Culture Bearers of the Yakima Valley

In 2018, as part of the Yakima Valley Cultural Traditions Survey (and the Center’s ongoing CTS program) we reached out to and learned from many diverse residents of the Yakima Valley. Center staff and researchers were fortunate to interview and get to know 17 individuals representing no fewer than 10 different cultural traditions or communities–from Yakama citizens indigenous to the valley, to some of its most recent immigrants. We learned a lot that we will share over the next months and years through events, exhibits, and online media.

Below are some of these individuals and communities we came to know through research in 2018. Click on the links to learn more and, in some cases, hear or watch interviews with theses local culture bearers.

Check back soon for more – including podcasts, videos, and photos in the links.

Meet Culture Bearers of the Yakima Valley



Edward Armstrong – Hand cut glass tile mosaics (Tieton)

Guadalupe Barragan – Hop harvesting

Denny Evans – Fly fishing (Toppenish)

Felipe Hernandez – Tamales (Union Gap)

Gone Fiddling Again (Cheryl Hall & Chuck Adams) – Old time music (Yakima)

Iksiks Washanahl’a, or “Little Swans,” of the Yakama Nation – Indigenous dance, song, culture/language (White Swan, Toppenish)

Steve Morgan – Hand cut glass tile mosaics, letter pressing, hand-painted signs (Naches)

Rachel Ruelas – Quince celebrations (Toppenish)

Maria Solario and Teresa Martinez – Book binding (Tieton)

Christie Tirado – Mexican art and craft traditions (Union Gap)

Levina Wilkins – Yakama culture, Ichishkíin (White Swan)

The Yakima Valley Cultural Traditions Survey was supported in part by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts: Art Works (2018) and the Yakima Valley Community Foundation (2018, 2019). 


Featured image of tamales at Los Hernandez Tamales in Union Gap, photo by Kristin Sullivan, 2018.

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