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Sea Lions Photo Gallery: A West Coast Eco-War
A fleet of doe-eyed whip smart sea lions is laying siege to the Pacific Northwest, wreaking havoc on surf breaks, fishing lines, and endangering salmon runs. Photograph by Ami Vitale

Photo: Umatilla Indian Reservation women

<<  Photo 6 of 16  >>

Native Americans from the Umatilla Indian Reservation get ready for their annual salmon ceremony in Pendleton, Oregon.

When the Dalles Dam was built on the Columbia in 1957, nearby Celilo Falls flooded, wiping out a way of life that had existed for thousands of years. In the spring and summer, native people would travel from all over the region to fish from scaffolds built above the falls. They cleaned and smoked the salmon, which provided them enough food for an entire winter. 

Festivals were held each spring to honor the first salmon caught and to give thanks to the Salmon King, said to live in the Pacific. Despite the disappearance of Celilo Falls, the salmon continue to play a central role in local Native American culture.

Photographer Ami Vitale

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