Tag Archives: Celilo Falls

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 >

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 >

Celilo Canal circa 1920 postcard.  Credit: A.M. Prentiss Photo. Published by Lipschuetz and Katz, Portland, Oregon. Card #401. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.

Before The Dam, Celilo Canal Built For ‘Progress’

By Mary Rose While researching the Washington Territory town of Ainsworth, near the Confluence Story Circles in today’s Pasco, Washington, I discovered a connection between the Celilo Canal and my elementary school. I grew up at Pasco, and learned that … more >