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Point 1: Kettle Falls
Kettle Falls, on the upper Columbia River about 40 miles south of the Canadian border, was once one of the most important fishing and gathering places for Native Americans in the Northwest. Salish speakers called it Shonitkwu, meaning roaring or noisy waters. The sound of the river, plunging nearly 50 feet in a series of cascades, could be heard for miles. It was said that the salmon ran so thick here that it was impossible to throw a stick into the water without hitting a fish. All this came to an end in 1941, with the completion of Grand Coulee Dam, located about 100 miles downstream. The dam, built without a passage for fish, closed the upper Columbia and its tributaries to migrating salmon. Today, the noise at Kettle Falls comes not from rushing water but from nearby Highway 395. The falls themselves are just slabs of quartzite, buried deep beneath the surface of a reservoir called Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake.

| Next Point > Point 1 of 12

Columbia River at Kettle Falls
Map by Marie McCaffrey

Kettle Falls near Colville, 1910s

Former site of Kettle Falls, now Lake Roosevelt, 2005
Photo by Glenn Drosendahl

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