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Tsagiglalal - © Chris Carvalho/Lensjoy.com



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This view of the iconic combined petroglyph and pictograph "She Who Watches" shows more of the surrounding landscape than the closeup image.  The name Tsagiglalal (or Tsagaglalal) comes from the Wishram language, which is nearly extinct.  Her visage overlooks one of the Columbia River's most interesting places, now lost in the name of progress.  

At the time She Who Watches was carved, the undammed Columbia River flowed through a narrow basalt channel called Fivemile Rapids—only 100 yards wide, boiling up in a deafening roar.  An ancient volcanic eruption created a natural dam here for a short time, which the river overflowed and quickly scoured out the channel.  The gap was visible at low river levels, if one can call a flow of over 200,000 cubic feet per second "low."  

Indians stood on rickety wood platforms and plunged dip nets woven from bull kelp, cedar bark, whale sinew or nettle fiber into the water's chaos and pulled out huge salmon.  At times the run of fish was so prolific that each dip of the net brought up a fish.  

Now the river is wide and calm, tamed by The Dalles Dam.  The rapids flowed for the last time in March 1957.  We can bring back this sight, but it will take persistence and possibly a revolution in energy production that makes hydroelectric power obsolete.  To read more of the story of Celilo Falls and Fivemile Rapids, see George W. Aguilar's "Celilo Lives on Paper."


Info:  Chromira digital print of Ektachrome 100 35mm slide, Fuji Crystal Archive CD paper

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