PSU - 12' Salmon at top of pole

Public Art

Native American Center, Portland State University, Portland, OR

As with many of the large public projects I've worked on, I worked in collaboration with several other artists on this project.

It took a while to come up with the idea for what we were going to do, but we finally decided to have a giant marker. And then, once that idea came to us, it was like a powerful vision that kept driving us to completion.

The pole itself ... a 50 foot pole ... is a log from Mt. St. Helens that we found floating in the water. It must have been there since the time of the eruption. We thought that by using it we would not be destroying any living thing, and at the same time, we would be honoring all of the creatures and plant life that once lived on that mountain.

We put giant Salmon at the top of the pole because they were, and still are, so important to the lifeways of so many Native peoples throughout the Pacific Northwest. The salmon are huge ... 12 feet long ... but they don't look that big because they're so high up.

And we put Salmon eggs at the bottom of the pole ... and a number of other symbols going up the pole important to the Native peoples of this region.

Native American Student and Community Center

The Portland State University (PSU) Native Amercian Student and Community Center opened in October, 2003. It provides Native Amercian students and the community at large with a learning environment where peoples of all Nations can come together to learn about one another.

Native American Center at Portland State UniversityClasses in Native American studies and a range of events open to the public are held at the center.

It provides a gathering place based on traditional indigenous values, aimed at invigorating, promoting, and engendering health, goodwill, and community esteem.


Marker at PSU

50' pole with 12' Salmon at top

Lillian's Continuing Relationship with PSU

Lillian has been honored by a continuing artistic connection with Portland State University. The school commissioned her to create several important public art projects for their Native American Student Center and elsewhere at the school. 

Currently, her public art for PSU includes two rooftop sculptures and a 50' pole which illustrates and celebrates the journey of salmon in the Columbia Gorge from birth to their journey to the sea, and to their pilgrimage home to spawn.

Rooftop sculptures