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Letter to the editor: Insult to tribes

To the editor:

As an addict of early American history and author of historical western novels, I’ve been researching past culture and lifestyles of the local Native American tribes and clans. This led me to the Wish-Ham Tribal cemetery near Dallesport. Photographing some of the remarkably beautiful headstones, I was also perplexed by a large concrete slab fronting the westerly portion of the property. Discussing this ugly, barren slab with the tribal guide, I discovered it was a crypt entombing more than 100 Native American bodies that had been moved from ancient burial grounds and re-interred before they were inundated by The Dalles Dam pool.

The more I gazed at this ugly, white man’s concoction of structural wonder, the more offended I became. Such a chillingly cold, insensitive, yet effective solution could only have been a conception of the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

In my opinion, this insult should be removed and replaced with a mound of Mother Earth’s protective soil planted to native shrubs and flowers as directed by the descendants.

Dexter McPhereson

Vancouver, Wash.

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