Friends of Fort Vancouver News

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Contemporary Masks Inspired by Chinookan Stories

Visit the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center to see an exhibit of nine contemporary masks inspired by beings from traditional stories of Chinookan peoples. The masks represent She Who Watches, Raven, Yuhlma, The Darkness One, Coyote, Salmon, Swallowing Monster, Wind, and Atathlia. They were created by Artist Bill Rutherford.

For Chinookan peoples along the Columbia River, traditional myths and stories serve an important cultural role. These stories transfer knowledge about how to live and thrive along the river….The stories encompass social rules, cultural taboos, and interpersonal interactions. For many Chinookan people, these stories are a record of the past and how things have come to be, and a reminder of what could happen if rules are not honored. We invite you to view these masks with each story in mind.


Tony Johnson, Chairman of the Chinook Nation 

Bill Rutherford is an artist currently based in Eugene, Oregon.

"My work is my contact with the world outside of the context of my insular life. I have sculpted and drawn as long as I can remember, but I had no role models, no mentors for fine art. I am African, Anglo, Native, American, raised by political activists, who fought the freedom wars all of their lives. Expressive fine art was and is always living in my mind and at times, in surges of effort, I produced quantities of work and just as suddenly, I would deny my creative self and with admitted anger, stop.

"My early work was often angry, resentful and filled with darkness. I am currently producing work that offers expressions of my multi-cultural heritage without the anger getting in the way of the work.

"Working in wood affords peace and spiritual depth. My work in wire, plaster and found objects allows expansion of expression with materials and styles. Drawing and painting affords me the opportunity to document my worlds.

"I am still an emerging artist by all definitions of the words."



Gummi bears caramels donut carrot cake carrot cake chupa chups bonbon tootsie roll.

Gummi bears caramels donut carrot cake carrot cake chupa chups bonbon tootsie roll.

Gummi bears caramels donut carrot cake carrot cake chupa chups bonbon tootsie roll.

April Felting with Juneko Martinson
Nanny Wood