Johnny Jackson: Growing up with the River People’s Treaty

In this video, Johnny Jackson describes the signing of the Walla Walla Treaty and the importance of learning his history.

Bio: Johnny Jackson is a respected elder and honorary Columbia River Chief representing the Cascades Band. He served in the army in the ‘50s and has been a fisherman for many years. Currently, he serves as a Yakama Commissioner for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission’s (CRITFC). Johnny Jackson is not only a strong advocate for fishing rights, but is outspoken in preserving cultural places and protecting places/resources from further development and deterioration. He lives near the confluence of the Columbia and White Salmon rivers in Underwood, WA.

That treaty was signed in Walla Walla but Slockish and the other chiefs that went up there with him which were a lot of the representatives of the Warm Springs people, they walked and signed. They walked out ’cause they didn’t like the agreements so they went home. Isaac Stevenson followed Slockish down the river and brought Palmer to deal with the Warm Springs. They signed along the river, they didn’t sign in Walla Walla. That’s the difference between the river people and their treaties and the tribe’s treaties. And that’s what I live by. That’s history that I grew up with, along the river. When I grew up as a little boy, if I ran in there when old people were talking in our old language I couldn’t run back out, not like kids can do nowadays. I ran in there, there was a man or a woman with a whip, they pointed for me to sit down and the other boys would sit down as well. We had to sit there and listen to the elders. We had to learn from them. That’s how I learned my history.

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