By MICHELLE SCHMIDT
A water-related event Saturday, April 19, at the Nez Perce National Historical Park will remind visitors of the value, issues and historical role of water in the region. Ongoing interactive stations will provide discussion and learning activities for all ages on water-related topics.
“Water has always been important to the tribe and culture,” said Bessie Blackeagle, a park ranger who is presenting at the event. She explained that the nomadic nature of the Nez Perce way of life required them to always consider their proximity to water.
Blackeagle’s short, simple, interactive presentation will focus on water-related place names. She cited the original name for the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley, Tsceminicum, which describes how the Snake and Clearwater rivers come together and Lapwai, which she said combines the term for butterflies and the suffix wai, which has to do with a waterway or stream. She’ll explore other water-related historic names and cultural background.
Alongside Blackeagle, Kevin Brackney from the Nez Perce Tribe’s Water Resource Department will discuss groundwater and contamination issues, providing a model that demonstrates how the topic effects everyone in the region. Eric Starkey of the National Park Service’s Upper
Columbia Basin Network will have microscopes available for visitors to take an up-close look at some of the tiny animals that live in our water. During these presentations, Elizabeth Brackney will discuss native plants and wetlands at 11 a.m.
The Spalding Visitor Center is located 12 miles south of Lewiston and three miles north of Lapwai off of U.S. Highway 95 and is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. The center also has exhibits, hiking trails and a picnic area.
if you go
WHAT: Water, the Nez Perce, and You
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 19
WHERE: Spalding Visitor Center at Nez Perce National Historical Park
Schmidt can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (208) 305-4578.