Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Petroglyphs and Pictographs ... Horsethief Butte, Washington"
Includes ... Petroglyphs ... Pictographs ... "Tamani Pesh-wa" ... "She Who Watches" ... "Tsagaglalal" ("Tsagaglal") ... Horsethief Butte ... Horsethief Lake State Park ... Columbia Hills State Park ...
Image, 2011, Petroglyphs, Horsethief Lake Park, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Petroglyphs, Horsethief Lake (Columbia Hills State Park), Washington. Image taken October 15, 2011.


Petroglyphs and Pictographs ...
Native American rock art is of two types, "petroglyphs" and "pictographs". Petroglyphs are images carved into the rock surface. Pictographs are images painted on the rock. There are a few examples of a combination of the two.
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Along the Columbia ...
Archaeological studies show the area from The Dalles, Oregon to Pasco, Washington, attracted vast numbers of tribal people from around the West who came to fish, socialize, and trade. During salmon migrations this area attracted thousands. These tribal groups believed in a connection with their environment and the spirit world existed within the basalt rock features. Petroglyphs and pictographs were created along the massive basalt walls of the rivers and canyons. More than 160 rock art sites have been found in this lower Columbia area, with nearly 90 of them being along the Columbia River between The Dalles and Pasco, with other large concentrations along the middle and lower Deschutes River, and scattered sites in the Yakima and John Day river drainages.
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Tamani Pesh-wa ("Written on the Rock") ...
In 1957 when The Dalles Dam was completed and the waters of Lake Celilo were rising, the U.S. Government removed a few ancient Indian petroglyphs from the walls of a canyon downstream of Celilo. This canyon carried the Indian name of "Tamani Pesh-Wa" or "Written on the Rock". Locals called it "Petroglyph Canyon". In 2003 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cleaned and restored the petroglyphs and moved them to the then-called Horsethief Lake State Park, now called Columbia Hills State Park. Today the collection of over 40 petroglyphs and pictographs is bordered by a paved trail for easy public viewing, and is less than a mile from the flooded Petroglyph Canyon. More petroglyphs and pictographs, including "Tsagaglalal" ("She Who Watches") can be seen nearby when guided walks are being led. The carvings and paintings are sacred to the local Native Americans but also open to the public "for the benefit of all people as a tribute to all living and non-living things".

Tamani Pesh-wa Trail ...
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Image, 2011, Petroglyph, Horsethief Lake Temani Pesh-wa Information Sign, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Petroglyphs, Horsethief Lake Park (Columbia Hills State Park), Washington. Image taken September 28, 2011.


"Tsagaglalal" ... "She Who Watches" ...
One of the finest examples of Native American public rock art is "Tsagaglalal", also known as "She Who Watches". This spectacular petroglyph is at the end of the Columbia Hills State Park guided trail walk.
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Image, 2011, Petroglyph, She Who Watches, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
"She Who Watches", Petroglyph, Horsethief Lake (Columbia Hills State Park), Washington. Image taken October 15, 2011.
Image, 2011, Petroglyph, She Who Watches, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
"She Who Watches", Petroglyph, Horsethief Lake (Columbia Hills State Park), Washington. Image taken October 15, 2011.


Petroglyphs ...
Petroglyphs are images carved into the rock surface, and were formed through pecking, or scratching, a rock face. By scratching a rock in this manner the weathered surface, or patina, of a rock face is removed to show a lighter layer below. This action would cause the image to stand out from the rest of the rock's surface. Many petroglyphs from the now submerged Petroglyph Canyon are on display along the "Tamani Pesh-wa Trail", an boardwalk trail created to view the petroglyphs.
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Image, 2005, Petroglyph, Horsethief Lake State Park, from the east, click to enlarge
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"Water Spirit" Petroglyph, Horsethief Lake Park (Columbia Hills State Park), Washington. Image taken June 4, 2005.
Image, 2005, Petroglyph, Horsethief Lake State Park, from the east, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Petroglyphs, Horsethief Lake Park (Columbia Hills State Park), Washington. Image taken June 4, 2005.
Image, 2005, Petroglyph, Horsethief Lake State Park, from the east, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Petroglyphs, Horsethief Lake Park (Columbia Hills State Park), Washington. Image taken June 4, 2005.
Image, 2005, Petroglyph, Horsethief Lake State Park, from the east, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
"Spedis Owl" Petroglyph, Horsethief Lake Park (Columbia Hills State Park), Washington. Image taken June 4, 2005.
Image, 2005, Petroglyph, Horsethief Lake State Park, from the east, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Petroglyphs, Horsethief Lake Park (Columbia Hills State Park), Washington. Image taken June 4, 2005.


Pictographs ...
Pictographs are images painted on the rock involving the use of colored pigments. According to "American Indian Rock Art in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest" (2008), the pigments used in Oregon and Washington were primarily red, black, and white. To a lesser extent yellow and green pigments were also used. The reds, oranges and yellows came from local deposits of iron oxides (hematite and limonite). Black came from mostly coal, while white came from certain clay deposits. Green and blue-green pigments originated from copper oxide. Pigments were first ground into powder and then mixed with various "binding" agents (water, urine, saliva, blood, eggs, fats, plant juices, etc.). They were then painted upon the rock face with fingers, or tools such as improvised animal hair brushes, sticks or twigs. Research indicates that red and white pigments were used for their spiritual significance. Red pigment represented blood, or life giving forces. Whereas white, associated with the whiteness of bones, was considered to represent death or, possibly, the spirit realm. One pictograph, originally from Miller Island, can be seen on the "Tamani Pesh-wa Trail". Many others can be seen on the guided trail to "Tsagaglalal" ("She Who Watches").
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Image, 2011, Pictographs, Horsethief Lake Park, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Pictograph block which was removed from Miller Island and now on display at Horsethief Lake Park (Columbia Hills State Park), Washington. Image taken October 15, 2011.
Image, 2011, Horsethief Butte, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Pictographs, Red, White, Black, Horsethief Lake Park (Columbia Hills State Park), Washington. Seen on the guided trail to "Tsagaglalal" ("She Who Watches"). Image taken October 15, 2011.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 24, 1805 ...




Columbia PlateauReturn to
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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources:    See Petroglyphs and Pictographs;   

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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December 2017