Get into Whitman Mission free of charge this weekend

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Entry to the Whitman Mission National Historic Site, 328 Whitman Mission Road, is free this weekend.

From 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Mission staff will teach park visitors how to use an atlatl. The atlatl is a simple lever used to throw a spear farther and harder. It is similar to the tennis ball throwers used to play fetch with dogs. Atlatls were used worldwide in ancient times. While the bow and arrow replaced the atlatl in many places, some groups continued to use it. It allowed hunters to take down larger, more dangerous animals.

A cardboard box will replace a deer as the target, but the atlatls that visitors will use are similar to ones hunter-gathers stalked their prey with in the past. All ages are encouraged to attend.

On Sunday from 1-4 p.m. visitors will be able to make a modern pictograph. This activity was created by the staff at the Tam?°stslikt Cultural Institute, which is run by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The intent of the activity is to create awareness of the rich cultural heritage and promote respect for real pictographs and petroglyphs. Rocks and paint will be provided.

The Whitman Mission National Historical Site is open seven days a week. The Visitor Center is open from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. The park grounds are open until dark. Although free this weekend, the normal entrance fee is $3 for adults; children under 16 are free. Annual family passes are available for only $10. Senior passes and other federal passes are honored. For more information, call 509-522-6357.

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