To protect, conserve, restore and promote culturally-relevant species and landscapes integral to the unique identity of the Cowlitz People. To further educate the community and inspire future leaders and participants in this vision.
Department Purpose and Need:
Innumerable aspects of traditional Cowlitz culture emerge from the natural landscape, including plants like red cedar, acorns, camas, wapato and huckleberries. Significant animal species include elk, deer, mountain goat, salmon, eulachon, sturgeon and lamprey. Key habitats and locations include all the rivers and fisheries, prairies, oak woodlands, berry fields and sources of obsidian, chert or jasper.
The department has as many specific goals as there are landscape components, arising from sources of both skill and need. The purpose of the department is to weave individual tasks into an integrated whole. A rope, not strands. A blanket, not threads.
The natural components fundamentally underlie both the traditional and the modern cultural identity of the Cowlitz People. Culture is derived from the interactions of the People within the landscape. If any species goes extinct, that particular cultural thread is forever broken and the rope is weaker, the blanket has an un-patchable hole.
The persistence of the Cowlitz People and Cowlitz culture is the goal of the department, and the purpose of the entire Cowlitz Indian Tribe. This ideal is best integrated in the department’s Mission Statement.