The Native fishing community of Celilo Village was in crisis following World War II. Large dams, highway widening, and federal policies of termination and relocation conspired to remove Indian people from a place their families had occupied for more than 12,000 years. Stepping into this maelstrom were two women from very different backgrounds. Together, they forged an alliance that made a difference. Flora Thompson and her husband, Chief Tommy Thompson, fought to protect fish drying sheds, fishing stations, and Celilo Village homes for decades. Joining her was Martha Ferguson McKeown, a high school English teacher, community activist, and author of several local histories, including two children's stories about the Thompsons. Their intertwined stories, as told by historian Dr. Katrine Barber, illustrate the importance of cross-cultural alliances at a transformative period in Northwest history.
Ability Accommodation Information
This event provides the following accommodations:
- Handicap Accessible
This evening’s presentation will include a presentation of a short documentary by Oregon high school students Alan Zhou and Kyler Wang, Echo of Falling Water: The Destruction of Celilo Falls, followed by a conversation between author Katy Barber and Linda Meanus (Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation) about how Celilo is remembered.
Linda Meanus, Flora Thompson’s granddaughter and the protagonist of Martha Ferguson McKeown’s Linda’s Indian Home, is an educator whose sharing of knowledge on traditional Indian foods has engaged audiences across the American West.
Dr. Katy Barber is a professor of history at Portland State University where she teaches Western U.S., Pacific Northwest, and public history courses. Her previous books include Death of Celilo Falls and Nature's Northwest: The North Pacific Slope in the 20th Century (with William Robbins). Her most recent work, In Defense of Wyam: Native White Alliances and the Struggle for Celilo Village, is available for sale in the OHS Museum Store ($24.95).
This program is presented in partnership with the 2020 Everybody Reads program, a community reading project of Multnomah County Library that is made possible in part by gifts to The Library Foundation with an author appearance made possible by Literary Arts. The 2020 Everybody Reads book is the novel There There, by Tommy Orange.