In March 1957, the closing of The Dalles Dam led to the inundation of Celilo Falls, one of the most important Indigenous fishing sites in all of North America. As the dam’s reservoir rose, it flooded the falls, physically erasing them from the landscape. Native people, many dressed in full regalia, lined the river’s banks and mourned its transformation. But in the words of Navajo/Warm Springs/ Wasco/Yakama poet Elizabeth Woody, “memory stays.” This talk will explore what it means to remember and commemorate Celilo Falls more than 60 years after its inundation.
This talk is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Along the Columbia Nch’i-Wana: Maya Lin and the Confluence Project on view in the Maxey Museum through Dec. 10.
Whitman College’s Department of Art History and Visual Culture Studies
in partnership with this year’s academic theme, “Climate Reckonings, Climate Justice.”
Dr. Katy Barber is a professor of History at Portland State University where she teaches Western U.S., Pacific Northwest, and Public History courses. Her previous books include Death of Celilo Falls and Nature’s Northwest: The North Pacific Slope in the 20th Century (with William Robbins). Her most recent work is In Defense of Wyam: Native White Alliances and the Struggle for Celilo Village.