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Colville Tribes hail first salmon back to upper Columbia River


Staff from the Colville Tribes' Chief Joseph Hatchery wrangle a salmon out of a tank on a truck to pass it down to participants who formed a human conveyor to the river. Anyone who wanted to was welcome to help in the effort, and several tribal speakers were appreciative of non-members who came for the event. - Scott Hunter photo

After decades of absence, the "chief of all of the rest of the fish" returned to the upper Columbia River Friday when a tribal elder slipped an adult salmon into the water of Lake Rufus Woods, followed by 29 more that had begun their journey years ago after coming into existence at a hatchery downriver.

A ceremonial song to reintroduce the chinook echoed back from the Douglas County side of the river Friday morning at the Colville Tribes' campgrounds near commercial fish-raising pens along Lake Rufus Woods, upstream from Chief Joseph Dam.

A hundred or more people listened and waited, then...

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