Powell first went to La Push, the Quileute village in Washington State, in 1969 to complete research for his PhD dissertation Proto-Chimakuan: A Reconstruction. While he documented the language he also developed relationships with the local families. During Jensen’s initial visit to La Push, the couple began their first collaborative work with the Quileute, as Jensen photographed the community for eventual use in a language book.
Powell completed his dissertation in 1974, but the language revival projects had only just begun for Jensen and Powell. Over the next 36 years, they spent time in La Push every year, sometimes travelling down for a weekend, and sometimes staying for a month or two. The results of these regular visits are a number of general linguistic books for adults and children; Big Books on culture specific themes to be used in schools; teaching materials to be used by Quileute language and culture teachers; cultural resource studies; dictionaries; and translated stories and resources for smaller language revitalization projects. The records in this series consist of Powell’s research notes; drafts and outlines for the language books; photographs documenting the community; Jensen’s photographs taken of particular subjects for use in language and culture books; audio and visual records of events, stories, and cultural activities.
Jensen and Powell have a continuing relationship with the Quileute and are currently involved in an ongoing language revitalization project. Another dictionary is due to be published in 2009.
The series consists of eleven sub-series:
B. Field notes
C. Administrative records
E. Village life photographs
F. Modern basket weavers’ photographs
G. Counting book photographs
H. Historical photographs and artefacts
I. Photographs of La Push folks
J. Audio recordings
K. Quinault materials