Bigger and better: Local indigenous culture shines at ‘In The Spirit: Northwest Native Festival’


In the Spirit

For the first time, the Washington State History Museum and Tacoma Art Museum have merged their two Native arts festivals into a single, grand festival bursting with activities, artists, and performances. You’re invited to attend In The Spirit: Northwest Native Festival, a free indoor-outdoor community event to be held Saturday, Aug. 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The festival will take place inside both museums and on their outdoor plazas. The two museums are a short distance apart, on either side of the Union Station federal courthouse on Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma. Admission to both museums will be free for the day, along with the festival.

This year’s combined festival is an exhilarating opportunity for festival-goers to celebrate Native art and culture. Enjoy performances with Native dancing, singing, drumming, flute, and carving demonstrations throughout the day. Meet and get inspired by contemporary Native artists; both museums are hosting a variety of Native vendors selling art and hand-crafted products. Don’t miss the runway fashion show featuring three Native designers at TAM. And if you get hungry, nosh on fry bread tacos. Take advantage of free museum admission, too, and see the Native art exhibitions at both. TAM’s exhibition “Cultural imPRINT: Northwest Coast Prints” highlights 60 years of innovative printmaking from the Northwest Coast. At WSHM, see “In The Spirit,” a juried exhibition of 22 Native works in a wide range of media from button blankets to sculptures and more. This is the 12th annual “In The Spirit” juried art exhibition at Washington State History Museum. The exhibition has traditionally culminated with the In the Spirit festival. TAM has held their annual Northwest Native Celebration for seven years. Community feedback suggested more collaboration among the museums would enhance the experience for visitors and participants alike. The combined festival on Aug. 19 will offer the community a free day, rich in fun and learning.

Further details are available at

All day, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) and Washington State History Museum (WSHM) offering free admission with Native art exhibitions on view
  • Art Market: Vendors at both TAM and WSHM selling Native artwork across all media and price ranges
  • Indigenous Eats: Fry bread tacos at WSHM
  • Potlatch Fund Booth at TAM
  • Drum-making Demonstration with Tachini Pete (Salish/Diné) at TAM
  • Carving Demonstrations with Earl Davis and Kenny Waltman (Shoalwater Bay) at WSHM
  • Printmaking with Fox Anthony Spears (Karuk Tribe of California) at TAM


10 a.m. – Blessing and Welcome at TAM
10:30 a.m. – Blessing and Welcome at WSHM
11 a.m. – Rona Yellow Robe playing Cree flute at WSHM
12 p.m. – Alaskan Kuteeyya Dancers, Haida and Tlingit dance at WSHM
1 p.m. – Vince Redhouse playing Navajo flute at TAM
2 p.m. – Contemporary Native Fashion Show at TAM
3 p.m. – Children’s Book Story Time with Melissa Renault of the Makah Tribe at TAM
3:30 p.m. – “In The Spirit” People’s Choice Awards Ceremony at WSHM

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