Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The Confluence Project Story Circles at Sacagawea State Park
The shape of their drums is echoed in the seven "story circles" that Maya Lin created at this site, the confluence of the Snake and the Columbia River, two mighty waterways.
Indians gathered here in large numbers for centuries, for trade, story telling and for ritual celebration. This is site no. 4 to be dedicated in the Confluence Project. Maya Lin was invited by Native leaders in 2002 to commemorate the loss of Native cultures as a result of the Lewis and Clark expedition because they were so impressed by her work at the Vietnam Memorial.
At other sites, Lin has been quoting from the Lewis and Clark journals that meticulously noted flora and fauna as they progressed down the Columbia, as well as the villages and tribes that they encountered. The extinction of much of what they say, including Indians, villages, and the natural world, is a theme of the Conflucene Project. At this site, Lin focused on the Native traditions.
She was intrigued that when L and C came to this Confluence they spent only a short day or two here, whereas, for native peoples it was a site of great importance and they tribes spent months here.
Each Circle has a different reference: welcoming, salmon, a longhouse, rivers and the dams, mythci time, trade and last what was called the Seasonal Round, all the different animals and animals that were here. I took pictures of all the circles, but the real experience is being there, seeing their relationship to one another, our relationship to them, and our relationship to the past, present and future of the river and the land.
It was a very moving experience.