GeoVisions and the relationship with sacred Chúush as a Tribally Centered Cultural Resource Management Firm

By GeoVisions
















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Video filmed and created by Brendon Slattery, GeoVisions 2022

Surveying of Natural Spring Development

  • Some of our recent projects have involved working with government agencies and private landowners to do surveys of planned spring developments.
  • These projects will enable farmers to update or install cisterns and watering troughs for livestock – the cattle that contribute heavily to the Oregon economy.
  • In the barren landscapes of central and eastern Oregon, water is an especially precious resource crucial to the livelihood of all members of the ecosystem.
  • As archaeologists, we work to protect and improve access to that resource without disturbing any cultural resources.
Planned pipeline location, Photo by Warm Spring GeoVisions

Planned pipeline location, Photo by GeoVisions

Watershed Councils

  • A watershed council is a community-based, voluntary, non-regulatory group that meets regularly in their local communities to assess conditions in a given watershed (usually a river or creek and the lands that drain into them) and to conduct projects to restore or enhance the waters and lands for fish and native plants in their areas.
  • Oregon is one of the few states to have this community-based model – supported by the state and recognized by local governments
  • GeoVisions has been privileged to perform work for several watershed council projects. These projects have served to identify and protect a variety of archaeological resources and to further watershed project goals.
Watershed Council Fieldwork, Photo by Warm Spring GeoVisions

Pictured is Dr. Eve Dewan taking notes while surveying a wartershed project, Photo by GeoVisions

Connecting Culture to Land and Water

  • In GeoVisions’ projects that evaluate cultural properties of significance to indigenous communities, we find archaeological and documentary evidence of a freshwater mussel tradition that was once central within the culture of Columbia River Native peoples.
  • Freshwater mussels were traditionally an important resource for Columbia River peoples as a food source and for shells used in ornamentation. GeoVisions studied historic records that indicate the landform was once identified with the Native name for freshwater mussels and that celebrations were regularly held to honor the natural river-created bounty of the property.
  • Knowledge of the freshwater mussel tradition once central within the culture of Native inhabitants is in danger of being lost, along with the loss of the species. Freshwater mussels are known for being a particularly sensitive species to pollutants and are a dramatic example of the general decline of other aquatic species that the Tribes subsist on and are central to their river-centered heritage. These animals have been shown to naturally provide water filtration, and are increasingly recognized for their vital role in maintaining the purity of aquatic ecosystems.
  • As a river people, the Columbia River Tribes directly experience the consequence of declining water purity, but in a larger context, this is the same water that we all depend on and the decline of water quality is a threat to all of our survival.
Freshwater Mussels, Photo from The MidCoast Watershed Council

Sick Freshwater Mussels,  Photo from The MidCoast Watershed Council

Drone’s Eye View

  • Sometimes Archaeologists utilize high-tech equipment to look for objects in the field, create detailed photographs or videos of sites and structures, create 3D virtual models of artifacts and buildings.
  • Drones can also be used to see below ground surfaces and water using lasers to find important cultural objects that have been lost to time or development without physically disturbing material.
  • This technology can now allow people to experience and interact with these places or objects that were previously inaccessible to communities.
image from film created by: Brendon Slattery, Warm Springs GeoVisions 2022

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