Karen Heagen, former Nez Perce Trail Foundation secretary, has accepted the position of project coordinator for the Wallowa Band Nez Perce Tribe Interpretative Center.
Heagen will cooperatively step into the position held by Mary Hawkins.
Heagen has traveled the Nez Perce Trail extensively and has built many successful relationships with members of the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, BLM, and Nez Perce Tribe. Her range and depth of experience regarding the trail’s history will be most beneficial to the next level of growth of the interpretive center. She will continue to serve on the board of directors of the Nez Perce Trail Foundation.
The Wallowa Band Nez Perce Tribe Interpretative Center is located in the Wallowa Valley, the ancestral summer home of Joseph’s Band. The center offers traditional, educational, and historic opportunities to the Nez Perce Tribe as well as for the general public. As a focal point, the annual Tamkaliks Pow Wow and Friendship Feast in July brings members of the community and the tribe together in an effort to promote healing from past historical events, and to recognize the importance of cultural cooperation in the valley.
Heagen’s primary goals are to foster acceptance, understanding, respect, and values that the Nez Perce have contributed to the area even before Euro-American settlement.
“Many excellent projects and programs are planned, and it will be an honor to be involved with implementing them,” Haegen said. “I hope to form a close relationship with members of the community and the tribe so that we can attain the goals that we are setting out to accomplish. We can all learn from history and culture — natural resources, ceremonial events, honoring the land and water, respect for the elders and their wisdom, and the language. It will be rewarding to see these values presented to the youth. It is important that we respect traditional values of both cultures while forming longstanding, peaceful bonds between everyone. After all, it is home to all of us.”