Picture of Wanapum Root Festival
Courtesy of the National Geographic – Lewis and Clark Expedition
The Wanapum lived above the confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers, a prime
salmon-fishing area in what is now central eastern Oregon. Crowds of Wanapum
turned out on the riverbanks to watch the arrival of the white strangers. A
group of 200 Wanapum and other Indians later strode into the expedition camp,
singing chants of greeting and banging on drums.
Lewis and Clark spent two days with the Wanapum, entertaining them and being
entertained by their chief, Cutssahnem. The time gave Clark ample opportunity
to write extensive descriptions of the houses, clothing and physical
characteristics of the people they met here.
Today, the Wanapum community is based at Priest Rapids, Washington
From the Expedition Journal
“they have pleanty of beeds Copper & brass trinkets, about them which they Sign to us that they got them from Some tradors on a River to the North of this place.”