Whitman College

Maxey Museum Fall Exhibit

"Celilo: Progress Versus Protest"

Curated by the staff at Tamástslikt Cultural Institute, Pendleton, Oregon

Celilo: Progress Versus Protest tells the story of the demise of Celilo Falls as a result of the construction of The Dalles Dam. “Your power will turn the darkness to dawn, roll on Columbia, roll on.” These Woody Guthrie lyrics celebrated the Columbia River’s potential to provide modern benefits to the public. In the name of progress, new dams were constructed on the Columbia to enhance flood control and irrigation, navigation and commerce, and provide affordable hydroelectric power. The lesser-known story about this period of river development is the opposition by biologists, sport and commercial fisherman, congressmen, citizens to be relocated, and importantly, tribes along the Columbia. Celilo Falls, a fishing area on the Columbia River east of the Cascades, was a vital fishing location for various tribes, especially the four tribes who reserved their treaty rights to fish there, the Yakama, Nez Perce, Umatilla, and Warm Springs. A cultural and spiritual center, Celilo was a place where Tribal men and women came to fish, trade, and interact, drawing indigenous people from around the Northwest and beyond. When the dam went up in 1957 and the falls fell silent, the tribes lost a piece of their heritage that only recently began to be understood in the context of the larger devastation of the Columbia River.

September 20 - December 8, 2017
Opening hours: Wednesday-Saturday, noon-4pm
Opening reception: September 28, 6pm-7pm

This exhibit is co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty. 

Friday, December 8, 2017 at 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Maxey Hall, Museum
173 Stanton, Walla Walla WA

Event Type

Arts, Exhibit, Education, Environmental & Sustainability, Government, Law & Activism


Faculty, Students, General Public


Academic, Humanities & Arts, Social Sciences, History, Politics, General & Interdisciplinary Studies, Race and Ethnic Studies


Free and open to the Public.


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