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Lummi Tribe Member To Speak At SIUE Religious Center

Lummi Tribe Member To Speak At SIUE Religious Center

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Pauline Hillaire, of the Lummi Tribe, will give presentations on the theme "Coast Salish Spirituality and Sustainability" in sessions at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Religious Center from 3-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. each day for four days from Wednesday, June 25, through Saturday, June 28.

Events are open to the public. Hillaire will present Coast Salish teachings, songs and stories for all ages. Guests may attend any of the sessions or all of them; there is no admission charge but donations will be accepted.

Hillaire's visit is sponsored by the WoRKS Group Edwardsville (World Religions, Knowledge, and Science) which offers distinguished speakers and dialogues at the Religious Center, a geodesic dome and natural planetarium designed by R. Buckminster Fuller and Shoji Sadao. A focus of the WoRKS Group, in keeping with Fuller's philosophy, is sustainability.

As this year's Annual Celebration of World Faiths, Hillaire's presentations will offer opportunities to learn from a native grandmother and "culture-bearer" from the Lummis in Bellingham, Wash., one of many Coast Salish Tribes of the Pacific Northwest. A musician, storyteller, and cultural historian, her father, Joseph Hillaire, was recorded in the 1950s for the Smithsonian Institution and Library of Congress collection of music of Puget Sound.

Pauline Hillaire has consulted on cultural projects and grants and has taught for Northwest Indian College, Evergreen State College, Northwest Folklife, Seattle Public Schools and other institutions. Fluent in four languages, her parents taught her traditional songs in the Lummi language (Ka lemi), Halkomelem and Chinook Jargon. "I am sharing songs that my father left for the children of the Universe," Hillaire said.

"We work hard to pass on our traditions with integrity… As native people, our value system is based on our relationship to the land…We manifest our value system through music, dance, art, the legends of our elders. We demonstrate our value system through these arts."

At the three SIUE events Hillaire will be assisted by Rebecca Chamberlain, member of the faculty at Evergreen State College in Olympia. Chamberlain is a well known Northwest writer, storyteller and educator who has worked for decades with native elders for the preservation of Puget Sound Salish language and cultural traditions. Chamberlain says, "Today it is more important than ever for students to be grounded and connected imaginatively to the world that is evolving around them. Whether they become storytellers, poets, philosophers, psychologists, physicists or environmental scientists shaping policy or solving global warming, respect for Earth as our first teacher prepares them for the important work of the 21st century."

Funding for these events has been provided by a grant from the Metanexus Institute: with matching funds from SIUE's Graduate School, Office of the Provost, College of Arts and Sciences, the SIUE Department of Philosophy, the University Religious Council, and Friends of the Religious Center. The Friends organization is dedicated to the preservation of the 37 year old Center and also supporting programs for the students and the University community at the Center.

Maps and directions are available at Parking is available for $1 per hour in Visitor's Lot B, between the Religious Center and the Morris University Center; parking is free on Saturday. For more information, contact the Religious Center, (618) 650-3246 or visit

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