Snake River-Palouse Indian Exhibit

SUSTAINABILITY PRINCIPLES AND SNAKE RIVER-PALOUSE NATIVE PEOPLES

FOR THE SNAKE RIVER-PALOUSE INDIANS and other native peoples of the Northwest’s Columbia Plateau, foundational beliefs have long characterized a common life throughout a vast region of geographic diversity and cultural complexity. Such prominent nineteenth century Plateau spiritual leaders as Thomash among the Snake River-Palouse, Kotaiaqan among the Yakama, and the Wanapum prophet Smohalla expressed these beliefs through family traditions, sacred Wáshat ceremonies, and in meetings with Indian agency officials. (The term Wáshat is derived from the Sahaptin word for “dance.”) Elders’ teachings on ceremonial traditions, tribal mythology, and ecological understandings relate to objects and core cultural values depicted here.