Exhibition “Sensing Sasquatch” opens at High Desert Museum: Sasquatch’s past, present and future in the High Desert region are explored in works by five indigenous artists


What does Sasquatch – also known as Bigfoot – represent to you? The unknown? Adventure? Mystery?

Feel Sasquatch is a major exhibition at the High Desert Museum that examines the primate-like, reclusive and elusive creature in the context of the High Desert region. The exhibition will be on display through January 12, 2025.

The indigenous people of the Plateau have long encountered Sasquatch and told stories about him. Feel Sasquatch explores Sasquatch's past, present and future in the High Desert region from an indigenous perspective.

On display are works by five indigenous artists, including: Phillip Cash Cash, Ph.D. (Nez Percé, Cayuse), HollyAnna CougarTracks DeCoteau Littlebull (Yakama, Nez Percé, Cayuse, Cree), Charlene “Tillie” Dimmick (Hot springs), Frank Buffalo Hyde (Nez Perce, Onondaga) and Rocky LaRock (Salish). Their original artwork is complemented by first-hand accounts and Sasquatch narratives displayed on the interior walls of the exhibition. This exhibition deviates from the common portrayal of Sasquatch and offers insight into Sasquatch as a protective figure revered by many indigenous peoples of the High Desert, through direct quotes from the artists themselves.

On display are works by five indigenous artists, including: Phillip Cash Cash Ph.D. (Nez Perce, Cayuse), HollyAnna CougarTracks DeCoteau Littlebull (Yakama, Nex Perce, Cayuse, Cree), Charlene “Tillie” Dimmick (Warm Springs), Frank Buffalo Hyde (Nez Perce, Onodaga) and Rocky LaRock (Salish).

The original word for Sasquatch is “Sasq'ets,” which comes from the Halq'emeylem language of the Coast Salish First Nations of southwestern British Columbia. Sasquatch is bipedal and much larger than a human. Sasquatch's habitat is often associated with the humid rainforests of the Pacific Northwest coast, but in the high desert, Sasquatch roams among dry canyonlands, ponderosa pine forests, and shrublands.

The question of whether Sasquatch exists is irrelevant to the theme of the exhibit, as Sasquatch is a real living, breathing, sentient being in many indigenous traditions. In fact, Sasquatch is viewed by many tribes in North America as an elder, kin, and spiritual leader who appears to deliver important messages to the people. Feel Sasquatch Contributing artist Rocky La Rock (Salish): “Sasquatch is everything. He is our world, our provider, our brother. It is an honor to feed him and protect him. He takes care of us.”

Before entering the exhibit, there is a tribute to the pop culture icon that Sasquatch has become. Afterwards, however, visitors are asked to step outside of these ideas and perceptions and consider a different side of Sasquatch's story. Outside the exhibit, an interactive “bring-your-own” sticker encourages visitors to reflect on the popularity and kitsch of common Sasquatch depictions. Visitors can stick their stickers on the back of a car driving off into the distance – symbolically carrying away their Sasquatch stereotypes and entering a new world of experience and understanding.

The High Desert Museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is located a few miles south of Bend, Oregon, at 58900 US-97, Bend, OR 97702. Learn more about Feel Sasquatch and the featured artists of the exhibition at

“Enigma” by Frank Buffalo Hyde. Photo by Todd Cary.

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