Umatilla, Walla Walla & Cayuse
Traditional Culture
  Who's Who
Since Time Immemorial
All My Relations
Camp Life & Seasonal Round
Horses, Trade, & Travel
Cultural Continuity
References Cited

  Contemporary Culture
  Sovereignty & Tribal Government
Arts and Artists
Recommended Web Sites

  Relationship with U.S.
  Lewis & Clark and the Early Fur Trade
Establishment of Fort Nez Perces
Life at Ft. Walla Walla
Missionaries and Early Settlers
Making Treaties
The Shrinking Reservation
References Cited

Ed Chapman at the Sweathouse
Maj. Lee Moorhouse. PH 36, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon, #M4285.

Chris Brigham outside his sweathouse

Umatilla River > Culture > Education
Pupils of the Umatilla Indian School
Maj. Lee Moorhouse. PH 36, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon, #M5461
The Umatilla, Walla Walla, and Cayuse people have come a long way since the Indian boarding school system. In the past, a western education was motivated by the U.S. government's project of forced assimilation. In the process, many Indian people lost the knowledge and practice of a long-standing way of life. Now, in addition to working hard to preserve their cultural lifeways, an education is seen as necessary and desirable and many tribal members find that they can return and contribute to their community in immeasurable ways.

Many young tribal members credit their involvement in Salmon Corps with strengthening their education and desire to learn and accomplish things for their homeland and the environment. Salmon Corps is an action program of the Earth Conservation Corps, six northwest tribes, and other partners. Started in 1994, Salmon Corps has been inspiring young Native American adults, age 18-25, to take responsibility for themselves and contribute to the revitalization of their communities. Its curriculum and salmon restoration activities combine traditional wisdom and native languages with modern science and technology. Visit their website for more information.

Many students trying to get a step ahead academically join Upward Bound for the summer. In this program, Indian youth from all over the northwest come together to strengthen their abilities in the basic humanities and sciences in preparation for higher education. Upward Bound helps qualified, low income local high school students prepare to become the first in their families to graduate from college.

image Dressed in their finest traditional ribbon
shirts and wing dresses for graduation day,

left to right, Nathaniel Enick,
Jalissa Dave, and Trevor Williams.

Head Start Graduating Class 2000,
Umatilla Indian Reservation



"I was heard and taught at the sweathouse, most of my education was around the sweathouse, about our people and how we lived. We never get to a good place on somebody else's good deeds. You have to make your own, that was our teaching, and you have to go out and help others. That's the way The Creator told mankind in the beginning so a lot of our people tried to live that way" (Lawrence Patrick: TCI Convocation 2000).

Today, the Confederated Tribes recognizes graduates at all levels of education, from high school and technical training to master's and PhD's, with an annual honor banquet ceremony.

Website Referral

Department of Education and Cultural Resources
This page belongs to the tribal government on the reservation page, but this is a direct link to information on higher and adult education, primary and secondary education, and scholarship and language programs.

The Salmon Corps, an action arm of the Earth Conservation Corps (ECC), began in 1994 with the goal of energizing Native American young adults in the Pacific Northwest to repair the disappearing salmon habitats in the region.

A Native Perspective on the School Reform Movement
By Raymond Reyes, Gonzaga University