The Lelooska Foundation, since its creation in 1977, has sponsored a variety of educational programs aimed at preserving the rich cultural heritage of the Native Peoples of North America. For more than five decades, students, parents, teachers, and the general public have been able to learn through living history programs, workshops, classes and museum tours offered throughout the year.
The living history programs were developed by Chief Lelooska, with the advice of Chief James Aul Sewid and tribal elders, to share the history and culture of the Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwakiutl) people. Chief Tsungani carries on the traditions of his brother, the late Chief Lelooska, creating works of art and performing, along with other family members, in Ariel, Washington, 40 miles northeast of Portland, Oregon.
The Lelooska Family brings to life the masks, stories, songs and dances of the Sewide lineage of the Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwakiutl) in the glimmering firelight of their cedar ceremonial house.
Lelooska and his family were formally adopted into the House of Sewide of the Mamalilikulla and Qwiqwasotenox bands of the Kwakwaka'wakw by Chief James Aul Sewid. With this adoption the hereditary rights, crests and privileges of the Sewide lineage were bestowed on Lelooska and his family.
Chief Lelooska passed away in September of 1996, and the chieftancy was passed to his brother, Tsungani. His legacy of educational programs continues to this day at the Lelooska Cultural Center, where young and old come to learn from the living history programs, museum collection and other activities.
Programs & Activities
Over the last 50 years the masks, dances, stories and songs of the Kwakwaka’wakw have come to life in the glimmering firelight of our ceremonial house in Ariel, Washington. These crests and privileges have been shared by the Lelooska Family since 1960, and since 1977 have been sponsored by the non-profit Lelooska Foundation. The living history program has provided a visually stunning, educational experience for thousands of children, parents, teachers and the general public each year. They have the rare opportunity to see, hear, smell and feel what it would be like to be a guest during the ceremonial dances of the First Nations of the Northwest Coast.
After being immersed in the Kwakwaka’wakw culture, visitors are then taken to the Lelooska Museum. The museum collection shares over 600 pieces of art and artifacts that span the many Native cultures of North America. Attendance at our cultural center has a lasting impact on the lives of the many children who visit, most often in the third or fourth grade. We meet them as they return with their children and their classrooms every year. Before COVID-19 over 11,000 children and adults attended the programs each year. In addition, the Lelooska Foundation sponsors classes, workshops and other educational programs.