Kaa Shaayí

Creating Connections: Art, Community, Heritage

Northwest Indian College Foundation

12th Annual Tl’aneq’ Fundraiser

Tl’aneq Gathering for a Celebration: A Pillar of Strength for the Northwest Indian College

September 17, 2022 – Each year, the Lummi Indian Reservation near the Canadian border in the Pacific Northwest hosts a remarkable gathering known as the Tl’aneq’ Gathering for a Celebration. Organized by the Northwest Indian College (NWIC) and its Foundation (NWICF), this event forms a vibrant tapestry of individuals unified by their shared commitment to Indigenous higher education.

The Tl’aneq’ Gathering serves as a cornerstone of NWICF’s annual fundraising initiatives. Now in its 12th year, it plays a crucial role in generating scholarships and support for students attending the seven NWIC campuses. NWIC, as the only tribal college serving Native Americans in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, caters to a diverse student body representing over 130 tribes. Many of these students are the first in their families to attend college and come from low-income households. By generating scholarships and other forms of financial support, the Tl’aneq’ event eases these students’ financial burdens. It fosters a vibrant, communal spirit that resonates with NWICF’s mission of empowering tribal nations through education.

Following the Lummi value of “Lengesot”—taking care of ourselves, watching out for ourselves, and loving and caring for one another—the Tl’aneq’ event embodies a deep sense of mutual care and responsibility. Attendees’ shared dedication to advancing Reservation educational opportunities and improving the quality of life on Reservations is evident in the funds raised at this event, which directly support NWIC’s mission. Contributions go towards student scholarships, the legacy endowment, and specific degree programs, among other critical areas.

Yet the importance of the Tl’aneq’ Gathering extends beyond its financial impact. The event serves as a rich cultural beacon, strengthening the bonds between NWIC, its students, and the wider community. It showcases Indigenous art, music, and traditions, thus creating an environment that honors the past and nurtures the future of tribal nations.

In the 12th annual event, the spotlight shone on multiple artists whose work epitomizes the rich tapestry of Indigenous art. Artists such as Dan Friday, Preston Singletary, Pat Pruitt, Peter Boome, and Kaa Shaayí exhibited their creations, reflecting the diversity and depth of Indigenous art forms. Kaa Shaayí generously donated a second and final replica of an 1880 Tlingit paddle, based on research done at the Burke Museum, contributing to the celebration of the Indigenous heritage. Additionally, he participated as a student speaker, further emphasizing his commitment to supporting NWIC and the cause it represents.

The Tl’aneq’ Gathering signifies more than just a fundraising event—it epitomizes NWICF’s unwavering dedication to supporting Indigenous students and communities. As NWIC seeks to expand, with future plans to offer master’s and doctorate programs and to construct a health and wellness center, the Tl’aneq’ event’s significance will only grow.

By standing together, we can ensure the continued success of this gathering, NWIC, and its students, all the while empowering tribal nations and enriching the lives of their members.

The next Tl’aneq’ event is expected to take place Spring 2024.

Your contribution to the foundation is greatly appreciated. Click here to reach the donation page.

Click here to read more about Tl’aneq’ 2022