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


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Martha Franklin
The Word Tamástslikt

Umatilla River > Culture
Náama Pawáta - "We Will Be"

Three elder women at Tamástslikt Cultural Institute (left to right):
Theresa Eagle, Cecelia Bearchum, Leah Connert
Photo courtesy of Tamastslikt Cultural Institute.
We, the Natítayt, will survive. We will exercise our national sovereignty and preserve our cultural lifeways. We will live in balance with the land and use our natural resources as dictated by our traditional teachings. We will provide for the future well being of our people. We will acknowledge the wisdom of our elders and spiritual leaders. We will accept responsibility for our actions realizing that we are accountable to the Creator. As long as the earth shall last, there will be life. Our life is the land. (This statement is displayed at the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute.)
Sunset near Pendleton, Oregon
S. Thompson photo

In this Culture Section you will be introduced to the world of the Umatilla, Walla Walla and Cayuse people. As you tour along you will learn about their world during the days before Europeans arrived and changed their age-old lifeway forever. You'll also learn about the lasting qualities that characterize these people of the south-central Plateau within the topics included under Culture - about family life and the life of all things through the seasons, about religion, and trade and travel - told through the stories that hold the culture together.

The many changes that accompanied the arrival of traders and trappers, are included within the section called U.S. Remember to think about the story from the point of view of these Columbia River people. How did they see their lives change after the arrival of traders, missionaries, treaty commissioners and agents, settlers, and the American military? Despite the devastation brought by these various groups, whether intentionally or due to uncontrollable circumstances, the Umatilla, Walla Walla, and Cayuse people have survived and will continue to do so. The stories told here will help you understand a very different perspective on history and culture from the one taught in schools. Keep your mind open, ask questions, and explore the world of these people through their eyes.

Contemporary culture, including artists, education, and issues of sovereignty are included with the section called Native American.

background: Lewis & Clark 1806, adapted from Moulton, 1983