Tsagaglalal and Temani Pesh-wa
"She Who Watches" and "Written on Rock"
Gorge petroglyphs moved to place of honor
(Story excerpt from the Sunday, March 28, 2004 Oregonian Newspaper article by TERRY RICHARD)
Photo's by me...Steven Michael
Nearly a half-century ago, rising waters behind The Dalles Dam forever changed a wild stretch of the Columbia River, submerging salmon-rich Celilo Falls, the Long Narrows below it and hundreds of ancient sacred petroglyphs.
The surrounding lands long had been a gathering place for people from the Warm Springs, Yakama, Umatilla, Nez Perce and other tribes. Some lived there permanently, while thousands more visited seasonally to harvest spawning salmon, to practice their religion and to join the annual opportunity to trade and socialize.
The petroglyphs -- drawings that were chipped or ground into rock to depict tribal legends, hunting scenes and mysticism -- are evidence of these gatherings. One narrow slot just above the river had so many thousands of drawings that it was named Petroglyph Canyon.
But as the reservoir rose behind the new dam, most of these rocks were covered by water. A few were pried away and stored at the dam, perched against a wall of the fish ladder beneath roosting birds -- not a fitting home for what tribal elders consider sacred icons that provide a cultural connection between modern people and their ancestors.
A plan to give them a more fitting, permanent home took shape in 1996, and eight years later 43 petroglyph-covered rocks have been moved to Washington's Columbia Hills State Park.
Formerly called Horsethief Lake, the state park is indisputably the best place to see native petroglyphs in the Northwest. The park is also home to Tsagaglalal, "She Who Watches," one of the most famous rock images in North America.