Lessons from a Nez Perce elder

Proposed High Mountain Sheep Dam

Silas Whitman was in town this week, and the conversations were wide-ranging. The purpose of his visit was to speak to our current exhibit, “Dams, Fish, Controversy”—Jon Rombach’s had interviewed Si in researching the High Mountain Sheep Dam for the exhibit—and we were not disappointed. And the “wide-ranging” conversation was our dessert.

Si had been called on by Tribal officials at the time—in the 1960s—to follow the developments on that dam—and others. High Mountain Sheep was just one dam possibility for the Middle Snake. A competing project somewhat lower on the River put forward by Washington Public Power System argued that public power and their proposal should trump the private Pacific Northwest Power Company’s High Mountain Sheep project. Ironically, their competing project would be called the “Nez Perce Dam,“  and the “lake” behind High Mountain Sheep would be called “Imnaha.” (It’s hard now to imagine the mindset of the American power structure one and two Read The Article

What I forgot to say!

So last week I gave a little talk at the Hells Canyon Preservation Council’s Portland fundraising event on the Nez Perce in the Wallowa Country. Board Chair Pete Sandrock told me I had 30 minutes—and that he was a tough timekeeper!

There is no way to summarize the Nez Perce story in a half hour, so the job was to pick out some high points and connect them well enough so that newcomers to the subject would get something to whet appetites, and people with some knowledge of the business might get something new.
On the way home I kept thinking of high points I’d missed—and determined to send a message out apologizing and righting my wrongs. Alas, a week has gone by, and many of the “urgent” corrections have faded, but there are still a couple….
Alvin Josephy at war
Number one, I meant to mention how important I think Alvin Josephy’s wartime experience as a journalist in the
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