Tag Archives: chinook

Western Pond Turtles, familiarly known as Mud Turtles, once thrived near Fort Vancouver. By Jerry Kirkhart via Wikimedia Commons

Vancouver: Land of the Mud Turtles

By Mary Rose One hundred miles above the mouth of the Columbia River, the Hudson’s Bay Company built its premier fort in the West. The French Canadians called it “Jolie Prairie”[1] but long before the presence of outsiders, Native Americans … more >

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 >

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 >


By Land and By Sea, First Reports of the Great River

First impressions of the Columbia River from European and American explorers were big news at the time and continue to shape our understanding of the Northwest. By land and by sea, the early reports of the Columbia River paint a picture of an indigenous canoe culture and lush landscape. more >

North Head lighthouse at Cape Disappointment at the mouth of the Columbia River. Photo by 
Photo credit: weathercrazy82 https://www.wunderground.com/wximage/weathercrazy82/174

Cape’s Name Reflects Disappointment Only Of Early Explorers

Place names can be windows into history. So what to make of a name like Cape Disappointment? This gorgeous Washington State Park is Confluence’s first project site, with several art/landscape features designed by celebrated artist Maya Lin. A visit there is certainly not disappointing! Turns out, this picturesque cape was a disappointment only to early western explorers. more >