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Native Fishers: 1941

Native Fishers: 1941

September 1941. "Indians fishing for salmon at Celilo Falls, Oregon. At the present time Indians have by treaty exclusive right for fishing in Columbia River, which is adjacent to their reservation. This right is now being contested in lawsuits." Medium format acetate negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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35 second newsreel footage

Embedded in the following Wikipedia entry is a 35 second newsreel footage of this very scene, taken in 1956.

Re: Native

I’m 63 and live in Canada, and the official word for Indigenous people has evolved over my lifetime, as follows: Indian, Native, Aboriginal, First Nations, Indigenous. (In French in Quebec it’s autochtone, “from the earth.”) I wonder what it will be next.

What a Coincidence!

Today I was driving West on I-84, along The Columbia River. I saw a sign for Celilo Falls. I looked out at the bloated river behind the Dalles dam. I wondered what the falls looked before inundation. I get to the hotel, eat a meal, and check my email. And I see this photo. First, I thought, what a great coincidence. But soon I was sad at the loss of a way of life and sustenance for the indigenous population.

Medium format

I always wonder what size the negative is when it is 2x3 or 3 1/4x4 1/4 it would be interesting to know.

[4x3. - Dave]

I think I see my man

The demurely-coifed lady in heels and hosiery and practical coat is certainly out of place, but she's got her eye on something. Or someone.

A river runs through it

That’s a fantastic photo, just a hive of activity, with an exciting waterway and a dramatic backdrop. I see a fish in the big net on the right, and I think I see a guy up to his waist in the water, just left of the very center of the picture. Myself, I would feel somewhat precarious on those platforms, but no one has invited me along.

No More

Sadly, these beautiful falls are now long gone; drowned by the building of the Dalles Dam.

About that footbridge

My guess is that the Indians constructed it for the use of the folks contesting their exclusive right to fish.

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