LEWISTON, Idaho – Three programs will be part of an exhibit that examines the regional dams and salmon controversy, all at the Lewis-Clark State College Center for Arts & History, located at 415 Main St. in Lewiston.
The exhibit, called DAMS.FISH.CONTROVERSY, runs through June 22 at the Center. The exhibit looks at the dam system development on the Columbia and Snake rivers for the past 60-plus years and the effect they have had on Nez Perce and Wallowa tribal cultures and fishing. The exhibit was originally developed by the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute on the Umatilla Reservation in Pendleton, Ore., and the Josephy Center for Arts & Culture in Joseph, Ore. The exhibit features a section on Celilo Falls and the dam at The Dalles that flooded those falls in 1957. It also provides contrasting stories of economic and energy gains with the losses of fish and Indian culture, and protests against dam building.
The first program is “Confluence Project Story Gathering,” which will be held on May 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Center. The program features first-person story telling from an Indigenous point of view on understanding histories, cultures, environments, and how the people and the places on the Columbia River system are interconnected.
The second program is May 30 at 6 p.m. and features Nez Perce fishery biologists Lora Tennant and Brian Simmons. They will discuss how the Imnaha salmon and steelhead fare as they migrate through the dam systems. Their talk is called “The Oregon Emigrant Trail, Imnaha Smolt Version: Navigating the Imnaha and Beyond.”
“Hydro Dams History and Issues in Nez Perce Treaty Lands and Watersheds” will be the final program and will be held June 6 at 5 p.m. Nez Perce Tribal elder Silas Whitman will talk about culture, salmon and the Snake River dams, with special attention to one dam that did not get built, the Wallowa, and speculation on proposed plans to build that dam.
The exhibit and programming are sponsored by the LCSC Social Sciences Division with grant funding from the Idaho Humanities Council and US Bank. The program partner is the Confluence Project.
Open Tuesday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Center features free admission but donations are welcome. For more information about the exhibitions or to schedule a docent tour call 208-792-2447.