Native People

For thousands of years Indian people of the Central Oregon area have had a tie to the land that has kept their spirituality intact. The early inhabitants were mobile foragers, hunting herds of large mammals that grazed the vast tundra grasslands. They developed close ties to the rivers and waterways that mark the Pacific Northwest. Most dwellings, even temporary ones, were erected along the edges of lakes, marshes and rivers to provide prime locations for hunting. Eventually, as the Indian people began to set up permanent villages, their economy diversified. They seasonally harvested fish (salmon was and still is a vital part of their life and diet), waterfowl, culturally important plants, and constructed more permanent dwellings called pit houses. The remains of some of these houses were investigated by archaeologists at Macks Canyon in the late 1960ís.
By 1855, increasing pressure from white settlers resulted in a treaty in which the Indian people ceded much of their homelands. The lands now known as the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon were reserved for their exclusive use. Indian culture and heritage is passed on from generation to generation through everyday life. Water is the key component to the Indian way of life for it is life-giving to all. Members of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs retain the right to fish seasonally along the Deschutes River as part of their cultural heritage. Today, members of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs can be seen dip-net fishing below Sherars Falls. In the fall you might watch as they scoop up some of the large Chinook and steelhead that are heading to the falls.