In 1957 Celilo Falls, a fishery that was pivotal to the lives of many Native Americans along the Columbia River, was lost when it was flooded and destroyed by the construction of The Dalles Dam.
A new children’s book by Warm Springs Elder Linda Meanus captures those life-altering events from her perspective. The book, “My Name is LaMoosh,” will be published by Confluence and OSU Press in June.
The book can be preordered here.
Meanus grew up with her grandparents, Flora and Chief Tommy Thompson, near Celilo Falls, about 100 miles east of Portland. Her life was forever altered by the falls’ destruction, but she now uses her experiences to teach young people about the Indigenous ways of the Columbia River, inspired by her grandmother Flora, a longtime advocate for fishing rights and for Celilo Falls.
Intended for elementary school-aged readers to learn more about Native American history through a first-hand account, the book is also a reminder that Indigenous people continue to maintain a cultural connection to the land and river that gave them their identity, Meanus said.
“My Name is LaMoosh” includes fact boxes that provide historical, cultural and environmental context for Meanus’ personal story.
“It was an honor to do this book,” Meanus said. “People don’t know our history and I thought it was time to share an original story from the river, from a real historical site.”
The book is a collaboration between Confluence, a community-supported nonprofit connecting people to the history, culture and ecology of the Columbia River through Indigenous voices, as well as OSU Press, and Katy Barber, Portland State University professor of history. Meyer Memorial Trust provided funding for this project.