The City of Washougal is inviting the community to celebrate the city’s history and its newest piece of public art with the official unveiling of the White Wing Mural in honor of Betsey Ough, Wednesday, October 9 at 4 pm. The ceremony will take place in front of the piece, located outside the Washougal Library at 1661 C Street, Washougal. A reception will follow in the Washougal Community Center next door.
“If you are familiar with Washougal’s history, you know that Betsey White Wing Ough, a Cascades Tribe princess, along with her husband Richard Ough, founded our great city,” said Jim Cooper, Washougal Arts and Culture Alliance board president. “For her role, Betsey is lovingly referred to by many as the ‘Mother of Washougal.’ The theme of the mural is Richard Ough courting Betsey White Wing Ough.”
WACA spearheaded the effort and lead fund raising for the work.
Mural artist Toma Villa is an internationally renowned Native American artist. He will attend the dedication and share his thoughts about White Wing and how he developed the 8’-11” x 25’ scene. “Through my extensive research on Betsey Ough (White Wing) of the Washougal people, I found her story inspiring on a personal level,” he said. “What it shows is how love can change one’s life and what can be created from it.”
Inspiration came in part from a quote describing Richard Ough’s feelings for the young princess. “…he thought he could see White Wing in the clouds and in the forest and in his dreams. He said, “Come pretty bird and fly with me, for I am lonely, and my nest is empty.”
For the mural, Villa chose to feature the egret bird to represent White Wing for its beauty and grace. “I used seven of them for that is a significant number in Columbia River longhouses,” he explained. “They are facing East; of the way the wind blows on the river. The baskets are from the Two Rivers Heritage Museum and are part of a greater collection in Washougal, accenting the mural representative of White Wing as a weaver same as her grandmother.”
The unveiling and dedication ceremony program will begin with a Washaat Prayer by Members of the Yakima Nation, White Swan Longhouse in the tradition of their native heritage. In addition to Villa, speakers will include Washougal Mayor, Molly Coston speaking about how influential White Wing was as a woman and native landowner in early Clark County.
Former Washougal City Council member, Joyce Lindsay, will also speak on the impact and attention drawn to Native American cultures by efforts such as the Confluence and the inspiration that led WACA to work with the artist that would memorialize Princess White Wing in this colorful mural.
Another speaker will be Elder Johnnie Lee Wyman, who will represent the Yakima Nation and is a Great Great Grandson of Richard and Betsey Ough through their son, Benjamin Ough. Wyman will speak on behalf of his family about the significance of this gift in honor of White Wing and how it impacts her future generations.
Attendees of the ceremony are invited to meet and greet the Ough family descendants, artist Toma Villa, city leaders, and the WACA board at the reception following in the Washougal Community Center – 1681 C Street. Additional historic information will be provided at the reception by the Two Rivers Heritage Museum.
To learn more about Washougal artwork: https://lacamasmagazine.com/2019/03/artswa-funds-new-art-at-washougal-schools-roots-and-wings-celebration.html