During the course of Our Belongings : Sqelixʷ ‘Salish’ Art and Toolmaking Aspen and Cameron Decker speak about the process of making Salish art and tools, the issues that it brings up in regards to making the objects (environment, sustainability, culture), and what that reveals about the place we are in as Contemporary Native American people. Their presentation teaches holistic Indigenous understandings about native plants, and connection with the land and local ecosystems. This presentation also introduces the science behind these objects, as well as various contemporary Native American artists who influence the work of Aspen and Cameron Decker. Together, both speakers incorporate and speak Salish Language and Plains Sign Language associated with the making of objects with students, during their program.
Aspen Decker Bio
Aspen Decker is an enrolled member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (Tatay̓áqn, Qlis:p̓é & Ksanka) and a speaker of her tribal language, Nsélišcn ‘Salish language’. She graduated with a master’s degree in linguistics from the University of Montana and earned a bachelor’s degree in Tribal Historic Preservation from Salish Kootenai College. She has a Montana Class 7 Native American Language and Culture Educator License and has taught Salish for many years. Her passion for Salish language began as a child, learning from her elders, primarily, Patlik Pierre. Who taught her about the importance of perpetuating Salish language and culture. Raising her children in the language as first language Salish speakers has been one of the ways that she honors their teachings.
Cameron Decker Bio
Cameron Decker is Diné, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, and a descendant of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes. He served as a faculty member at Salish Kootenai College in the Fine Arts department, serving as program Chair of the department for 4 years. Cameron recently worked at the Missoula Art Museum as an Educator and Outreach Coordinator. He holds a Masters in Arts M.A. in Fine Arts in Integrated Arts in Education and is interested in ways to support our Montana education system with authentic, appropriate, and engaging lessons that teach about Indigenous values, contributions and innovations. He and his partner Aspen have been a part of many annual teacher trainings and have been delivering presentations for the CSKT Tribal Education Department for the past 5 years. Together they have over 20 years combined experience in Tribal education.