On October 7th at Chief Timothy Park near Clarkston, WA at the latest Confluence Story Gathering, Thomas Morning Owl (Umatilla tribe) noted there are indigenous people’s stories of massive floods going back to 14,000 years ago. While he didn’t elaborate, it would be very interesting to have these stories shared as first-hand accounts of the Ice Age and/or Bonneville Floods.
Confluence Story Gatherings are designed to elevate native voices in our understanding of the Columbia River system. This Confluence Story Gathering explored stories and perspectives from Nez Perce homelands, where a panel of indigenous thinkers and storytellers — Allen Pinkham, Sr. (Nez Perce), Thomas Morning Owl (Umatilla) and Jefferson Greene (Warm Springs) — shared their observations.
Despite the strong winds, rain and even hail, the stories prevailed.
Confluence Project is a community supported nonprofit that connects people to place through art and education. We work in collaboration with Northwest communities, tribes and celebrated artist Maya Lin to create reflective moments that can shape the future of the Columbia River system. We share stories of this river through six public art installations, educational programs, community engagement and a rich digital experience. The six projects span 438 miles from the mouth of the Columbia River to the gateway to Hell’s Canyon, with sites in both Oregon and Washington. These are “teachable places,” transformed and reimagined to explore the confluence of history, culture and ecology in our region. Each work references a passage from the Lewis and Clark journals as a snapshot in time, while comparing it with the deeper story.