History Tales


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Residencies use Columbia River Stories as a springboard for new work. Each story intersects with the village of Celilo along the Columbia River-a site of great historic significance.  Based on real events, the stories are written as historical fiction, created collaboratively by students, teachers and artists.  They are currently being evaluated for possible publication as individual titles, containing new learning materials and activities for classroom use.

  • The Cedar People: A story of first contact in the late 1700’s. This story begins in a Tillamook Village along the Oregon Coast. It’s  filled with details of Native American culture including tribal customs and daily life as seen through the eyes of two tribal children. First contact with a survivor of shipwreck changes life in this coastal village forever.  (written for grade levels 3-4)
  • The Story Keepers:  A re-telling of the story of the Corps of Discovery through the eyes and courageous heart of Seaman, the Newfoundland dog who journeyed with the Corps of Discovery.  We meet the Mandan tribe, Sacagawea and Pompey, and forest animals filled with wisdom and humor.  Our story ends in the village of Celilo…or does it? (written for grade 4)
  • The Newcomers:  Oh, Pioneers! Set in the early 1850’s we follow a multi-cultural wagon train from Missouri all the way to Portland, Oregon in a spirited story of struggle and camaraderie, told through the voice of a young Irish immigrant girl.  Includes details drawn from Oregon Trail diaries and follows an actual wagon-train route. (written for grades 4-5)
  • People of the River: In the 1880’s, Wyam Children of Celilo Village, and those of many other regional tribes, make the journey to Chemawa Indian boarding school. What they learn there changes their lives forever. Through the eyes of children we learn about their indoctrination and assimilation into white culture. The story comes to a close at Celilo Village, a century later, with a vision of hope for the future. (written for grade 5) 

Weekly (8-10, 55 min. sessions) include:

  • Class reading and discussion of one of the stories above
  • Collaborative story-making, based on a story above – continuing the story
  • Collaborative song-making
  • Individual writing: students create character biographies using  writing prompts
  • Students create animal masks based on story characters and events
  • Classroom storybook and reading
  • Art Show and celebratory story-telling for family and friends at school or Cerimon House
If you’d like more information about this residency, send us a message below.