Environmental History 
of the Spokane River

Indigenous Peoples

As a disclaimer, this page was put together by Gonzaga students who are not indigenous natives nor members of any tribe. This page is meant to inform the public of the historical importance of the Spokane River for indigenous peoples. By no means do we wish to speak for other cultural groups, but wish to present information from other public history sources.

We believe that historically, the relationship of the indigenous peoples to their surrounding environment--specifically Spokane Falls-- displayed not only the integral role of the environment to provide cultural and spiritual inspiration, but also the environment's importance to the everyday lives of humans.

Set to pictures and music, Coeur d’Alene tribal elder Lawrence Aripa tells three Spokane River coyote creation stories.

"In earlier times, the Spokane Tribe lived on, protected, and respected over 3 million acres of land. Tribal members fished the Spokane River, the Columbia River, and utilized the grand Spokane Falls as a gathering place of family and friends. The Spokanes lived along the river in three bands known as the Upper, Middle and Lower Spokane Indians. Traditional campsites were lived in depending upon the Seasons of the year."

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