This August the Washington State History museum recognized Tessa Campbell and Fred Poyner IV for their work helping to create the Interwoven oral history project.
The Interwoven project helps to tell the story of those with Nordic and Native heritage that are from the Pacific Northwest.
As a result of their efforts Poyner and Campbell received the 2019 Peace and Friendship Award.
Campbell, a senior curator with Tulalip’s Hibulb Cultural Center, said that the award was a surprise to her.
“The Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle, located in Ballard, wanted it to be a surprise,” she said.
Poyner applied for the award for himself and Campbell.
“It was a joint project that we worked on together,” said Campbell.
“The Nordic Heritage Museum applied for a grant for an oral history project. It was for an oral history project about individuals in the Pacific Northwest area that have Nordic and Native American history,” she said.
The museum officials were looking for a unique project to undertake. “To their knowledge there wasn’t a project about oral Scandinavian, Nordic, Native history,” said Campbell.
In 2018 a symposium was held at the Nordic Heritage Museum and in 2019 one was held at the Hibulb Cultural Center.
“Both events were well attended and we received a lot of publicity,” said Campbell.
“It was very successful and they are going to continue the project at a national level. They’re hoping to interview people in the midwest because there are a lot of tribes and Norwegian people that live there,” she said.
The project helped to look at the intersection of two identities and tell the stories of those experiences.
“There are a lot of people who have interesting stories about growing up in both cultures,” said Campbell.
“It’s interesting to learn, for me, how identity is personal and people can take parts of their identity, their language and their food, and it comes together like putting the pieces of a puzzle together,” she said.
There were also many similarities between the two cultures that made them similar.
“The Norwegians also come from a strong fishing community and they also build their own boats and we built canoes,” said Campbell.
Both cultures also often celebrated the art that their people had made, and some of the people who were interviewed had influences of both Native and Nordic styles.
“You can just see it in his artwork,” said Campbell.
She encourages people to come down to Tulalip’s Hibulb Cultural Center and to Ballard’s Nordic Heritage Museum.
“If anybody hasn’t visited the Hibulb Cultural Center or the Nordic Heritage Museum, I think it is good to visit both of them,” she said.
More information about the local center is available at hibulbculturalcenter.org.