VANCOUVER –  “Nearly seventy-five years of my lifetime have come and gone since hearing of the sparse historical events from the old-timers,” said American Indian elder George Aguilar. “It’s my turn now.”

Aguilar will speak about stories in his book, “When the River Ran Wild!” at Washington State University Vancouver, 7 to 8:30 p.m., April 24 in the Administration Building, room 129.

In the book, he recounts events he heard about while watching his grandmother make moccasins by the light of a coal-oil lamp and while strapped to the back of his aunt’s horse on the way to the huckleberry grounds.

He learned the stories at Coyote’s Fishing Place, where his uncles built scaffolds and taught him how to use traditional technologies to catch salmon as they made their seasonal runs up the river.

Aguilar is a Kiksht Chinookan and a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs in north-central Oregon. Born in 1930, he has lived on the Warm Springs Reservation for seventy of his seventy-five years. He served in the U.S. Army from 1949 to 1952 and has worked as a fisherman, transient field worker, timber faller, carpenter, service station retailer, auto
mechanic, and owner and dealer of blackjack gaming tables. He was the construction manager for the Tribes and continues to work as a general building and reforestation contractor.

His research for this book has taken him into libraries and archives throughout the Pacific Northwest. The book received a 2006 Oregon Book award.

This program is sponsored by the Center for Columbia River History and Associated Students of WSU Vancouver. CCRH is a partnership of Portland State University, the Washington State Historical Society and WSU Vancouver, to promote the study of the history of the Columbia River Basin.

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