Vi Hilbert (née Anderson, Lushootseed name: taqʷšəblu, July 24, 1918 – December 19, 2008) was a Native American tribal elder of the Upper Skagit, a tribe of the greater Puget Salish in Washington State, whose ancestors occupied the banks along the Skagit River, and was a conservationist of the Lushootseed culture and its language, of which she was the last fully fluent heritage speaker. She was named a Washington State Living Treasure in 1989, and received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, presented by President Bill Clinton, in 1994. She co-wrote Lushootseed grammars and dictionaries, and published books of stories, teachings, and place names related to her native region, the Puget Sound (also known as Whulge[dubious ], anglicized from Lushootseed x̌ʷə́lč /χʷəlcç/).
Hilbert was born to Charlie and Louise Anderson on July 24, 1918 near Lyman, Washington, on the Upper Skagit River. Her father was a fisherman, a logger, and a canoe maker, whose canoe the Question Mark is housed in the Smithsonian Museum Archive.
Experience in WWII
Hilbert was married three times. Her first marriage was to Hercy Woodcock in 1936. They had two children. Her first child, Denny, was born in 1937, and her daughter, Lois, in 1938. After Denny died of meningitis in 1940, Vi and Percy Woodcock separated and she moved to Nooksack (near Bellingham, Washington) to live with her parents.
Hilbert's second marriage was to Bob Coy in 1942 at Tulalip (near Marysville, Washington). She gave birth to her son Ron in 1943.
Her third and final marriage was in 1945 to Henry Donald "Donny" Hilbert, who honorably served in World War II, surviving the attack at Pearl Harbor while aboard the USS West Virginia. Donny subsequently adopted Hilbert's children from her previous marriages. They lived in a house they built in south Seattle until 2003, when they moved to Bow, Washington, in Skagit County.
Donny preceded Hilbert in death.
- "NEA National Heritage Fellowships 1994". www.arts.gov. National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
- Miller, Julie. Personal interview with Henry Donald Hilbert and Vi Hilbert 2000. Interviewed taped via telephonic interview.
- "Upper Skagit Tribe elder dies". Skagit County's News and Information Source, goskagit.com. Dec. 19, 2008. Archived from the original on June 15, 2009. Retrieved 2013-04-04.
- "Taqwsheblu Vi Hilbert Ethnobotanical Garden - Grounds and Landscaping - Seattle University". Seattle University. Retrieved 2017-03-09.
- Yoder, Janet, Vi Hilbert, Jeanette Weston (1993). Writings about Vi Hilbert (2nd private ed.). Seattle, WA: Lushootseed Research. Retrieved 2013-04-04.
- http://www.historylink.org/ (The Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History)