Plateau Indian Sacred Places
confederated tribes of the colville reservation nezperce tribe okanogan tribe chelan tribe
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 Plateau Indian Sacred Places

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Plateau Indian Sacred Places

Red Rock:

There are some red paintings on the cliffs at the north end of Lake Chelan, which the Chelan Indians believe were painted by the Creator with red paint to instruct them in how they should live. From the beginning until long after the white people came, the Chelan Indians went to Lake Chelan and looked at the paintings and performed ceremonies.

They saw pictures of bows and arrows and of salmon traps. From the paintings of the Creator they knew how to make the things they needed for getting their food.

When the dam was built on the lower end of Lake Chelan, the water level rose 21 feet and the lower paintings were submerged under water. The upper paintings survived for many years, until they were ruined by vandals who used them for target practice with their guns.

Hee Hee Stone:

Hee Hee Stone Memorial near Chewsaw, WashingtonThe original site of the Hee Stone is located six and one half miles west of Chesaw on the old stage coach road from Republic to Oroville and Conconully. This was the most sacred piece of ground in Northeastern Washington to the Indian tribes who lived in that area.

There are two legends associated with this area. The first tells of an indian woman who fell in love with a captive from another tribe. When she asked for permission to marry him and move to his village, she was told she could, but she must not look back upon leaving.

She was so happy on her departure that she forgot the instructions, and looked back while laughing. She was immediately turned into a pyramid of perfectly balanced stones, which came to be called the Hee Hee Stone. It was later treated as a shrine and it was thought if you left a gift there, it would aid in curing illness. Natives would leave an offering near the pyramid shaped pile of stones whenever they passed by, and some made pilgrimages there just for that purpose.

The other legend tells of a time the Okanogan Indians became infected with smallpox and it threatened to destroy the whole Indian nation. The medicine man prayed to the Great Spirit every day, and finally he received a vision which told him to tell his people that the Great Spirit would send a spirit to talk to them, and that on a certain day all of the people should gather at the place we now call the Hee Hee Stone to receive a messenger from the skies.

Indians came from hundreds of miles and gathered here, all dressed in their best buckskins and colors, to see whether or not the medicine man had told the truth or was only dreaming.

At ten o’clock in the morning the medicine man pointed toward Mt. Bonaparte and thousands of eyes looked in that direction. Soon an image began to appear in the southern skies which assumed the form of an angel, and before the astonished Okanogans could fall to the ground and pray, the heavenly spirit had alighted upon the Hee Hee Stone.

"She" was radiantly beautiful and immediately began to talk to the afflicted people. She told them that their cry for help had been heard by the Great Spirit and that she had come to help them. She motioned all who were suffering from the epidemic to come near her and be healed. Within a short time the afflicted were transformed, rejoicing in the perfect health that had been given them.

The heavenly figure explained to them that she would come again sometime in the future, but that they must use the means that she would provide if they wanted to retain their good health which she had given them.

She then distributed camas seed among them, which eventually became an important staple of the Indians, and urged that they be planted everywhere. She explained they should eat the roots of this plant, and it would prevent a return of the disease from which they had suffered.

The heavenly spirit wished them to be of good cheer, to deal fairly with one another, and said that sometime she would come again. While the shouts that greeted this announcement were echoing over the hills, she was caught up in the air and disappeared in the southern skies in the direction from which she had come, and ever since she has been known to the Okanogan Indians as Queen Camas, the divine spirit from the sky that healed the people.

Hee Hee Stone Memorial MarkerThe Indians have never ceased to worship this rock, invariably leaving something at the monument as they pass by. This is a real old Indian belief and still is.

The stone is now a crumbling ledge of rock, and difficult to locate. It's said two drunken miners blew it up with dynamite the night after Labor Day in 1905. Today, the spot is marked with a metal pyramid and there is also an interpretive sign at the site. It is still considered a sacred site.

Heart of the Monster

East Kamiah is the location of the Heart of the Monster, ancestral birthplace of the Nez Perce Tribe. An interpretive shelter with two exhibits offers an audio program to give background information on the role of legends in Nez Perce culture and tell a part of the "Coyote and the Monster" legend in Nez Perce and in English. A short trail leads to the Heart of the Monster formation, where a small semicircle of seating is available to listen to the audio program.

Buffalo Eddy

The Buffalo Eddy site consists of two groups of rock outcroppings on both sides of the Snake River approximately 20 miles south of Lewiston, Idaho. On either side of an eddy formed by a series of sharp bends in the Snake River are densely grouped clusters of petroglyphs and a few pictographs. This rock art contains hundreds of distinct images associated with early Nez Perce people. These images date from as early as 4,500 years ago.

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What's New:
Nespelem Oral History
The town of Nespelem, situated on the Colville Indian Reservation derived its name from an Indian word meaning "large meadow beside a stream."

Sinixt Lake indians
Most Sinixt or Lake indians are now part of the Colville tribe in Washington state, but once roamed both Washington and British Columbia.

Chelan Indians
The Chelan Indians were historically located at the outlet of Lake Chelan in Washington State.

Marriage and Wedding Customs
Men of the Plateau Tribes usually had at least two wives at the same time, more if they were wealthy.

Burial Customs of the Colville
Burial / Funeral Traditions of the Plateau Indians

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