technology education for all ages; arts and heritage partnerships; and radio and podcast production. Our full-service recording studio is also available for a range of arts projects.