Celilo honors falls’ memory

By KATHY GRAY

The Dalles Chronicle

March 10, 2007

Remembering Celilo Falls takes more than a village, and this weekend Celilo Village will fill with visitors come to commemorate the falls’ legacy.

For centuries uncounted, Celilo Falls boiled and foamed through a narrow, twisting descent. As the huge salmon battled their way up from the ocean, or down from spawning grounds, and through the seething waters, native fishermen waited atop platforms with dip nets to capture the river’s wealth.

Fifty years ago this Saturday, the raging falls came to an end, submerged beneath the backwaters of The Dalles Dam, 10 miles downriver.

Celilo Village residents, tribal dignitaries and government officials from afar will honor the memory of Celilo Falls with events both Saturday and Sunday.

Celilo legacy events will include solemn ceremonies, traditional feasts, a powwow and exhibits telling the story of the falls. Films of the falls will be held at Celilo Park on the riverfront. Traditional salmon dinners are planned both days, and food vendors will also make traditional foods available.

Wy-am Chief Olsen Meanus Jr. invites the public to all events both days.

“A lot of people talk about the falls, non-Indian and Indian alike,” said Meanus, chief for the past two years following his grandfather, Chief Howard Jim.

At 47, Meanus is a few years too young to remember the falls himself, but grew up on its stories.

“(The elders) talk about the falls — the experience, the meaning, the feeling of how it was to fish the falls,” Meanus said. “Everything I have experienced through their stories.”

Those who do remember the falls recall the suspended trams that pulled the fishermen across to the islands, but before the tram lines, they crossed the treacherous waters on heavy, dugout canoes. So Celilo Legacy ceremonies start Saturday with a canoe ceremony, where Meanus will greet the Puyallup canoe on the banks of the Columbia. A number of other Pacific Northwest tribes will also participate in the canoe ceremony.

“We’ll welcome them here to the land and then have traditional opening ceremonies,” Meanus noted.

The Wash’ut service at 10 a.m. is the official opening ceremony, both days.

Silent films and slide shows portraying the falls and its people will run throughout both days as part of the celebration.

“We’re hoping that a lot of the pictures, displays and films will spark the memories of our elders,” said Bobby Begay, also a grandson of the late Chief Howard Jim. Begay is a coordinator of the event and the preceding planning process, which included many of the village residents, as well as representatives from surrounding tribes.

Begay also extended his welcome to weekend visitors.

Traditional displays will be featured at the WaNaPa Village at the in-lieu fishing site at Celilo Park.

“It’s an educational village,” explained Begay.

Traditional ways of cooking salmon, creating nets, making tule nets and stories of Coyote legends are among the events planned at the park.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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