Bryson Liberty: Scaffolds Handed Down Generations

In this excerpt, Bryson Liberty talks about scaffolds being handed town generations and fishing with his stepfather at Celilo.

Bio: Bryson Liberty is a tribal elder of the CTUIR. Liberty has a military background and is a published author, as well as working as a health administrator and actor. His article about fishing at Celilo titled “On the Rock” was published in Cowboys and Indians magazine in 2011. He was on “The Cellar,” “Northern Exposure,” and “Little House on the Prairie”.

Yeah, I’d go down with my stepfather. He didn’t have a scaffold to fish on, but you know those were owned by families. They were handed down from one generation to the next. And the scaffold we fished on was owned by Oswald Kies He was a member of the Umatilla tribe. And they called him steelhead, old steelhead. He owned, he ended up owning that. He didn’t have to fish, just everybody caught their salmon, made so much money a day and split it up and he’d get the lion’s share because we fished on his scaffold all day. So after that I fished there until I got drafted into the army. ‘Cause when I got out of the army I went back home and my mother said it’s time I got a good job. Don’t come home and sponge off us anymore. In so many words, you know. They were in loving, kind words. But what she was telling me was you’re a big boy now go get a job. So that kind of ended my fishing in Celilo. I must’ve been about twenty two then, twenty four then, somewhere around there. But that was the end of my fishing in Celilo.

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