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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wonder of the World

On June 13, 1940, ten thousand Native Americans gathered on the Columbia River at Kettle Falls for a three-day Ceremony of Tears to mark the end of their way of life.

Located near the Canadian border, Kettle Falls ( Shonitkwu in Salish language) was second only to Celilo Falls as a salmon fishing and gathering place along the Columbia. In June 1940, these ancestral fishing grounds were about to be flooded by what was at the time described as "The Eighth Wonder of the World"--the Grand Coulee Dam. The U.S. Department of Interior had ordered the closure of the Kettle Falls fishery; the Spokane and Colville Confederated Tribes had weeks earlier been forced to leave their homes.

Last month, the Spokane Tribe student choir joined the Spokane Symphony in a dramatic presentation to illustrate values of the river in pushing young salmon out to the sea, asking the river to give us life and carry us through life, and hope that the river in the future will bring salmon back.

[Thanks to Historylink and Indian Country Today.]


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