Tributaries: A Confluence History Blog

Maya Lin has said, “I try to give people a different way of looking at their surroundings.” As you visit and explore a Confluence Project site, share your observations or new found discoveries in this open community of ideas.


Monthly Archives: August 2016

Idaho's Camas Prairie looking northeast to the Sawtooth Mountains

Northwest Landscape Shaped By Fire

We had a small fire scare at Confluence a couple weeks ago. Our little wildfire is a reminder of the more than two dozen major blazes burning across the United States in the 2016 wildfire season. Lives and homes are threatened; wildlife habitats destroyed and forest resources go up in smoke. Historically, fire posed dangers to the earliest forts and foreign settlements like Astoria (Fort George), Walla Walla (Fort Nez Perce and Fort Walla Walla), and Fort Vancouver. But the history of fire in the Northwest goes back much farther and is a more complicated tale. Read more to learn about Pyroculture in the Northwest. more >

wapato tubers

Important Foods: Wapato

Wapato was a staple of the native diet throughout the Columbia River system. It still grows in the Northwest today, especially in restored lands such as the Sandy River Delta. In some places, wapato is no longer safe to eat because it absorbs metals and other pollutants. In others, it’s fine so make sure to check! more >

Chief Comcomly, Lower Columbia River  Chinook. The Chief died with many of his villagers in the edpidemic of 1830. Artist unknown.

Columbia River Invaded with Spades, Notebooks, Bibles and Disease

In the years that followed the Lewis and Clark expedition, newcomers came to the Columbia River thumping bibles, trading furs, carrying spades and bringing with them new cultural practices, languages, beliefs and disease. more >