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

Western History, 1960-1980

I graduated from high school in 1960. We didn’t know where Vietnam was, and automatic draft deferments for college and the Peace Corps allowed me to skate by that evolving war easily until I turned 26, in 1968. By then, I was on Peace Corps staff, and, after Tet, fighting with only limited success to keep Volunteers in the field from being drafted. And fighting, without success, to keep the Peace Corps in Turkey amid the anti-American sentiments unleashed by Vietnam

Skip Royes was a few years younger.  He came out of high school in eastern Oregon when the Vietnam mill was gobbling up recent graduates and college students who hesitated. Skip went to Vietnam, where he apparently was “good at war,” and came home to a world of alcohol, drugs, alternative cultures, and madcap college. He quickly left the whirlwind for horses and solace in Snake River Country.

Pam Severson was a few years younger than Skip, restless in Read The Article