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10,000 Years Ago Hosted The Top Salmon Locations Today Excavated Middens of Salmon Bones | Archaeological Evidence Of Celilo Falls Dallas, Oregon
Horseshoe-shaped falls 14 miles upstream from present-day The Dalles, Oregon, were one of two important Indian fishing and trading places on the Columbia River, the other being Kettle Falls. Archaeological evidence, including excavated middens of salmon bones, suggests that humans fished at Celilo Falls and other locations between there and The Dalles for more than 10,000 years.
In geologic history, Celilo Falls was carved by the repeated floods that coursed through the Columbia River Gorge at the end of the last ice age, creating a roughly 15-mile stretch of chutes, rapids, eddies, small islands and, as a result, ideal fishing sites in the arid rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains. In native oral traditional stories, the falls are the remains of the dam built by the five Swallow Sisters to block salmon from returning upriver. Coyote tricked the sisters, destroyed the dam, and the resulting flood left the falls and the rocky, contorted riverbed downstream. As punishment for keeping salmon from the people, Coyote ordered swallows to fly up the river each spring to announce the return of salmon.
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