Lillian Pitt helps Celilo Village children create "Stick Indian"
Native American artist Lillian
Pitt feels a deep commitment to passing on the legends of her
people to the younger generations.
who is a descendent of Wasco, Yakama and Warm Springs people, has
created many works of art drawing on the tradition of the Columbia
River region, including sculpture, mixed media, clay, bronze, wearable
art, prints and glass and of course masks.
"Giving reference to the elders by duplicating
the petroglyphs and using the basket designs in my masks has always
been the basis for my work. And I always hope I'm doing it with
honor and reverence," says Pitt.
All spring, this busy Portland-based artist made
the 90-minute drive to Celilo Village east of The Dalles many times
to teach the village children ceramics and the cautionary tale of
the "Stick Indians." The Stick Indians are shadowy spirits whose
whistling guides good humans back to the safety of the village and
bad humans deeper into the forest where they are lost forever.
After weeks of sculpting, glazing and firing,
the children put the finishing touches on their own ceramic Stick
"I have been so thrilled with their abilities,
to pick up so quickly with just a couple of lessons to make the
masks," says Pitt. "There are a few of them who are really, really
An exhibit featuring the masks opens July 16
with Lillian Pitt giving a slideshow at 3pm and then at 4pm, the
Celilo children presenting their work and sharing the legend with
museum visitors. The exhibit at the EyeSEE children's gallery at
the Maryhill Museum of Art
will be up throughout the summer.
Lillian Pitt is a Pacific Northwest Native American artist whose
ancestors lived in and near the Columbia River Gorge for over 10,000
years. Called simply the Big River or the Nch'i-Wana by her ancestors,
the Columbia River was the backbone of one of the largest trade
networks in all of Native America.
Museum of Art
From the unique Columbia River Gorge, Maryhill Museum of Art collects,
presents and preserves art and historical and natural resources,
to enrich and educate residents and visitors of the Pacific Northwest.