Preservation and Protection

When the gates of Grand Coulee Dam closed in 1942, the waters behind the dam rose up to four hundred feet. As the waters rose, portions of the heritage and culture of native peoples were entombed. Burial sites, gathering places, utensils and tools to support daily life, structures, and pictographs are examples of a way of being and heritage which now lay beneath the waters and sands of what is now called Lake Roosevelt. Indeed, the geologic and cultural history of the area is one of the richest in the United States.

Protecting and respecting cultural resources and archaeological sites in our area is vitally important. Says Bryan Flett, a member of the Spokane Tribe of Indians, “The issue goes far beyond the boundaries of our reservation. Spokane and Colville Confederated Tribal members hunted, fished and gathered throughout the Lake Roosevelt area and beyond. Agricultural and other upland areas are also affected.”

An archaeological resource is any material remains of past human life, activities and occupation. Both the Colville and Spokane tribes have cultural resource departments that manage these resources.