Significant Events in the History of Celilo Falls

Oregon Historical Quarterly, Winter 2007 | Go to article overview

Significant Events in the History of Celilo Falls


compiled by the editors

25 million to 12 million years B.C.E. [Before the Common Era]: Massive lava flows create basalt formations of the Columbia Plateau.

16,000 to 12,000 B.C.E.: "Missoula floods" form distinctive channels and scablands of The Dalles-Celilo reach.

9300 to 8200 B.C.E.: Native people were harvesting salmon from the Columbia River at least as early as this time. *

7,300 B.C.E.: Tiicaminsh Uytpama Natitayt, also known as "the Ancient One" and "Kennewick Man," dies along the banks of the Columbia River.

1700 ca.: "Tsagiglalal" (She Who Watches) and other Columbia River rock art created.

1730 ca.: Cayuse and Nez Perce adopt the horse.

1770-1780: First epidemics of smallpox strike Mid-Columbia River Indian communities.

1792: British Captain Robert Gray explores the lower Columbia River and names it for his ship, the Columbia Rediva.

1805: Columbia Basin Native communities host the Lewis and Clark Expedition on its way to the Pacific Ocean.

1824: The Hudson's Bay Company fur trade operation establishes Fort Vancouver, relying on Indian alliances and labor.

1838: Methodist missionaries open a station at Wascopam (The Dalles).

1846: Britain cedes the Oregon Country to the United States after decades of joint occupation.

1848: The U.S. Congress creates the Oregon Territory bypassing the Oregon Territorial Act, which recognizes Indian rights to lands not yet ceded through treaty.

1850: The U.S. Congress passes the Oregon Donation Land Act, promoting American settlement of the Oregon Territory.

1853: The U.S. Congress creates Washington Territory, which became a state in 1889.

1855: Treaties signed by representatives of the U.S. government and of indigenous groups (who will become the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Yakama Indian Nation, and the Nez Perce Tribe) extinguish Native title to millions of acres while reserving small landholdings and specific rights, particularly having to do with fishing, hunting, and gathering outside of reservations.

1855 to 1858: Federal reservation policy and the discovery of gold in northeastern Washington spark "Plateau Indian Wars."

1859: Congress ratifies Mid-Columbia treaties and grants Oregon statehood.

1864: First salmon cannery on the Columbia River opens at Eagle Cliff in present day Wahkiakum County, Washington.

1865: Fraudulent "Huntington Treaty" supposedly cedes Warm Springs treaty rights to fish, hunt, and gather at usual and accustomed places off-reservation.

1873: For the first time, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) dynamites obstruction to navigation in the Columbia River.

1876: USACOE begins work on locks and canal to bypass rapids at The Cascades near present-day Bonneville Dam.

1877: The Nez Perce War is fought.

1879: The first fishwheel is built on the Columbia.

1883: Columbia River salmon harvest peaks, then begins century-long decline.

1887: Supreme Court of Washington Territory rules in U.S. v. Taylor that treaty Indians have a reserved right to cross private property in order to fish at usual and accustomed places.

Congress passes the Dawes Severalty Act, allotting reservation enrollees individual sections of land and allowing "surplus" lands to be liquidated, resulting in the transfer of approximately two-thirds of reservation lands to non-Native landowners.

1896: Seufert Brothers buys the first of its canneries at The Dalles. Cascades Canal, begun in 1878, is completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

1905: U.S. Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Winans upholds Yakama treaty fishing rights as "part of larger rights possessed by the Indians ... which were not much less necessary to the existence of the Indians than the atmosphere they breathed" (198 U. …

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