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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 Park (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.

It has also been shown that rock art objects can be divided into two broad categories -- private and public. Those considered private were clearly intended for only the individual that created them. They tend to be small images located in protected settings out of the view of most passersby. Public images are large, located in prominent places, and often very colorful.


"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 pictograph is at the end of the Columbia Hills State Park guided trail walk.
[More]

Image, 2011, Pictograph, She Who Watches, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
"She Who Watches", Pictograph, Horsethief Lake Park (Columbia Hills State Park), Washington. Image taken October 15, 2011.


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.

"Tamani Pesh-wa" ...
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 ...
On the sign:

"The images you see here are ancient images respected and honored by the First People to inhabit the Columbia River Gorge and the surrounding uplands. These images were originally located at lower elevations in the Gorge and would have been covered by the reservoir behind The Dalles Dam - as were thousands of others. To preserve a sample of the images, these stones were removed from the walls of the Gorge and stored at The Dalles Dam for nearly 30 years. They have been placed here at the request of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and the Nez Perce Tribe, with assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bonneville Power Administration and Washington State Parks, to be shared for the benefit of all people as a tribute to all living and non-living things.

Please respect the sacred nature of the images and the rights of the First People as they practice their religious ceremonies at this site. Please do not disturb offerings left by First People or touch or make rubbings or casts of the images. Such activities can irreversibly damage the images. Also, because this site is intended to be a place of prayer, please treat this area as you would any other place of worship.

Federal law and tribal policy prohibit the disturbance or removal of archaeological resources from these lands, including these petroglyphs. Violators are subject to five years in prison and $250,000 fine. Surveillance is conducted.


Image, 2011, Petroglyph, Horsethief Lake Temani Pesh-wa Information Sign, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Information sign, Temani Pesh-wa Trail. Image taken September 28, 2011.
Image, 2011, Petroglyph, Horsethief Lake Journey of these Rock Images Sign, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Information sign, Journey of These Rock Images. Image taken September 28, 2011.
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.


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.

Image, 2011, Petroglyphs, Horsethief Lake Park, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
"Water Spirit" Petroglyph, Horsethief Lake Park (Columbia Hills State Park), Washington. Image taken September 28, 2011.
Image, 2011, Petroglyphs, Horsethief Lake Park, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Petroglyphs, Horsethief Lake Park (Columbia Hills State Park), Washington. Image taken September 28, 2011.
Image, 2011, Petroglyphs, Horsethief Lake Park, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Petroglyphs, Horsethief Lake Park (Columbia Hills State Park), Washington. Image taken September 28, 2011.
Image, 2011, Petroglyphs, Horsethief Lake Park, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Petroglyphs, Horsethief Lake Park (Columbia Hills State Park), Washington. Image taken September 28, 2011.
Image, 2011, Petroglyphs, Horsethief Lake Park, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Petroglyphs, Horsethief Lake Park (Columbia Hills State Park), Washington. Image taken September 28, 2011.
Image, 2011, Petroglyphs, Horsethief Lake Park, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Petroglyph, Horsethief Lake Park (Columbia Hills State Park), Washington. Image taken September 28, 2011.
Image, 2011, Petroglyphs, Horsethief Lake Park, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
"Speedis Owl" Petroglyph, Horsethief Lake Park (Columbia Hills State Park), Washington. Image taken September 28, 2011.
Image, 2011, Petroglyphs, Horsethief Lake Park, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Petroglyph, Horsethief Lake Park (Columbia Hills State Park), Washington. Image taken September 28, 2011.


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 rock with pictographs is displayed along the paved public viewing area. More can be viewed along the guided walk to "She Who Watches".
[More]


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.


2005 Visit ...

Image, 2005, Petroglyph, Horsethief Lake State Park, from the east, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
"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
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
"Speedis 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.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 24, 1805 ...
The first pitch of this falls [Celilo Falls] is 20 feet perpendicular, then passing thro' a narrow Chanel for 1 mile to a rapid of about 18 feet fall below which the water had no perceptable fall but verry rapid ...     It may be proper here to remark that from Some obstruction below, the cause of which we have not yet learned, the water in high fluds (which are in the Spring) rise <nearly> below these falls nearly to a leavel with the water above the falls; the marks of which can be plainly trac'd around the falls. at that Stage of the water the Salmon must pass up which abounds in Such great numbers above- below thos falls are Salmon trout and great numbers of the heads of a Species of trout Smaller than the Salmon. those fish they catch out of the Salmon Season, and are at this time in the act of burrying those which they had drid for winter food. ...    Capt Lewis and three men crossed the river and on the opposit Side to view the falls which he had not yet taken a full view of-     At 9 oClock a. m. I Set out with the party and proceeded on down a rapid Stream of about 400 yards wide at 2 1/2 miles the river widened ito a large bason to the Stard. Side on which there is five Lodges of Indians. here a tremendious <heigh> black rock Presented itself high and Steep appearing to choke up the river [the future Browns Island] nor could I See where the water passed further than the Current was drawn with great velocity to the Lard Side of this rock at which place I heard a great roreing. I landed at the Lodges and the natives went with me to the top of this rock which makes from the Stard. Side; from the top of which I could See the dificuelties we had to pass for Several miles below; at this place the water of this great river is compressed into a Chanel [the "Short Narrows" or Tenmile Rapids] between two rocks not exceeding forty five yards wide and continues for a 1/4 of a mile when it again widens to 200 yards and continues this width for about 2 miles when it is again intersepted by rocks. This obstruction in the river accounts for the water in high floods riseing to Such a hite at the last falls. The whole of the Current of this great river must at all Stages pass thro' this narrow chanel of 45 yards wide. as the portage of our canoes over this high rock would be impossible with our Strength, and the only danger in passing thro those narrows was the whorls and Swills arriseing from the Compression of the water, and which I thought (as also our principal watermen Peter Crusat) by good Stearing we could pass down Safe, accordingly I deturmined to pass through this place notwithstanding the horrid appearance of this agitated gut Swelling, boiling & whorling in every direction (which from the top of the rock did not appear as bad as when I was in it;[)] however we passed Safe to the astonishment of all the Inds: of the last Lodges who viewed us from the top of the rock [this high rock became Browns Island when the waters of Lake Celilo inundated the valley]. passed one Lodge below this rock and halted on the Stard. Side to view a verry bad place, the Current divided by 2 Islands of rocks the lower of them large and in the middle of the river, this place being verry bad I Sent by land all the men who could not Swim and Such articles as was most valuable to us Such as papers Guns & amunition, and proceeded down with the Canoes two at a time to a village of 20 wood housies in a Deep bend to the Stard. Side [area of Horsethief Butte and Horsethief Lake] below which a rugid black rock about <the> 20 feet hiter <of> than the Common high fluds of the river with Several dry Chanels which appeared to Choke the river up quite across; this I took to be the 2d falls or the place the nativs above call timm, The nativs of this village reived me verry kindly, one of whome envited me into his house, ...    I dispatched a Sufficent number of the good Swimers back for the 2 canoes above the last rapid and with 2 men walked down three miles to examine the river Over a bed of rocks, which the water at verry high fluds passes over, on those rocks I Saw Several large Scaffols on which the Indians dry fish; as this is out of Season the poles on which they dry those fish are tied up verry Securely in large bundles and put upon the Scaffolds, I counted 107 <Scaff> Stacks of dried pounded fish in different places on those rocks which must have contained 10,000 w. of neet fish, The evening being late I could not examine the river to my Satisfaction, the Chanel is narrow and compressed for about 2 miles [the "Long Narrows" or Fivemile Rapids], when it widens into a deep bason to the Stard. Side ["Big Eddy", today the location of Spearfish Lake], & again contracts into a narrow chanel divided by a rock [head of Threemile Rapids] I returned through a rockey open countrey infested with pole-cats to the village where I met with Capt. Lewis the two old Chiefs who accompanied us & the party & canoes who had all arrived Safe; the Canoes haveing taken in Some water at the last rapids. here we formed a Camp near the Village [near Horsethief Butte and Horsethief Lake] ...





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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: "American Indian Rock Art in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest", Oregon Archaeological Society, Winter 2008; Keyser, J.D., 1992, Indian Rock Art of the Columbia Plateau, University of Washington Press;

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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October 2011