Why Celilo Falls is Important

For over 11,000 years, Celilo Falls (Wy-am) was a crucial hub of salmon fishing and commerce for Indian tribes around Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge. Ten times more water passed over Celilo Falls than passes over Niagara Falls today. A half-dozen tribes had permanent villages between the falls and where the city of The Dalles, Oregon now stands. As many as 5,000 people would gather to trade, feast, and participate in games and religious ceremonies.
Celilo was the oldest continuously inhabited community on the North American continent until March 10, 1957, when the falls and nearby settlements were submerged by the construction of The Dalles Dam. This ancient, sacred area was completely destroyed.
We are proud to share Richard's unique and sensitive photographs taken in 1956 at one of the last Celilo Falls tribal fishing ceremonies. Enjoy this rare opportunity to own a piece of history.