Artifacts from Celilo Village

People lived at Celilo Village for more than 10,000 years, yet few people who now live in the region ever stop to think about that amazing fact.

Artifacts from Celilo Village and elsewhere throughout the Columbia River region have been carbon-dated to at least 10,000 years ago. But, due to the perishable nature of many of the materials used, most of the evidence has been lost. Still, there is no question that people lived in the region at least 6,000 years before the great pyramids at Giza were built.

Lillian Pitt shines a light on this rich history, and the artifacts from Celilo Village, through her art. She finds it unfortunate, though understandable, that as modern-day people go about their business, little honor or recognition is given to the rich history of the region. She helps by recreating in her art, some of the symbols that appear in the relatively few remaining artifacts from Celilo Village.

The archeological record

Archeologists say that my people have been here for at least 10,000 years. They base that on scientific methods and on having found artifacts at Celilo Village. We say we’ve been here since time immemorial.

My parents, grandparents, and parents before them, all believed that the Creator put us on this earth and in this form, from the beginning of time.

And what do I believe? Well, I have to say it is certainly possible. Maybe we have been here since time immemorial. But whether that’s true or not, I believe its important to honor the history of my ancestors who lived here. I do that in part by recreating in my art, the artifacts at Celilo Village that have been preserved.

—Lillian Pitt

Artifacts from Celilo Village