Tribal Intern Cultural Display

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Tribal Youth Intern Program

Elakha Interns, Kaitlynn Spino & Greyson Gomez, at Yaquina Head Natural Area.

In the summer of 2022, the Elakha Alliance hired two students who were enrolled in an Oregon college, and who self-identified as Indigenous, as tribal interns to support the mission to reintroduce sea otters back to the Oregon coast. The Elakha Alliance received funding from the Siletz Tribal Community Foundation and the Spirit Mountain Community Fund to support these Internships.

Cultural Display Project

The students used the 10-week summer internship to create a traveling display highlighting the cultural significance of sea otters on the Oregon coast. A grant from the Coquille Tribe Community Fund covered the costs of producing the display.

The display incorporates Indigenous stories of sea otters from Oregon tribes, historical photographs, and maps of where sea otters were present. The display will travel to sites along the Oregon coast and beyond to raise awareness about sea otters and their absence in Oregon. The interns concluded the internship with the Elakha Alliance webinar (see below) to present their final project summary and discuss key takeaways. 

Cultural Display Traveling Schedule:

You can find the cultural display at the following sites in Fall 2022:

  • September 6 – September 9
    BLM Yaquina Head Natural Area Interpretive Center (Newport)
  • September 10 – September 11
    CTCLUSI/CIT Salmon Celebration 
  • September 12
    Jerry’s Rogue Jets/Mailboats Museum (Gold Beach)
  • October 16
    Mill Casino (North Bend)
  • November 17
    Cape Perpetua Land-Sea Symposium (Yachats)

More locations are being confirmed; keep checking this page for updates.

OMSI Camp Gray Documentary

OMSI Camp Gray Director, Anne Armstrong, reached out to the Elakha Alliance in the hopes their summer camp high school students could focus on the Elakha Alliance’s work for their upcoming 2-week documentary film camp led by NW Documentary. This was a great opportunity to highlight the Tribal Interns’ summer project.

The Tribal Interns spent 3 days in the spotlight with campers filming them around Newport as they did research for the cultural display project. Enjoy the final video below. You can also view the two accompanying videos the campers made, Kelp Me Please and A Wayward Home for Otters.

Meet the Elakha 2022 Summer Interns

Greyson Gomez

I am Greyson Gomez, A Native student from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw. I am going into my senior year at the University of Oregon with a major in Product Design and a minor in Sports Business. The Elakha Alliance team is something I am so grateful to be a part of this Summer. The Elakha Alliance is important to me because of the founding vision of our people thriving alongside the keystone species of the sea otter years from now. I am thankful to be given the opportunity to use my creative toolbox to showcase and emphasize just how important Elakha are to the Oregon coast!

You can contact Greyson here.

Kaitlynn Spino

Hello! My name is Kaitlynn Spino, and I am a descendant of the Yakama Nation. I am from Klickitat, WA, which is nestled in the Columbia River Gorge. I am a third-year student at the University of Oregon. I am currently majoring in Marine Biology and Native American Studies. Being an Elakha Alliance Tribal Youth Intern is a phenomenal opportunity. Being able to combine marine science, law & policy, and tribal perspective into an organization is exactly what I want to do once I graduate from college. I hope to work for different tribal governments regarding fisheries, with a focus on salmon specifically. Being able to partake in the work of the reintroducing of sea otters or Elakha along the Oregon Coast is incredible to think about. To make sure my future kids and grandkids can see and exist together with sea otters along the Oregon coastline pushed me to get involved in this internship.

You can contact Kaitlynn here.