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Vi Hilbert Archive

Vi Hilbert
Vi Hilbert

Voices of the First Peo­ple is a project cre­ated to honor the life and work of Vi Hilbert by mak­ing acces­si­ble audio and video record­ings that are part of the Vi Hilbert Col­lec­tion in the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton Eth­no­mu­si­col­ogy Archives. It is a project of North­west Her­itage Resources in part­ner­ship with the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton Eth­no­mu­si­col­ogy Archives and Lushoot­seed Research. Jill La Pointe, grand­daugh­ter of Vi Hilbert and pres­i­dent of Lushoot­seed Research, has acted as project advi­sor.

Visit the Voices of the First Peo­ple

Voices of the First Peo­ple includes a selec­tion of record­ings made between 1968 and 2008.  We’ve orga­nized them into 6 cat­e­gories that high­light aspects of Vi Hilbert’s life and work, focus­ing on her com­mit­ment to the preser­va­tion, doc­u­men­ta­tion, and revi­tal­iza­tion of Lushoot­seed lan­guage and lifeways:

  • Sto­ries
  • Talk­ing about sto­ries and tra­di­tional knowledge
  • Lan­guage work
  • Per­sonal history
  • Talk­ing about Lushoot­seed culture
  • Talk­ing about The Heal­ing Heart Symphony

Vi Hilbert (1918–2008) was a mem­ber and noted elder of the Upper Skagit tribe.  Her first lan­guage was Lushoot­seed, a Coast Sal­ish lan­guage found in the Puget Sound region of west­ern Wash­ing­ton state.  Dur­ing her long and pro­duc­tive life, Vi Hilbert played a major role in the revi­tal­iza­tion of the lan­guage and cul­ture of the First Peo­ple of the Pacific North­west.  She became known as a teacher, sto­ry­teller, pub­lisher, and pub­lic speaker.  For over 40 years she built and main­tained a research archive of cul­tural mate­ri­als.  Work­ing with other schol­ars, she devel­oped and pub­lished teach­ing mate­ri­als and vol­umes of sto­ries through Lushoot­seed Research, an orga­ni­za­tion which she founded.  Her com­mit­ment to pre­serv­ing Lushoot­seed lan­guage and lit­er­a­ture is largely respon­si­ble for the renais­sance of inter­est in Lushoot­seed cul­ture and the growth of tribal lan­guage pro­grams all over west­ern Washington.

Visit the Voices of the First Peo­ple website.