Confluence is honored to work with eight sovereign tribes from the Columbia River Basin. Each has a vast and rich history and enrolled members continue to maintain cultural, economic and environmental connections to their homelands. Here are some basic facts about each of these tribes with tribal resources to learn more.
The Chinook are one of several Lower Chinook people indigenous to the western Washington coast. Though not federally recognized, the Chinook were long recognized as prodigious traders across the Northwest coast.
The confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers was a major uniting force for tribes of the Columbia River basin. It became a major site for settlers later, as the waterways provided a convenient mode of transportation.
The Nez Perce are a tribe found throughout Eastern Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. The Nez Perce were known for their early openness to white settlers, and later for their persecution. Special focus on Chief Timothy.
The Sacajawea State Park area saw a lot of change between the surrender of Chief Joseph and the revelation of the Hanford nuclear operations only a century later: railroads, dams, and plutonium replaced trade and family.
Many different tribes came together at the site of modern-day Sacajawea State Park. Although to later explorers it seemed barren, this crucial trading site was also an important site for weddings and kinship exchanges.
The Vancouver Land Bridge site was rich with biodiversity prior to settlers’ advancement. Seated on a floodplain near Mt. St Helens, it was home to savanna, hardwood forest, and prairie. Today it is home to Ft Vancouver.
The site of Sacajawea State Park had been important for trade and kinship. The Corps of Discovery were led there by Sacajawea in 1805. By the 1870s, settlers took the land and local tribes were sent off to reservations.
The 1878 eclipse brought the Nez Perce War to public eye and allowed them to secretly return home from Canada. At the same time, the Bannock were cleared out of Malheur by the Army. Canneries profited from the eclipse.