COVID, Squalor Threaten Tribes In Indian Fishing Sites Along Columbia R

"LONE PINE IN-LIEU SITE, Wasco County, Oregon -- Indian fishing platforms cling precariously to the rocks, part of a way of life on the Columbia River persisting for more than 10,000 years.

The Dalles Dam looms just upstream, a concrete behemoth generating power that surges throughout the West. Yet, Indians living just across from this dam flocked on a recent winter day to a visitor from the Portland-based WAVE Foundation who was passing out donated generators. Fired with fossil fuel, the generators offered a coveted chance for a bit of electricity for Indians living in ramshackle trailers and makeshift shacks in this, one of the world centers of hydropower.

It didn’t have to be this way; back when Bonneville Dam (located about 50 miles downriver from The Dalles Dam) first was built, beginning in the 1930s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers carefully relocated the mostly white settlement of North Bonneville at a cost of $35 million. Yet, a 2013 review by the Corps’ Portland District found as many as 85 Indian families that lived on the banks of the Columbia before the Bonneville and The Dalles dams drowned their homes never received the replacement houses the Corps promised."

Lynda V. Mapes reports for the Seattle Times February 28, 2021.

Source: Seattle Times, 03/01/2021