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College of Arts and Sciences Native American communities

Hearing the whispers

Annita LucchesiThe Indian name of Annita Lucchesi (’16 MA Amer. Studies), who is a Southern Cheyenne descendant, is Hetoevėhotohke’e—which translates to the peaceful sounding Evening Star Woman. But Lucchesi calls herself mé’êśko’áe—a hellraiser girl, one who is always stirring things up.

In November 2018, Lucchesi produced a groundbreaking report on missing women that was published by the Urban Indian Health Institute, a division of the Seattle Indian Health Board. U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray and Representative Derek Kilmer, » More …

Archeology: days of future past

HousesRapid global cooling 13,000 years ago challenged early occupants of Alaska to adapt. People used to hunting mammoths and other megafauna with big stone tools suddenly found their weapons shattering in the cold. Access to the stone they used to make them got buried under snow.

As with any climactic change, the cold resulted in a shift in fauna, requiring new tools. Early Alaskans turned to microblade technology, a technique they’d kept alive for » More …

Holy smokes

smoke in the air over mountainsFor thousands of years, coyote and other types of wild tobacco have provided what many consider a versatile healing remedy and meditative, spiritual channel to the Creator. Much of the botanical lore was muddled, however, with the arrival of Europeans and subsequent cultural upheaval.

WSU researchers Shannon Tushingham and David Gang ’99 PhD are using a combination of archeology and high-end molecular chemistry to help identify and restore wild tobacco and other indigenous smoke plants used by Northwest Native groups.

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