Wilcox woven basket (detail)

Tribal Cultural Affairs

Washington’s culture is richly rooted in tribal practices that have been taking place since time immemorial. ArtsWA’s Tribal Cultural Affairs program will foster these practices by working with Indigenous communities to develop authentic and effective programming. Washington State is home to twenty-nine federally recognized tribes. Each tribe has its own unique culture, rich in values and traditions.

Tribal Cultural Affairs works to support Washington tribal communities as they expand, enhance, or create space for art and culture, in a way that is respectful and responsive to each community’s needs.

Thriving tribal communities, including tribal arts and culture, are critical to Washington’s future. This is the first program in the nation to focus specifically on providing arts related programs, grants, and policies to amplify tribal participation in our state’s creative economy. As Washington’s creative economy continues to expand, it is imperative that we ensure tribal communities participate fully in these opportunities.

The creative economy makes up over 10% of GDP in Washington and is steadily growing. The creative sector includes jobs such as filmmaking, graphic and web design, traditional fine arts, photographers, performing arts, makers, culture bearers, and ancestral knowledge teachers. ArtsWA, in collaboration with Washington tribal communities, is creating pathways into the creative sector to encourage more tribal members to access employment opportunities as well as ensure continued cultural connections.

Pilot Year: Grant Updates

In the first ever Tribal Cultural Affairs grant, 20 Washington State federally recognized Tribes applied for and were awarded the funding. The application was not competitive and focused on supporting culture, language, arts, artists, and the passing of ancestral knowledge. The Tribal Cultural Affairs program is honored to support Washington Tribes and is looking forward to providing assistance to every project in a respectful and appropriate way. We, at ArtsWA, are excited and anticipating completion of the projects.

See the list of fiscal year 2024 Grant Recipients

Contact us

Cheryl Wilcox, Tribal Cultural Affairs Manager, at 360-485-1278 or cheryl.wilcox@arts.wa.gov

Todd Clark, Tribal Cultural Affairs Program Lead at 360-485-1223 or todd.clark@arts.wa.gov

Linnea Ingalls, Tribal Cultural Affairs Coordinator, at 360-252-9969 or linnea.ingalls@arts.wa.gov