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The 2024 Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series brings together 900 Community members

A heartfelt thank you to the 900 attendees of the 2024 Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series who joined us for a memorable community celebration of Indigenous culture and history!

JOHN HALLIDAY - Friday, March 15, 2024 

90 community members gathered at the Coupeville Library for What is a Chief? How Native Values Can Teach Resilience, a thought-provoking and moving presentation by John Halliday, a Native American artist and former CEO for the Muckleshoot and Snoqualmie Tribes. His lecture focused on the often-untold history of local tribes, and it was a memorable experience to hear John sing accompanied by a Native American drum, his powerful voice echoing throughout the library. Please visit this page in late April for a transcription of John’ Halliday's lecture.

View John Halliday's event photos

Trudy Sundberg 2024 - John Halliday

Your Support Keeps the Series Going!

The Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series is funded by community donations and would not be possible without the continued generosity of individuals, businesses, and community organizations. To help support the series with a tax-deductible contribution, please click on the donate button above or send a check in Trudy's honor to:

Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation
7312 35 Avenue NE
Marysville, WA 98271

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Download our 2024 Sponsorship Packet or contact Christina Kourteva at or 360-547-2955 for more information.


LYLA JUNE - Friday, March 22, 2024

Read Kate Poss's coverage of the series: Lyla June’s Prescription for Healing our Wounds | Architects of Abundance: A Lecture by Dr. Lyla June Johnston

Watch video recording 

On March 22, Dr. Lyla June Johnston visited South Whidbey High School and presented in front of 500 high school and middle school students. Each year, the Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series brings an eminent speaker to a local school, free of charge, to carry on Trudy’s lifelong mission of engaging and empowering youth by introducing them to diverse ideas and perspectives. Lyla engaged the audience with a live music performance and received many thoughtful follow-up questions from the students in attendance.

Lyla June's public presentation, Architects of Abundance: Indigenous Regenerative Food Systems & the Excavation of Hidden History, took place at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts. The lecture was attended by over 300 guests, including overflow guests in WICA’s Zech Hall and lobby, and received a standing ovation. Earlier in the evening, Lyla attended and spoke at a sponsor reception with over 80 guests, including members of the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation Board and Board of Trustees, members of local tribes and community organizations, and elected officials.

We are grateful for the incredible outpouring of community support of this year’s focus on Indigenous culture and history and appreciation of our featured speakers, John Halliday, and Lyla June.

The Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation is committed to continuing to bring diverse and inspiring speakers to the Whidbey Island community, and we look forward to seeing you at the 2025 Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series!

Watch Lyla June's presentation

View Lyla June's event photos by David Welton

Trudy Sundberg 2024 - Lyla June

The 2024 Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series 


Lyla June - Architects of Abundance: Indigenous Regenerative Food Systems & the Excavation of Hidden History

Friday, March 22, 7:30 PM | Whidbey Island Center for the Arts
Friday, March 22, 1:30 PM | South Whidbey High School - Student Lecture

Dr. Lyla June Johnston is an Indigenous musician, scholar, and community organizer of Diné (Navajo), Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne), and European lineages. Her research focuses on how pre-colonial Indigenous Nations gardened large regions of Turtle Island(aka the Americas) to produce abundant food systems for humans and non-humans. Contrary to popular belief, Indigenous Nations were active agents within the ecosystem and sculptured entire bioregions into edible landscapes.

Whether it's periodically burning grassland ecosystems with low severity fires to maintain habitat for deer, buffalo, antelope, etc., or building intertidal rock walls that catch sediment and warmer waters to expand clam habitat, native people have a number of innovative strategies for scaling habitat for edible plants and animals whom they often view as relatives.

Lyla’s work translates this poorly understood history to the Western world and highlights the connection between Indigenous land ethics, decolonial narratives, biodiversity augmentation, anthropogenic habitat expansion, and regional ecosystem design. The success of the systems is believed to be due to their underlying value system of respect, reverence, responsibility, and reciprocity.

Lyla blends her study of Human Ecology at Stanford, graduate work in Indigenous Pedagogy, and the traditional worldview she grew up with to inform her music, perspectives, and solutions. To learn more about her work, visit

Read a recent article from This is Whidbey about Lyla June Johnston's upcoming presentation - Architects of Abundance: a lecture by Dr. Lyla June Johnston

JOHN HALLIDAY - What Is a Chief? How Native Values Can Teach Resilience

Friday, March 15, 4:00 PM | Coupeville Library
With generous support from Humanities Washington

At the age of 55, John Halliday became legally blind. As a Muckleshoot Tribal member of Duwamish ancestry, Halliday says his Native American world view, cultural traditions, and values, which have sustained Native tribes throughout history, long before colonization, have helped him overcome the challenges associated with losing his sight.

Too often, our understanding of American history begins with foreign European powers “settling” the land—as though no thriving human communities existed here. Woven in with John’s personal story, audiences will learn Washington State history from a Native American perspective, and how that history can teach resilience.

John Halliday is a Native American artist of Muckleshoot, “Duwamish,” Yakama, and Warm Springs Indian descent. Halliday recently retired from the Bureau of Indian Affairs as Deputy Regional Director for the Navajo Region after serving as CEO for both the Muckleshoot and Snoqualmie tribes. Halliday has shown his art at Lakewold Gardens, ANTGallery, and the Sacred Circle Galleries of American Indian Art under the artist name “Coyote”. To learn more about John Halliday, visit

About the Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series

Founded in 2016, the Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series honors beloved Whidbey Island teacher and community leader Trudy J. Sundberg and her lifelong commitment to discover, explore, and exchange information, ideas, and opinions in an environment of respect and consideration.

Each year, the series features a free public lecture by an eminent speaker and a special engagement activity at a Whidbey Island school designed to inspire and empower students. A planning committee of community volunteers, Library and Foundation staff selects the featured speakers. The lectures explore Trudy’s many areas of interest, including education, literature, history, the arts, civic engagement, and politics.

Presented in collaboration with the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation, the Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series exemplifies public libraries’ commitment to lifelong learning and intellectual freedom.

The series is made possible thanks to generous contributions by individuals, businesses, community organizations, and support from the Trudy J. Sundberg Memorial Fund, established in Trudy's honor. The Fund is administered according to the policies and procedures of the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation, adhering to guidelines established with the Greater Everett Community Foundation. Funds for the program may also be used to enhance pertinent library resources and access to information for residents of the Sno-Isle Libraries District.

Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series Planning Committee:

Shirley Bennett, Becky Bolte, Kathryn O’Brien, Molly Carney, Mary Hogan, Michele Kahrs, Kathleen Landel, Ace Martin, Katrina Morse, Christina Kourteva, Scott Stapleton


"We just moved to Whidbey Island and could not believe Wade Davis was coming to Langley! We have followed him for 12 years. He is a rock star! You can bet we will support the Trudy Sundberg Lectures and will be at the lecture next year." - Wade Davis Lecture Attendees

Trudy J. Sundberg 1

Our Partners

Thank you to our corporate and community partners for their generous support!

©2023 Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation

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Marysville, WA 98271

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