My strength is from the fish; my blood is from the fish, from the roots and berries. The fish and game are the essence of my life. I was not brought from a foreign country and did not come here. I was put here by the Creator. —Chief Weninock, Yakama, 1915

Spirit of the Salmon
– Water, Culture, and Justice
in the Columbia Watershed
September 25-26, 2017

Registration opens soon!
Organized in partnership with the tribes of the
Columbia River

  • Learn about tribal culture and spirituality,
  • see first-hand how climate change and pollution are affecting the Pacific Northwest’s largest watershed—the Columbia River Watershed, and tribal life-ways and treaties, and
  • experience hopeful models for addressing environmental injustice.

Environmental Justice Immersion Day 1
Our exploration begins at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, January 25th at Menucha Conference Center where we will learn from tribal members about tribal sovereignty, treaties and how historic neglect and wrongs are being addressed. We will journey from Menucha to Cascades Locks where we will see tribal fishing platforms, view spawning salmon, and hear the story of how in recent history, tribal leaders have prevented the extinction of salmon runs.  A short river cruise will give us an intimate look at the river with narration from Danny Martinez of the Warm Springs Tribe, who maintains a traditional dip-net fishing platform in Cascade Locks. After a brief stop at the site of Oregon’s first oil train spill, we will visit one of the longest inhabited places of North America, Celilo Village near the now silenced Celilo Falls.  Learn about the impact of the loss of Celilo Falls in 1959 to the Dallas Dam, efforts to right the wrongs, and the First Foods approach to natural resource management of the Umatilla Tribes. We will cap the day with a salmon feast.

Environmental Justice Immersion Day 2
On Tuesday, January 26th, the morning session will start with dialogue and an interfaith panel on the “Doctrine of Discovery” focused on what repudiating this 15th-century justification for the subjugation of non-Christian people has meant for current day relationships with Native Americans. Next, we will learn about traditional dip-nets and fishing in Cascade locks. A prayer vigil or direct action will demonstrate solidarity with the Columbia River Tribes and their issues, capped by a celebratory pow-wow. We will return to Menucha by 4:00 p.m.

The culturally and spiritually rooted efforts of the Columbia River Tribes to protect runs of salmon is largely the reason the Columbia River still enjoys salmon runs.  Environmental challenges to the river from pollution, development and climate change are becoming more severe. Over half of original salmon habitat is blocked by dams. However, the voices of the tribes are being heard, and are stronger than ever. Innovative partnerships to restore the river among tribes, local communities, farmers and ranchers, environmental groups and agencies are making a difference, and there is much to learn from these efforts in restoring our own watersheds.

Participate in this two-day tour for an excellent preparation for conversations that will take place at BLESSING THE WATERS OF LIFE: Justice and Healing for our Watersheds, September 26-29, 2017, also at Menucha.

Download NEW full-page flyer to post at your church or school.