The Big River Cover.indd

 Peter Marbach’s book launch and lecture comes to Hood River at the Columbia Center for the Arts on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m.

“Healing The Big River — Salmon Dreams and the Columbia River Treaty,” combines the art of visual storytelling with passionate essays, according to a press release.

From the source, a tiny spring in the Canadian Rockies, to the sea, readers are guided on a journey back in time to the origins of the 1,243 mile Columbia and learn about the complicated history of the Columbia River Treaty.

Marbach, well known for his Gorge books and calendars, made repeated visits to places the length of NCh’i Wana, from the source to the mouth on the Pacific Ocean.

The photo essay has 12 contributing authors, a mix of leaders from first nations, tribes, and salmon recovery advocates. Each author writes about their relationship to the river and their hopes for a modernized treaty that honors indigenous input and starts the process to restore one of the of the greatest salmon runs the world has ever known.

“Nch’I Wana (Big River) represents the lifeblood of Indigenous peoples of the Northwest, providing bountiful salmon runs benefiting communities well beyond the Pacific Northwest. We have never given upon the vision to restore salmon runs above Grand Coulee Dam. This book is a testament of our tenacity to achieve this vision,” said Paul Lumley, Yakama Nation citizen, and director of the Nation American Youth Association, and former director of the Columbia River Inter Tribal Fish Commission.

Kerry Tymchuck, executive director of the Oregon Historical Society, said, “ Since time immemorial, the history of Oregon has been deeply connected with the history of the Columbia. Peter’s imagery, combined with compelling essays from individuals concerned about the river’s future, provides us a unique window into this critical moment in the history of the Columbia.”

Marbach called it “nothing short of a miracle that this dream came to fruition.”

“I am humbled by the coalition of powerful voices that agreed to share their stories. This is truly a collaborative effort,” he said. “I take no ownership other than shepherding the book out to the public,” said Marbach. “This is just the beginning of a long journey to bring about change, to right the wrongs of the past, and convince decision makers to do the right thing.”

Marbach said he is grateful for the project support from The Oregon Historical Society, The Grand Ronde, Upper Columbia United Tribes, Tamastslikt Cultural Institute, Whooshh Innovations, Brown Printing, Pro Photo Supply and the Ford Family Foundation.

Doors open for book signing at 6:30 p.m. A donation of $10 to support the Columbia Center for the Arts is suggested.

‘How About Now?’ From the foreword:

Excerpt from foreword by Bobbie Conner, executive director, Tamastslikt Cultural Institute, member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation

“The Tribes of the entire Columbia River do not seek to improve only their own lot.  You will find that in the essays in this book. Everyone — every species — benefits when the Big River and its tributary waters are cold, clean, sufficient, meandering, with adequate turbidity, and habitat. Who would want less than that? My personal prayer is that everyone, young and old, newcomers and old timers, from every country of origin wants what we want, a healthy, safe, and restored Big River for time immemorial. Specifically, I implore the leaders of both the United States and Canada to seize this incomparable opportunity to undo some of the damage done by previous generations of decision makers by incorporating into the Treaty process the knowledge and direction of Native peoples from the headwaters to the Pacific Ocean.

“We look at one another and wonder, when will these people who make important decisions about our lives, the life of the Big River, the future of our homeland — when will they realize there must be limits to the harm done to this lifeblood of our region? When will they embrace it as their own and find it in their hearts to be responsible to present and future generations?  When will they truly engage against the levels of toxicity supplied into the Big River? When?  How about now?”

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