Honored Elders

Wa'lúmt is the traditional Yakama word for the river. Willamette is post-contact pronunciation of the word Wa’lúmt. This is supported by historical accounts, linguistics, as well as testimony by atwai Louis Cloud U.S. v. Washington.

As a Yakama elder and fisherman, Tony assists with numerous Wa'ashat ceremonies throughout the usual and accustomed areas of the Fourteen Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama people. Tony's family harvests salmon from tribal fishing sites on the Klickitat River using ancient and present day fishing techniques. He is often called upon for his extensive knowledge pertaining to fishing, family lineage, land, resource, and oral history. He dedicates much time to family as well as passing information to the younger generations. 

Atwi Ruth Howard was born December 28, 1927, and grew up in White Swan Washington. She was raised to honor the foods and the land. Growing up she became a cultural teacher for the Yakama Nation Headstart. She dedicated her life to the Yakama Nation language and the way of life while teaching toddlers the history and language.  She advocated that children are the utmost important because they are all going to be our future leaders.

Russell Jim  - Kii’ahł  

nickname: "Husti"

Johnson serves as the Yakama Nation Cultural Resources Program Manager. This program oversees hundreds of archeological projects each year. He is in the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame and enjoys singing with family at powwows throughout the northwest.

He is lead singer of "Yakama" drum. A song from this drum---sang with his sons and grandsons--- is in the beginning of our Yakama Nation Fisheries film "100 years ago and today: Sockeye in Cle Elum." 

Átwai (the late) David Sohappy Sr. was a strong advocate of Indian treaty rights. He was taught by his father to "never give up." Tucknashut and his family have a long history of being involved with fishing on the Columbia River. This includes carrying on the teaching to be providers and willing to share fish with others. When you provide for the people, the Creator will reward you.