The relationship with the Yakama people, the salmon, the eel-like lamprey and the Willamete River was established in ancient time.
Wa'lúmt is the traditional Yakama word for the river. Willamette is post-contact pronunciation of the word Wa’lúmt. This is supported by historical accounts, linguistics, as well as testimony by atwai Louis Cloud U.S. v. Washington.
- 1839: Year of Census with many Yakamas (Klickitat band) recorded at the mouth of the Willamette. Many of the names in the census continue to be used by Yakamas.
- 1855: Kamiakin refers to his people at Willamette Valley during Treaty discussions.
- 1905: Year the Supreme Court ruled that any rights not explicitly extinguished by the treaty or a federal stature is considered to be "reserved" to the tribe (United States v. Winans).
- Present: Yakamas still fish at Willamette Falls, especially for eel-like lamprey for ceremonies and subsistence.
Click here for Yakama Nation Fish and Wildlife Committee eel/lamprey Harvest Permit information.