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Coast Salish Conservator Awarded Fellowship to Study Native Ancestors

Christina L. Wallace, Coast Salish Snohomish Tribe, has been awarded a fellowship to research the housing structures of her ancestors.
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The Presidio’s Christina L. Wallace has been named a Conservation Guest Scholar with the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles for her work with The Architecture of the Coastal Salish Tribes of the Pacific Northwest. Wallace, who is Conservator, Senior Preservation Project Manager at the Presidio Trust, was one of only two scholars awarded a James Marston Fitch Mid-Career Fellowship from the Fitch Foundation earlier in April, a year-long grant which enables her to conduct research on the topic in the Pacific Northwest. She is a member of the Coastal Salish Snohomish Tribe.

According to her abstract: “The Snohomish Tribe of Indians historically settled at the mouth of the Snohomish River in the Pacific Northwest. Collectively referred to as Coastal Salish, existing histories of these tribes focus primarily on folklore, mythology, traditions, and the decorative arts. Ms. Wallace seeks to add to this record the architectural typologies of the Coastal Salish tribes: permanent wooden structures, plank houses, the custom of seasonal summer structures, and more. Contextualizing this documentation will be an evaluation of the influences that the design of Salish structures may have had on the early architecture of the Pacific Northwest.”

The Getty program supports research and the infusion of new ideas and knowledge into the practice of conservation by allowing researchers to become immersed in a topic apart from their everyday work. “For me as an enrolled member of the Coastal Salish Snohomish Tribe of Indians, the topic holds personal as well as professional interest,” Wallace said in a press release. “I find it fascinating and understudied. Native housing structures are not well documented, and while there are tremendous cultural implications of the forced assimilation of this group, I’ll be focusing on the built form of their dwellings.”