The People of Cascadia 

Pacific Northwest Native American History
written and illustrated by Heidi Bohan

The Story Behind the Book

See the News page for some recent U-Tube videos of the author talking about native traditional food plants.

This book was created to fill a gap in the educational materials available for those who want to learn more about the incredibly rich culture of the People of Cascadia.

It is offered with the greatest humility, and with an awareness that this is a very important and sensitive subject, especially to the native people in our communities today.

Here is the story of how this book came to be.

The Author

Finding Osha in the Cascades

Heidi Bohan has 18 years experience working as a freelance educator and adjunct faculty for local schools and organizations in the subjects of native plants, horticulture, woodworking, ethnobotany and traditional ecological knowledge of the Pacific Northwest, specializing in creating hands-on life-skills programs which reinforce academic learning requirements, adding meaning and purpose.

To learn more about Heidi̓'̓s workshops, public events, education programs and other information visit www.heidibohan.com .

Ralph Bennett at work

The focus on Pacific Northwest Native American culture came about quite by accident, through her longtime friendship and marriage to Haida carver and storyteller, Ralph Bennett- Goo la' Slacoon beginning in 1993. During this time, over a four year period, the author and her husband lived as artist-in-residents at Slough House Park in Redmond, Washington, using a 6-Beam Haida longhouse as a studio, and developing programs for youth and adults throughout the region who came to visit by the thousands. This was the basis for their educational work that continues to this day.

Haida House Studio at Slough House Park

Heidi's past experiences living off-the-land, in hand-built houses, in remote areas during the 60's & 70's, along with a lifetime of horticultural knowledge, and a fifteen-year career as a fine woodworker and architectural designer, all combined for a rapid acquisition of cultural skills and knowledge through research and gifting of knowledge from family and friends, which she shared back when appropriate, through classes in basketry, carving, weaving, edible and medicinal plants and more.

'Summer Kitchen' used by author for 3 years in a remote area in the Coast Range, where everything was split by hand, and food was cooked over an open fire or pit oven.

This has been reinforced by working with local tribes, participation in Snoqualmie Canoe Family, and work as an instructor/mentor for Northwest Indian College.

When the time came that it was clear someone needed to write this book, Heidi received partial funding from a King County 4Culture Special Projects grant. Heidi met with tribal elders to show them preliminary drawings and outlines and received 'permission' to move forward on this book.

Over a nine year period, beginning in 2001, Heidi has drawn and redrawn literally hundreds of drawings, researching and documenting source information whenever it might be debatable and recording this on the original artwork; and printed numerous full class sets to test in the schools and for review by tribal members and cultural experts. This led to many more revisions and refinements. When she began working directly for tribes in 2006, Heidi delayed publication of the book, in order to be certain this book was an appropriate and accurate reflection of the culture.

The title of the book 'People of Cascadia' was decided many years into the process as a way to be inclusive of tribes throughout the region rather than just the Pacific Northwest Coast. This allows for the possibility of future additions in a separate volume representing cultural groups as far north as the Haida and Tlingit, and as far south as the many tribes of Northern California and Oregon.

Peggy Deam, noted Suquamish elder and cultural educator at the book launch.

The book, People of Cascadia- Pacific Northwest Native American History, was finally 'launched' in September of 2009, hosted by the UW Botanic Garden, with many attending who helped make this work possible, including the native people who originally gave permission for this work, and for whom it is mostly humbly offered.