Bryson Liberty: Ten, Twelve Thousand Would Come to Celilo

In this excerpt, Bryson Liberty talks about how many people came to Celilo in the fall and also talks about the hundred-year-old shacks 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”.


And you know, it’s just a matter of fact. You don’t even think of the falls anymore, just a big lake. But I think back all those things that happened like the people that, you know those old shacks, I hate to go back you know but it’s kind of hard to put this on tape because I think of something that’s important but those old shacks. Those hundred year old shacks, you know there could be two or three hundred of them and they’re built, right now they’d be right between the highway and and the railroad– that space in there. It’s all rock and they built those shacks right on the rocks. Like sometimes we’d stay when I’d go down with my stepfather, you picked out the best place you could on the rocks. Some of them places had floors in them you know and no problem there, you’d just go and get on the floor. But the old adage, you see, they say they had a old house there had big enough holes that you could throw a cat through it.
That wasn’t a joke in Celilo. There were holes in the houses that you could throw a cat through. And a lot of people, I bet ten, twelve thousand would migrate there in the fall. They’d come from all over. Probably more Yakamas and Umatilla than anyplace else, lot of Warm Springs. Most of the people, young guys I met, would be from Yakama and the Warm Springs, a few from Idaho.

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