Congratulations to CTUIR tribal member,Thomas Morning Owl, who will soon be whisked away to the big city to star in the musical play, The Ghosts of Celilo, March 4-12, 2011, at the Newmark Theatre in the Portland Center for the Performing Arts. Read all about it at the website http://www.ghostsofcelilo.com/index.html.
The Ghosts of Celilo (se-LIE-low) is a based on true events that happened near Celilo Falls in the 1950s. Celilo was the great fishing ground of the Columbia River as well as the cultural and spiritual center for native peoples before it was inundated by the Dalles Dam in 1957. The Ghosts of Celilo tells of three children’s quest to escape a boarding school and catch their ceremonial first salmon before their home is destroyed by the dam’s rising backwaters. The story was based on the oral narrative of the late Nathan “8-Ball” Jim, well-known elder of Warm Springs. Mr. 8-Ball was the most hilarious man, but I suspect the play is not in that vein.
According to the website, Thomas Morning Owl is a tribal leader, linguist, teacher, and musician. He served as the Chairman of the General Council of the Umatilla Reservation of Oregon. In 1981, he was the youngest individual to be elected to the Tribes governing body at the age of 18. Thomas founded the traditional language program for the Umatillas and has supervised the tribe’s preservation of Columbia plateau language, culture, and song. Thomas is an accomplished traditional singer and Powwow producer and announcer. His knowledge of traditional songs spans many years. His efforts to revive the songs of the plateau lend an invaluable weight to the creation of The Ghosts of Celilo.
Thomas is truly an accomplished person and has great musical gifts. Perhaps he’ll think of the little people and send some complimentary tickets this way.