drowned world


Story Circles, a piece of Maya Lin’s Confluence Project, was recently dedicated at Sacajawea State Park. The park looks out on the confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers.

The pics below were taken on September 4, 2010.

Understate much? All seven circles are in this photograph:


A river runs by it. Or rather a slackwater lake. In the background, the Columbia. Offstage left, the Snake. This circle is engraved with the names of the various peoples who once gathered here to trade, celebrate, and socialize.


The bounty of nature through the seasons. Food, shelter, clothing.


Trade goods. The real economy.


The seeming crowd favorite, and mine as well. “Coyote said: I am leaving you. I am going back toward the sunrise, but I leave salmon for you. Every year they will come up this river.”

If I’ve done this right, all photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

All photos by Anne Kenny Chapman

Article and photo gallery on the dedication, from the Tri-City Herald.

It should be pointed out why Maya Lin began this project. When the subject was floated around of a commemoration of the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation asserted that there was only one person whom they would support for the task. Others soon followed suit.


10 Responses to “drowned world”

  1. artemis54 Says:


  2. sisdevore Says:

    Hey, I’m 56 today, and nature take note in being one of the dreariest fucking days ever.

  3. cometman Says:

    Very nice. Very understated but I think that makes it more poignant. With no huge monument on a site that was once very important for First Nations, it makes you stop and consider where those people have gone.

    Very encouraging in general to hear the news of what First Nation people are up to out West, especially their efforts regarding salmon and environmental preservation. Just checked the Nov ballot yesterday and in this neck of the woods there is yet another ballot initiative to build a goddamned casino. It’s in conjunction with First nation people-not sure if it would actually be built on tribal lands. I think they want to put it on an old horsetrack. Similar casino initiatives have been voted down 3 or 4 times in the last 8 years or so but the developers just won’t give up until one of them passes. I’m sure there is talk of casinos out your way too – I know there was when I lived out there. But here that’s the only thing we ever here about in conjunction with First Nations.

    • artemis54 Says:

      There are plenty of casinos – although a little south, the Winnimem (who recently visited New Zealand to visit their salmon) refuse to build one on moral grounds.

      The Yakama have one. I think it makes them quite a bit of money. I’ve never been in it but if it is like the others, it is full of the poorest of the poor, people who don’t need to be flushing money down the toilet if ever there were any. Then again, the state advertises its lottery all the time to take advantage of the same people. “A tax on people who don’t understand math.” So I don’t really fault the Indians for getting in on the deal. Personally I find it appalling that the state spends money encouraging people to gamble.

      Both these developments have killed horse racing.

      • cometman Says:

        I don’t have anything against casinos on principle – I like gambling sometimes and I used to go to the Tulalip casino fairly often when it first opened up. But it was small with just a few blackjack tables and roulette wheels and built on actual tribal land – it didn’t used to look like this with a big hotel and resort amenities. Then they built that huge Muckleshoot casino and several others. At some point it stops being about the tribes and all about the developers using the tribes for their own gain. Drove through a reservation area in WA once and judging by the condition of the houses i saw, the casinos hadn’t helped out too many people. I don’t think you can tell the tribes they can’t have a casino and I don’t fault them at all if they want to build on small casinos on tribal land. But that just isn’t what’s happening anymore – the trend seems to be to get a huge resort casino in as many areas as possible. The shortsightedness of it all is mind boggling.

      • cometman Says:

        And BTW, speaking of horse racing, how is Emerald Downs doing these days? Used to go there quite a bit. All the tracks out this way are of course trying to get slots and casinos built to somehow “save” horseracing.

        • artemis54 Says:

          It seems to be doing well. Long season. I have never been there, although my mom and I hit the daily double on the Kentucky Derby once at the old Playfair. We hit four more in succession and had quite a pile developing until all the relatives started demanding that we buy lunch, drinks, etc.

          Yakima Meadows and Longacres in Spokane are long since closed. My dad’s old stomping grounds.

          Somehow a scratch n sniff lotto ticket just isn’t the same.

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