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November 04, 2003

Journeys of the Soul in Northwest Coast Native Cultures

Slide Presentation at the Burke Museum
Thurs., Nov. 6, 2003 at 6:30 pm

Seattle -- How do we ensure that there will be enough souls to go around generation after generation?

Northwest Coast Natives for centuries have had their own unique answer to this question: Salmon shared souls with Native Americans and ensuring their well-being was key to the supply of human souls. Learn more about how people shared the same soul pool with the "salmon people" on Thurs. Nov. 6 in a slide presentation by Burke Museum Director, Dr. George MacDonald. The lecture entitled, "Pathways to Heaven: Journeys of the Soul in Northwest Coast Native Culture," is free to the public.

Held in conjunction with the Burke's current exhibit: Reverent Remembrance: Honoring the Dead, this lecture touches on how native cultures along the Northwest Coast honored their deceased elders and ancestors. MacDonald will illustrate these historical beliefs through numerous examples of artwork created by 19th and early 20th century Native Americans. The idea of shared souls is a common concept among Native American cultures. However, the idea that salmon are a "people" and that they specifically share souls from the same pool as do people, is unique to this region. Their annual arrival to the rivers and streams of the Northwest was celebrated and honored each year; guaranteeing a supply of food, and if properly honored, of souls for future generations.

Dr. MacDonald is the director of the Burke Museum, with over 35 years experience studying the art and culture of native groups of the Pacific Northwest. Prior to coming to the Burke, he was director of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and more recently of the Museums of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. He has a Ph.D in Anthropology from Yale University.

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The Burke is located at the corner of NE 45th St and 17th Ave NE on the UW campus. Hours are 10 am - 5 pm daily, and until 8 pm Thursday. The Museum Store and Museum Caf?are also open during these hours. Admission to the permanent exhibits is $6.50 general, $5 senior, $3 student/youth, FREE to Burke members, children 5 and under, UW faculty, students, and staff. Admission to the special exhibition Out of the Silence is $8 general, $6.50 senior, $5 student/youth.. Out of the Silence is FREE to Burke members, children 5 and under, UW faculty, students, and staff. For 24-hour information, please call 206-543-5590, or visit www.burkemuseum.org

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