Native Wisdom

With the wind blowing hard, the lights flickering and the internet down, I’m reminded of the wisdom of Natives living for thousands of years in this land before the European invasion.

The snow paths that we had carved to cars and dog’s pasture are blown shut, and our Josephy Center, Davis Body Shop, and Vemco Fabrication are closed for the day. There are certainly others, but that’s what I got early from Facebook, before my internet went down. Read The Article

Fire–and another failure to listen to Indians

The June exhibit at the Josephy Center was about dams and fish. One of the many things I learned in researching and preparing that exhibit was the ways in which 19th and early 20th century scientists and government officials ignored Indian knowledge about the habits of salmon and all anadromous fish. The progressive white voices of the time—from roughly 1880 until 1938—submitted that Pacific salmon returned from the sea to spawn in any random stream or river that caught their swim. Natal streams were insignificant, and in any case we—progressive, scientific Americans—could better nature with hatcheries. We could more than make up for the tremendous numbers of salmon taken from the Columbia to feed the 60+ canneries that lined the river. So we built hatcheries—on the Columbia, the Willamette, and even, in the early 1900s, on the Grande Ronde and Minam rivers.

Alvin Josephy said on many occasions that the most damaging historical treatment of Indians was not the lies—although Read The Article