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.


Category Archives: Celilo Park

3155A. In 1941, the photographer Ray Atkeson observed this fisherman "throwing back, over a period, a dozen salmon nearly two feet long. He disdained them as not suitable for his purpose." This catch is typical of Columbia River salmon born before the dams were built. Fish were big and rich in oil because they traveled a thousand miles to spawn in Canada. The size of a fish is proportional to the length of their journey to spawn. The largest of the fish became extinct when the Grand Coulee dam was built in upstate Washington and blocked all Canadian salmon.

On The Water: Salmon as a Gift Economy

The salmon of the Columbia River system is more than a commodity. It is “gift” and it must be passed on, and in accepting the gift, the receiver assumes responsibilities. more >

View III Celilo Canal

A View of the Columbia in 1920 Part IV – The Closing Journey

The Columbia River in 1920 was free of the hydroelectric dams that would turn it into a series of lakes in the coming decades. One adventurer/journalist traveled the distance of the mighty river. In Part 4 of this series, historian Mary Rose takes us down the final stretch of this epic journey. more >

Kettle Falls in Early 1900’s

Kettle Falls, Bigger than Celilo, Silenced 75 Years Ago

Taking a brief detour from the journey of Lewis Freeman, this week looks more deeply at Kettle Falls. Like Celilo Falls, Kettle Falls is another example of the mighty Columbia being ‘tamed’ by hydroelectric infrastructure, and a story of dramatic loss. more >

9305-B7046.  Nancy Jim (left) and Hannah Sohappy Yallup are cleaning the first salmon caught for the traditional Feast of the First Salmon at Celilo village, April 7, 1940.

Seasonal Gathering Rounds Sustained Columbia River Peoples

Through the centuries, Native American women of the Pacific Northwest have been known as the “gatherers” of their tribes. Their role included a number of activities tied to the “seasonal rounds”–Long journeys that took families to different areas of the Northwest to gather food and other materials. more >

Wilfred and Bessie (Green) Scott shared stories with Confluence and our partners at NW Documentary. Photo by Ian McCluskey.

River People: “That’s the Only Place We’ve Ever Lived”

“River People” generally refers to indigenous tribes and bands that live along the Columbia River, and sometimes those specifically who fished at Celilo Falls or lived below the falls along the river. But some see a broader definition of that term. “I think all of us are River People,” says Nez Perce elder Wilfred Scott. more >