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Rock Island Rapids of the Columbia – Talk with William Layman and Randy Lewis

October 10, 2018 @ 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

While Edward Curtis’ mission was to document the lives of American Indians, Wenatchee’s own Columbia River Archaeological Society focused on a singular island, destined to disappear behind the Columbia’s first dam in 1931.  Rock Island rapids was one of the great fisheries of the Columbia – a place of deafening sound that shook you to the bone.  To Native Peoples, the island was and remains holy, made sacred by generations of Ancestors who traveled across the river’s swift channels to seek life-altering visions.

Join William Layman and Randy Lewis to watch Rock Island re-emerge before your eyes, through Layman’s use of photographs, maps and narratives that allow viewers to walk the island’s contours and see its many petroglyphs and other interesting island features. Lewis’ commentary will shed light on how Native Americans knew the island and how they regard it presently.  The rewards are great; offering new ground that gives regional residents, Indian and non-Indian alike, the ability to more deeply appreciate and inhabit this extraordinary river we call home.

This co-led presentation is designed to engage both heart and mind.

William Layman has actively been reflecting and contemplating the island, its rapids and petroglyphs since moving to Wenatchee in 1979. His research is informed by long-standing relationships with Native Elders, who through his work are able to better know the original free-flowing river.  In 2008 Layman co-curated WVMCC’s exhibit, River of Memory: The Everlasting Columbia which traveled throughout the Pacific Northwest and was featured by the Royal British Columbia Museum and the Washington State Historical Society.

Randy Lewis (Wenatchi/P’Squosa)  holds a vast storehouse of oral tradition that chronicles the stories of Indian people living in the Mid-Columbia region. Beyond, Lewis is a highly celebrated organizer and leader of Pacific Northwest tribes who for years has been at the forefront of speaking for and empowering larger PNW Indian communities. Randy’s words are often highly entertaining but beneath them resides a serious and caring heart that knows well the cultural trauma suffered by his people. The specific knowledge he shares about Rock Island reflects his close boyhood relationship with his teacher/grandfather, Jerome Miller, who fished the island’s banks and passed the knowledge and responsibility of Rock Island’s stories over to his grandson. Program is free and open to the public. A $5 donation is requested. Light refreshments will be provided along with a no-host wine bar.

Sponsored by: 


October 10, 2018
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center