The Long Tent at Whitman combines experiential learning with the need for greater engagement with the complex history of our region, which has been a major point of focus for the college in recent years. “The fact that we are establishing a piece of architecture like the Long Tent on a college campus in the United States is unprecedented and wonderful,” said Roger Amerman (Choctaw), a 1980 Whitman graduate and co-director of the event. “In modern times, you infrequently see the Long Tent architecture set up for only special events, and only in the Reservation communities. This will probably be the first and last time Whitman College students will see a long tent.” 

Long Tent 101

All members of the Whitman community are invited to attend a Long Tent 101 session. Learn from Roger Amerman and Lonnie Sammaripa about the history and traditions of the Long Tent and explore this marvelous structure inside and out.

These two identical sessions will take place on Tuesday, April 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Wednesday, April 20 from 12 to 1 p.m. Please arrive on time and plan to stay for the entire session.

Classes in the Long Tent

During the days it is present on campus, nearly 200 students from 13 classes will have the opportunity for dedicated classroom time learning from Native American elders and experts in the Long Tent. Following is a selection of the courses that have scheduled time in the Long Tent.

Intro To Environmental Studies with Susanne Altermann, senior lecturer of biology

Guest Speaker: Stella Sammaripa

Stella Sammaripa will be giving her background and plans towards restoration of Indian Dog Bane Hemp. Sammaripa will share intimately with the class her research, the goals oriented to aim for restoration and the purposes that could come out of Indian Dogbane Hemp. This is a much broader take of discussion for the class that will be constraint in the public speaker forum. Professor Altermann is planning to bring class cultivated Dogbane and create twine, and discuss the further optional uses inside of the Long Tent. 

Consuming Divinity: Food & Religion with Xiabo Yuan, assistant professor of anthropology and religion

Guest Speaker: Lonnie Sammaripa

This discussion will focus on how good is acknowledged through our practices and to what extent. Sammaripa will explain processes of seasonal foraging, hunting and how Native American people acknowledge it more through our regional traditional stories on landmarks and locations, how theu talk about first foods and acknowledge them in order of the seasons they come. I shared with her the coyote story and his relocations efforts of spreading types of Pyaxí throughout the Northwest. The class is utilizing excerpts from various sources in a four-day period leading up to the Long Tent Session assigned, focusing on first foods, natural resource preservation, food ceremonies and food sovereignty.  

First Year General Studies with Jack Iverson, professor of French and francophone studies

Guest Speakers: Roger Amerman and Thomas Morning Owl

Roger Amerman and Thomas Morning Owl will provide a brief overview of the Long Tent's role in Sahaptin and Salish/Shuswap Lifeways, and discuss to the impacts and effects of removals and relocations of First Nations Peoples, as well as aggressive government efforts to assimilate Native Peoples (such as residential schools and governmental pressures on First Nation traditionalists).

Art & Public: Contextualization of Mainstream & Decontextualized Western Colonial Art with Amanda Evans, visiting professor of art

Guest Speaker: Lonnie Sammaripa

Discussion of sustainable art and art created with a purpose in mind. Sammaripa will share about the creation of regalia as an art form and the importance of learning, obtaining and teaching the making of traditional Native American items such as wampum necklaces, head roaches and loom work, which is a dying art.

Intro To Environmental Studies with Stan Thayne, lecturer of anthropology, environmental studies and religion

Guest Speaker: Roger Amerman

This discussion will center on the construction process and architectural features of the Long Tent, including a detailed narrative about and review of the materials used to construct the Long Tent on Ankeny Field and materials used by the pre-colonial ancestors (and why those particular plant species are used for LT materials). Amerman will also share a brief narrative regarding the paramount and central role of the Long Tent in "first foods" harvest, responsibility, and reverence.

Intro U.S. Politics & Policymaking: Treaty of 1855 with Susanne Beechey, associate professor of politics

Guest Speaker: Lonnie Sammaripa

Exploring a way to see government and politics, using the Treaty of 1855 as well historic theories and policies such as the  Doctrine of Discovery/Manifest Destiny, the Indian Removal Act, allotment and assimilation, to the more recent government practice of Indian Self-Determination because of Northwest Indian College. This class will have, by the time of their visit to the Long Tent, read Donald Sampson’s Epilogue in “As Days Go By,” Antone Minthorn’s Chapter in “As Days Go By,” as well as C. Luce & W. Johnson’s Sovereignty Chapter from the same book.

Environmental Justice with Alissa Cordner, associate professor of sociology

Guest Speaker: Roger Amerman

Amerman will provide a brief narrative regarding the paramount and central role of the Long Tent in the context of Plateau Tribal social, religious, ceremonial and mundane lodging lifeways, as well as explore why the Long Tent was the perfect architectural fit and adaptation for a salmon and First Foods lifeways culture that moves quickly and frequents several spots on their annual trajectory through varying elevations and ecotones in the traditional landscapes. Through this biocentric discussion the Plateau Peoples' connections to the land will be well manifested.

Postcolonial Eco-criticism with Emily Sibley, adjunct assistant professor in environmental studies

Guest Speaker: Lonnie Sammaripa

Discussion of what happens after post-colonialism, including thoughts or concerns, responses and reactions “against” colonial thought. Sammaripa will share thoughts on Native American well-being, representation, clothing, place of being, language, etc. Students will have read Chuck Sams' excerpt from The Oregon Historical Society “Keepers of the Salmon.” 

Climate Change with Kirsten Nicolaysen, professor of geology

Guest Speaker: Lonnie Sammaripa

Discussion of ways that music, poem and written word are applied to environmental awareness. Sammaripa will share that when it comes to peaceful demonstrations and fights against environmental injustices, the Native American community has used song and prayer to help us in faith based on our beliefs. Sammaripa will share the modern takes of using chants or round dance songs with alternative rock music and how that is integrated with community needs. The students are going to be provided excerpts from Chief Seattle’s speech, Simon J. Ortiz’s “And The Land Is Just As Dry,” and Beth Piatote’s “The Beadwork’s.”