Death of Celilo Falls
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: University of Washington Press
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I grew up in Portland, Oregon, at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers, where I learned in grade school to sing Woody Guthrie’s anthem to a rapidly changing Columbia. He wrote Roll On, Columbia, Roll On in 1941, along with twenty-five other songs, when he was briefly employed by the Bonneville Power ...
Introduction: Dam Dedications
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Enormous fishing nets and bright blue Navy flags covered the walls of the junior high school gymnasium in The Dalles, Oregon, on a springtime Saturday afternoon in 1957. The navigational wheel of a stern-wheeler hid the basketball hoop at one end, transforming the gym into the site of one of the town’s largest ...
1. Village and Town: The Communities Transformed by The Dalles Dam
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This is a story of two communities located twelve miles apart on the Oregon banks of the mid–Columbia River and the ways in which a federal dam transformed them. The ancient Native fishing community of Celilo Village existed near the treacherous Celilo Falls and Long Narrows for millennia as a hub in a regional ...
2. A Riverscape as Contested Space
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On any given sunny mid-June Saturday, the rock outcroppings at Celilo Falls teemed with fishers who sat two to a platform. One man sat on an upturned fruit crate, a rope tied around his waist to guide a rescuer to him should he fall off the slippery ledge, a half-empty Pepsi bottle at his right foot, his hands loosely ...
3. Debating the Dam: "A Serious Breach of Good Faith"
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Colonel Ralph Tudor stood before a crowd of The Dalles residents and local Indians in September 1945 and promised that, after contributing to victory in World War II, the rivers of the West would now be “utilized for peace time purposes.”3 Tudor was the chief engineer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District, ...
4. Narratives of Progress: Development and Population Growth at The Dalles
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Men sporting hats that read “Best dam town in the U.S.A.” mingled over a dinner of salmon and cherry pie at The Dalles Elk Temple in the spring of 1952. Earlier they had watched as H. B. Elder from the Army Corps of Engineers orchestrated the first blast in the construction of The Dalles Dam, a “Hiroshima-like” eruption ...
5. Relocation and the Persistance of Celilo Village: "We Don't 'Come From' Anywhere"
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Gerald Foster wrote to Indian agent Clarence Davis in 1946 to find out whether enough people flocked to Celilo Village during the annual spring First Salmon ceremony to justify bringing in a small carnival with two rides and ten concessions. Newspaper articles suggested smaller crowds, ...
6. Negotiating Values: Settlement and Final Compensation
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The relocation of Celilo Village residents was only one issue regarding a Native geography that the Army Corps had to negotiate. The inundation of the fishing sites at the falls also required compensation. The Celilo settlement was complicated by intertribal conflict that the Army Corps negotiators often exploited. ...
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Many of the Indians who fished at Celilo prayed at a large stone they called Skuch-pa. They filled a naturally occurring hole in this rock with mud, small rocks, and grasses to assure good weather before they ventured out to their scaffolds. One spring morning in 1953, Tommy Thompson was dismayed to find the stone ...
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Publication Year: 2005