CCHM November First Thursday: Southwest Washington Native American Music

Music continues to play a central role in the lives and spiritual expression of the Southwest Washington Native American Nations.

According to Cowlitz Tribe Spiritual Leader Tanna Engdahl, “Our drummers and singers are not just musical performers to be called forward to events. The music that they play is spiritual, no different than when people sing praise songs in the house of the Lord.” Music also remains at the center of Cowlitz art and culture. This is prominently displayed during the annual Cowlitz Tribe pow wow, a celebration that includes drumming and intertribal dances.

An important piece today of the Chinook Indian Nation’s musical tradition exists with the Cathlapotle Plankhouse. Sam Robinson, Chinook Indian Nation Vice Chairman, notes, “The songs that we share are always, always greatly important.” Within the walls of the Plankhouse, people are brought together to drum, share songs, dance, and provide blessings, passing forward the musical legacy of the Chinook Indian Nation.

We are incredibly honored to have members of Southwest Washington Native American Nations present this special event and share this unique window into Southwest Washington’s past with our community.

For more information, please contact the museum at 360-993-5679 or by email at

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