No matter what city hosts an AISES National
Conference, you can be sure we will be convening on tribal land, and the
2020 AISES National Conference is no exception. It will be held on
territory that historically was — and still is — home to the Spokane
Indian Tribe, whose lands once spanned 3 million acres.
For millennia the Spokane Tribe lived along the Spokane, Columbia,
and other rivers in eastern Washington, practicing a seasonal way of
life that included hunting, fishing (especially salmon), gathering, and
trading with their neighbors. A principal point for the tribe’s trading
and fishing was the spectacular Spokane Falls (the city that came later
was originally named Spokane Falls). The falls are still the heart of
the city, and there are many ways to enjoy this beautiful place. One is Riverfront Park, site of Expo ’74, the 1974 World’s Fair, and home to the annual Gathering at the Falls Powwow every September.
One of the most popular things to do at the park is hop in a gondola for a trip on the Numerica SkyRide, voted one of the “Top 12 Scenic Cable Rides in the World” by Condé Nast Traveler.
Don’t forget your camera — during the 15-minute ride you’ll get the
best views of the falls as well as the nearby Huntington Park Natural
Area. Other attractions in Riverfront Park include pedal karts, a spider
jump, and the historic 1909 Looff Carrousel, whose hand-carved animals
will give you a nostalgic ride (yes, there’s even a brass ring).
Or lace up your sneakers and hit the 40-mile, paved, and car-free Centennial Trail,
which passes right by the Spokane Convention Center. A walk on this
designated National Recreation Trail will repay you with great river
views from many angles.
If you’re looking for indoor diversions, Spokane has several museums that are well worth a visit. The Smithsonian-affiliated Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture
is located just outside downtown in the historic Browne’s Addition
neighborhood. Exhibits focus on art and regional history, including
Indigenous peoples of the area
Overlooking Spokane Falls is the Mobius Science Center, which offers dynamic exhibits to spark inquiry across STEM disciplines. Step outside the center to visit Huntington Park
with its spectacular up-close views of Spokane Falls, the Spokane
Bridge, and the iconic Monroe Street Bridge. The park also features many
public art installations, including representations of Native culture,
and informational exhibits on hydroelectric history.
Spokane prides itself on innovation and creativity, and it’s easy to
find art installations that will inspire you — there’s even a gallery in
city hall. Or head to the free Jundt Art Museum at
Spokane’s Gonzaga University, which holds more than 5,000 pieces by
local, regional, national, and international artists including a
collection of glass by Dale Chihuly.
If you’d rather look to nature for inspiration, there’s the 78-acre Manito Park and Botanical Gardens
recognized for the diverse horticultural displays in its five major
garden areas, which are separated by native ponderosa groves, plus a
If all this exploring has made you hungry, think about sampling some
regional specialties like Washington steelhead, the official state fish.
With ample rivers, lakes, and proximity to the Pacific Ocean, delicious
fresh seafood is a menu staple in Spokane.
Calling Spokane Members and Friends!
No AISES National Conference can happen without the contributions of
the Local Volunteer Committee. Your ideas and hands-on participation are
crucial to the success of the conference and play a big part in making
possible the knowledge, insights, and memories of Spokane that
conference-goers will take with them. Please consider joining the
committee and volunteering at the conference. For more information about
being part of the next great AISES gathering, contact Katherine
Cristiano, director of special events, at email@example.com.
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