Wanapum traveling exhibit featured at Whitman Mission


Whitman Mission National Historic Site

328 Whitman Mission Road, Walla Walla

Whitman Mission National Historic Site

The Wanapum Native American Discovery Unit will be at Whitman Mission National Historic Site from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. This event is free.

The Wanapum live at Priest Rapids on the Columbia River, near the site of the old Priest Rapids Village and present-day Vantage, Wash. They traditionally lived in tule mat lodges. Their successful salmon fisheries made them an important part of the network of trade and cultural exchange on the Columbia Plateau that included the Cayuse living in the Walla Walla Valley.

The old village was flooded after the construction of the Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams in 1953, but the Wanapum’s cultural identity remains strong.

The Wanapum Heritage Heritage Center’s traveling component will show park visitors the Wanapum way of life. Visitors can learn about the Wanapum by exploring artifacts from the time before the dams were built, viewing a model of the old Priest Rapids Village, discovering the traditional foods and practices important to the tribe’s modern culture and speaking with members of the tribe.

A visitor to the park may view a 10-minute slideshow, see the museum and take a self-guided tour of the mission grounds. The grounds include the original building locations, Great Grave, Whitman Memorial and re-constructed Oregon Trail ruts. Rangers present walks and talks daily.

Whitman Mission, 328 Whitman Mission Road, is located seven miles west of Walla Walla off Highway 12. Take the Spalding Road exit that ends at Old Highway 12. Turn right (west) onto Old Highway 12 and follow the signs.

Whitman Mission is open seven days a week. The Visitor Center is open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. The park grounds are open until dark. There is no admission fee. For details contact 509-529-2761 or by visitingnps.gov/whmi/.


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