PORT ANGELES — The North Olympic Library System will host “Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness,” a traveling exhibition to U.S. libraries, through July 31 at the Port Angeles Main Library.
This library exhibit at 2210 S. Peabody St. opened Thursday and explores the interconnectedness of wellness, illness and cultural life for Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians.
In celebration of the exhibit, the Port Angeles Main Library also will host a three-part program series.
The first event, “Medicinal Plants,” will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Elder Lana Kerr will give an interactive presentation on common medicinal plants that grow locally.
Kerr will discuss the when, where, and what of Native plants and how to turn them into medicine and nutrition.
“Hishuk’ish Tsawalk – Everything Is One: Revitalizing Northwest Coast Indigenous Food Systems,” will be held at 6:30 p.m. July 12.
Charlotte Coté will discuss how Northwest Coast indigenous people are actively engaging in decolonization and self-determination through the enactment of food sovereignty.
The final program in the series, “Discovering the Stories Within Us,” will be at 6:30 p.m. July 18.
Monique Gray Smith will share her personal story of recovery, including her journey to sobriety and how it led her to become a writer and storyteller.
Smith will explain how she captures ideas, moments, and feelings and turns them into stories for both young and not-so-young readers. She also will read from her books and share how the stories were discovered and unfolded over time.
“Through food sovereignty strategies, indigenous people are restoring and reaffirming healthy and sustainable relationships with their homelands and placing ancestral ecological knowledge at the center of these decolonization efforts,” organizers said.
Stories drawn from both the past and present examine how health for Native people is tied to community, the land and spirit.
Through interviews, Native people describe the impact of epidemics, federal legislation, the loss of land and the inhibition of culture on the health of individuals and communities today.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine developed and produced “Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness.”
The American Library Association Public Programs Office, in partnership with NLM, tours the exhibition to America’s libraries.
As part of the exhibition award, NOLS received a $250 programming grant, virtual training and publicity materials.
Support for the application of this exhibit came from the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, and Peninsula College House of Learning [Longhouse].