From Genocide to Emergence: Native American History in the Pacific Northwest - A Two-Part Program

Tuesday, January 26 - No program on this day. Instead, join us for a special event commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27.


Who Was chief seattle 450x275 Who Was Chief Seattle?

Tuesday, February 2 | 12-1pm (PT)  

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With Author and Historian David Buerge. Chief Seattle wrote nothing down during his life, yet his words—both real and imagined—are known throughout the world. The result is a man made up of both historical and fictional aspects, from which conflicting messages can be gleaned.

David M. Buerge, a biographer and a historian to the Duwamish Tribe, Seattle’s mother’s people, spent more than 20 years exploring the man from a variety of sources to reveal a leader of epic character. He was a warrior, an orator, a benefactor, and a visionary who helped found the city that bears his name, Seattle, the largest city in the world named after a Native American.

Chief Seattle’s vision was ambitious: a prosperous, multiracial city. But toward the end of Seattle’s life, he saw that vision become a tragedy. In the current century, is Seattle the city edging any closer to the vision of Seattle the man? Buerge explores this complex figure to uncover how one man’s story still shapes the identity of the city.

Buerge, a historian, teacher, and writer, has been researching the pre- and early history of the City of Seattle since the mid-1970s. He has published fourteen books of history and biography. Buerge’s latest book, Chief Seattle and the Town that Took His Name, is the first biography of Chief Seattle intended for adults.

Thank you to our partners on this week's program:

Humanities WA Sasquatch


From Genocide to EmergenceFrom Genocide to Emergence in Our Homeland: An Introduction to Coast Salish History by Children of the Setting Sun

Tuesday, February 9 | 12pm-1pm (PT) 

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With Darrell Hillaire, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Children of the Setting Sun Productions.
 Follow in the journey of the Coast Salish people from European contact, through their experiences with disease, boarding schools, forced relocation, Christianity, and into today’s times where we begin to see an emergence of culture and language in tribal communities. 

Darrell Hillaire is a member of Lummi Nation, great-grandson of Frank Hillaire, who, in 1920, formed the Children of the Setting Sun Song and Dance Group. From Darrell: "Our traditional Lummi song and dance group included several of his grandchildren, and was formed as a response to rapid colonial settlement which included making illegal the traditional Coast Salish cultural practices including song, dance, language, and gatherings such as the potlatch.

"Prior to his passing, Frank Hillaire instructed his grandchildren and future descendants to, 'Keep My Fires Burning.' I have endeavored to follow his instructions throughout my lifetime, from serving as Chairperson and Treasurer of Lummi Indian Business Council for many years (15), to providing a home for our children by building and running the Lummi Youth Academy for 13 years, and more recently, as Executive Director and Co-Founder of Children of the Setting Sun Productions (CSSP). CSSP is a Native owned and operated 501C3, located in Bellingham, Washington within 5 miles of the Lummi Nation. I lead the projects based upon lifetime relationships with many elders and spiritual leaders within the Coast Salish Territory and have grown close to many of the elders through the development of Children of the Setting Sun Production content."  Photo by Hailey Hoffman.

Thank you to our partners on this week's program:

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Among the Remnants: Holocaust SurvivorJosh Gortler 216 EDIT
Josh Gortler 

Tuesday, February 16 | 12-1pm (PT) 



When 3-year-old Joshua Gortler and his family were forced from their hometown in Poland  during World War II, they scrambled for safety border over border, finding refuge at least in Europe's Displaced Persons Camps.

Undocumented and unschooled, Gortler spent his adolescence learning to survive. When his family eventually relocated to the U.S., Gortler found himself starting over as teenager in a foreign land with only his spunk and sharp and wits to rely on.

After earning a Master's degree in social work, Josh moved to Seattle and worked at the Kline Galland Jewish nursing home for almost 50 years. He began telling his story when his grandchildren asked what happened to him during the Holocaust, and he is now an active member of the Holocaust Center for Humanity's Speakers Bureau and Board of Directors.

Josh Gortler's memoir, Among the Remnants, was published in January 2020.


In My Hands: Rescuer Irene Gut OpdykeJeanie Opdyke Smith 2.23

Tuesday, February 23 | 12-1pm (PT) 



Jeannie Opdyke Smith
shares her mother's incredible journey of courage and resilience. A true story of how one Polish Catholic teenager saved over a dozen Jews during the Holocaust.

Irene received international recognition for her actions during the Holocaust while working for a high-ranking German official. 

Irene's story became a Broadway play int he nationally acclaimed production "Irena's Vow" and her memoir, "In My Hands" is used in classrooms across the country.

The Israeli Holocaust Commission named Irene one of the Righteous Among the Nations. She was presented with the Israel Medal of Honoe at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.

Jeannie is a recipient of the 2015 Civil Rights award given by the Anti-Defamation League. She resides in Washington state with her husband, Gary, and is the mother of three, a foster parent, a grandmother of five, and surrogate mother to dozens more.

Jeannie travels sharing her mother's story with groups across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. The story she shares speaks to the horrors and hate of the Holocaust—but also brings a message of faith, love, and hope, that good can triumph over evil. It proclaims the conviction that one by one, we can say no to hatred, persecution, and prejudice.



12:00 - 1:00pm (Pacific Time) Every Tuesday.  Join us for our weekly Lunch-and-Learn series to hear children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, notable speakers on timely issues, and historical experts. 

These programs aim to present perspectives and voices that challenge and inspire people to confront bigotry, racism, and indifference, and to consider how their actions make a difference. 

Disclaimer: The views, information, or opinions expressed in these programs are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of the Holocaust Center for Humanity and its employees.   




Thank you to our 2021 Lunch-and-Learn Sponsors:

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The Frances Roth & Stanley R. Schill Foundation    


Thank you to the grantors, companies, and individuals who have made this year's Lunch-and-Learn series possible. If you or your company are interested in sponsoring one or more Lunch-and-Learns throughout the year, please contact Nicole Bela: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..