“Wanapum Native American Discovery Unit” Visits Big Bend

Discovery Unit at BBCC

The “Wanapum Native Discovery Unit” (WNADU) opened its doors to staff and students Tuesday as part of Big Bend’s Multicultural Fair sponsored by the Student Success Center (SCC).

The WNADU is a traveling exhibit highlighting the culture and heritage of the Wanapum Native Americans. The exhibit includes information on the Wanapum culture and their history in the Columbia Basin. Informational plaques along with displays of fishing tools, artwork, and common dwellings were set out for visitors to view.

Diana Villafána, SCC coordinator, of the said the idea for bringing this exhibit to Big Bend came from her students wanting to understand more about different cultures on campus.

“There were students in (the WNADU) when I was in there and it was interesting to them to see the different things they were able to make out of stone and how they weaved baskets and that sort of thing,” said Villafána. “The students really enjoyed it.”

According to the Grant County PUD website: The WNADU is a unique leaning aide for the classroom or general public. Being an Introduction into the History and Culture of the Wanapum People. Learn who the Wanapum are, their lifestyle of yesterday and today!

The foods they eat, their stewardship over the things that are important to them and the perpetuation of their culture. Inside the WNADU visitors can view a miniature of old Priest Rapids Wanapum Village and many other Wanapum artifacts. There are information panels, display cases showcasing historic artifacts from the Wanapum homeland, and a Touch and Feel display.

The Wanapum people travel with the WNADU to local events, schools and Festivals to Educated and promote their culture and history.

Priest Rapids miniature replica
A miniature replica of old Priest Rapids Wanapum Village located inside the Wanapum Native American Discovery Unit.

“This exhibit is important to let people know this is one of the homelands of the Wanapum and even though this is also the land of the Moses/Columbian people; we still did come to this area in order to trade and dig roots,” said BBCC student Kenny Matias. “Personally, I think it is important to show that there are still Native Americans out there who still do practice and live their cultural way of life.”

Matias added that the most important part of the WNADU and cultural education in general is to make people “aware.”

Students and staff can join in becoming more aware of the many cultures on campus as the Multicultural fair continues today (Wednesday) on the Big Bend Community College campus. You can find the schedule for the event on the BBCC Student Success Center Facebook Page.

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