Peninsula College’s annual Native American Culture Fair set for April 29

The Peninsula College seventh annual Native American Culture Fair will be offered virtually this year, starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 29. All are invited to this free cultural event spotlighting youth voices and Native American history, languages and traditions.

Youth will lead the program, a collaborative effort of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Port Angeles High School’s Native American programs, Peninsula College’s First Nations Club, TESC Native Pathways Program, the PC STEM Club, and ʔaʔkʷustəŋáw̕txʷ House of Learning-Longhouse.

The Culture Fair began in 2015 in an effort to spotlight the voices of youth and provide the opportunity for students to educate the college campus and community about tribal history and language. Students worked for five weeks before the Fair on the creation of a Coast Salish button blanket, which was gifted to the College and is permanently displayed in the Longhouse.

Past workshops have included experiential activities where students toured specialized areas of the Peninsula College campus and learned about academic and professional programs.

This year’s fair theme is: “We rise. We carry on. We heal.”

“Without certainty of our future, we created this theme to ‘Rise, Heal and Carry On’,” Jonathan Arakawa of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe said in a college press release. “Indian Country continues to ‘Rise, Heal, and Carry On’ as we, once again, face another time of pandemic. We bare the physical, intellectual, and spiritual strength of our ancestors. Indian Country will, as always, overcome the struggles in our path and presented in this pandemic.”

Guest speakers include:

• 10 a.m. — Valerie Segrest, an enrolled member of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe serves as the Native American Agriculture Fund’s Director of Native Food and Knowledge Systems, aims to inspire and enlighten others about the importance of a nutrient-dense diet through a culturally appropriate, common-sense approach to eating.

Segrest has dedicated her work in the field of Native American Nutrition towards the efforts of the food sovereignty movement rooted in education, awareness, and overcoming barriers to accessing traditional foods for tribal communities throughout North America.

She has co-authored several publications including the recipe books “Feeding Seven Generations: A Salish Cookbook” and “Indigenous Home Cooking: Menus Inspired by the Ancestors.”

Segrest has a bachelor of science degree in human nutrition and health sciences from Bastyr University and a master of arts degree in environment and community.

Zoom link: (meeting ID: 845 0647 0031)

• 11 a.m. — Reuben Martinez, a recent graduate of Western Washington University, is currently employed by Renewable Northwest. An alumnus of Peninsula College, he spent his final year at WWU focusing primarily on renewable energy because he had worked with a mentor in a summer program partnered with Northwest Indian College. This mentor wanted to start a microgrid with the Lummi and Nooksack Tribes, and Martinez was committed to helping her out with this project.

“Unfortunately, due to COVID, the amount of participation I could contribute ground to a halt,” Martinez said. “But that wasn’t the end of this renewable energy idea for me.”

He is a member of the Makah Tribe, and was recently featured on the Peninsula College website in a blog that celebrated the important work of alumni.

Martinez stated: “As Indigenous peoples and communities, we are sovereign nations, and we need to dream big. If our ideas can come true in our lifetime, we aren’t dreaming big enough. We have a lot to overcome, but dreaming is our biggest asset, and I think we can make them happen.

For me, and my contribution, I want tribes all throughout the Pacific Northwest to have the chance of figuring out what renewables can do for them, and I aim to help. I am only just beginning my journey on this road, but I think I am on the right path. I hope if there are any tribal members who are interested in any of the work I am doing to please reach out.”

Zoom link: (meeting ID: 845 0647 0031)

• 12:30 p.m. — Dr. Fred Campbell, a data scientist, mountain and ice climber, will present a brief lecture focused on his work as a statistician and a mentor to students who have previously been under-served in colleges and other institutions.

Campbell works for Microsoft and uses existing machine learning methods to explore important problems and solutions. His work is centered on ensuring that the methods are ethical.

He explains that “it is not enough to produce accurate models,” emphasizing that “they must also be private, fair, reproducible and transparent so that they do not inadvertently harm people and everyone enjoys the benefits of these models.”

“Previously, I developed new structured variable selection methods and applied them to problems in genomics, proteomics and neuroimaging,” Campbell said.

He holds a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and computational science from Stanford University, a master of science degree in statistics from Stanford University, a master of science degree in statistics from Rice University, and a PhD in statistics from Rice University.

Zoom link: (meeting ID: 896 1607 5652).