Sponsored by Oregon Business

Getting straight on Celilo

| Print |  Email
Monday, January 01, 2007

Regarding the letter from James P. Miller, it appears that some myths regarding the Columbia River Indians refuse to die [LETTERS, DECEMBER]. I would point out the following information, most of it obtained from the records of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Indian Affairs while doing research for my book, Empty Nets: Indians, Dams and the Columbia River.

There has never been a “Celilo Tribe.” The small core of people who lived at the original Celilo Village were the Wy’am. The $26 million settlement was paid to the four treaty tribes as compensation for the loss of Celilo Falls as the premier fishing site that had provided the sole or major source of livelihood for hundreds of Indian families for centuries. By the time The Dalles Dam was built, the Celilo Village site had been squeezed to less than seven acres by the railroad, the Celilo Canal and the Columbia River Highway. There is no record of any compensation to the Indian residents.

In 1949 the Corps bought 34 acres south of the railroad (the current Celilo Village site). It built water and sewer systems, both now badly deteriorated, and 10 homes.

In 1950 Congress appropriated $210,000 to relocate permanent residents of Celilo. This did not cover the dozens of families who lived there six months or more every year and left only during winter months. Records are not clear as to the number of people compensated for destroyed houses. The records say about two dozen families still lived in the old village in 1955, when they were removed. Appraisals valued the majority of homes at $200-$800, while even modest replacement homes would cost $7,700. Some of the displaced Indians moved to the new Celilo Village, where they were housed in surplus Army tents. To say “the planning and compensation were coordinated by a commission that included members of the tribe” gives a distorted picture. The tribes negotiated for the settlement over loss of the fishing at Celilo. The rest was pretty well dictated by the government and reluctantly accepted by the Indians as the best they could get.

Roberta Ulrich


More Articles

Make the business case, governor

Linda Baker
Thursday, November 05, 2015
aoikatebrownthumbBY LINDA BAKER

Gov. Kate Brown delivered the keynote speech at the Associated Oregon Industries annual policy forum yesterday.  Speaking to a Republican-aligned audience of about 100 business and public policy leaders, the governor was out of her comfort zone.


The Shift to Community Health Care

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A conversation with Patrick Curran, CEO of CareOregon.



November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The world's second-largest wind energy project yields costs and benefits for a sheep-farming family in Eastern Oregon.


Insurance pulse: health care and Export-Import banks

Linda Baker
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
111715-healthcarelindathumbBY LINDA BAKER

The past month has been marked by upheaval in the health insurance markets. I also check in on clients of the Export-Import bank, a federal credit agency that subsidizes, and insures, foreign exports.


Reader Input: In or Out

October 2015
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The refugee crisis has put immigration and border issues on the front burner, in Europe and at home. In Oregon, attitudes toward illegal immigration haven’t changed dramatically since 2006.


Straight shooter

Linda Baker
Thursday, October 08, 2015
100815-bradleyBY LINDA BAKER

In an era dominated by self-promotion and marketing speak, John Bradley, CEO of R&H Construction, is a breath of fresh air.


OEN takes Portlandia route in new video

The Latest
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 3.27.58 PMBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Several Portland entrepreneurs make appearance in patently silly "The Dream of the Startup is Alive in Oregon" promo.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02