Columbia River’s salmon are at the core of ancient religion

ALONG THE COLUMBIA RIVER (AP) — The Columbia River, which natives call Nch’i-Wána, or “the great river,” has sustained Indigenous people in the region for millennia. The river’s salmon and the roots and berries that grow around the area, are known as “first foods” because of the belief that they volunteered to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of humans at the time of Creation. These foods are prominently featured in longhouse ceremonies and rituals. The foods and the river are still threatened by industrialization, climate change and pollution. Many Indigenous people still live along the river because their blood lines are here and the practice of their faith requires them to do so.