ILWACO - Teachers from 10 schools along the Columbia River from Clarkston to Ilwaco participated in a four-day Confluence Project in the Schools Teacher Field Institute last week that culminated in a salmon dinner at the Ilwaco Heritage Museum.

The Confluence Project involves a series of sculptures by artist Maya Lin to be installed within the next three years at sites along the Columbia River that will tell the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The sculptures also will be designed to inspire people to look at the land from a Native American perspective and explore the impact of the Lewis and Clark legacy.

The trip, the first of a proposed three-year initiative, was designed to provide an overview of the Confluence Project sites, comprehensive briefings on Native American and Lewis and Clark histories, perspectives on cultural and environmental preservation. Guest lecturers on the trip were Dr. Stephen Dow Beckham, professor of history at Lewis and Clark College; Chief Cliff Snider, Chinook Indian Tribe; David Nicandri, director of the Washington State Historical Society; and subject matter specialists from each community.

Hilltop teacher Kelly Jacobsen is the coordinator of the project on the Peninsula.

Students will begin their projects this fall, with completion scheduled for June 2005. Throughout the year, the schools will discuss their projects in a series of video conferences. A final symposium will provide a forum for schools to document and present their projects and outcomes. The Confluence Project will disseminate this information and expand its future programming on the basis of what is discovered through the project. Each of the schools will be awarded a $5,000 grant to implement their proposal.

Salmon for the dinner was provided by Sea Breeze, Coho and Pacific Salmon charters and Dockside Cannery and was prepared by the Shoalwater Restaurant. Jessie's Ilwaco Fish Co. provided shrimp and Long Beach Coffee Roasters provided coffee. Members of the board of the museum, the American Association of University Women and the friends group prepared and served the meal. Museum director Hobe Kytr, Pacific County Friends of Lewis and Clark Co-Chair Carolyn Glenn and local Confluence Project representative Kathleen Sayce welcomed the group to the area.

After dinner, teachers and guests went to Cape Disappointment State Park to view the site of a proposed sculpture by Lin at Waikiki Beach.

"We want to give the teachers an opportunity to view the confluence sculpture sites and the projects in the communities nearby," confluence official Janet Gallimore said. "We want them to be mindful of Native Americans, fish, dams, science, art and history so they can convey to their students their responsibility for the future to create a better future for everyone."

A public viewing of Lin's concepts for the Cape Disapointment sculpture will be Friday, July 16, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the meeting room at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. During the event, hosted by the Pacific County Friends of Lewis and Clark, a check will be presented to Hilltop School for its participation in the first Confluence Project in the Schools initiative.

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