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The Legend of Tsagaglalal
The logo for the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center is the
petroglyph, "Tsagaglalal" or "She Who Watches." Tsagaglalal is located
on a cliff overlooking the Columbia River at Columbia Hills State Park
(formerly known as Horse Thief State Park) in Washington. It is one of
the best examples of the aboriginal art in the United States.
There are several versions of this legend, but the one told to the Museum by the Wishram people is as follows:
A woman was chief of all who lived this region. That was a long time
before Coyote came up the river and changed things, and the people were
not yet real people. After a time Coyote, in his travels came to this
place and asked the inhabitants if they were living well or ill. They
sent him to their chief who lived up in the rocks, where she could look
down on the village and know what was going on.
Coyote climbed up to the house on the rocks and asked, "What kind of
living do you give these people? Do you treat them well or are you one
of those evil women?"
"I am teaching them to live well and build good houses," she said.
When she expressed her desire to be able to do this forever, he said,
"Soon the world will change and women will no longer be chiefs."
Being the trickster that he was, Coyote changed her into a rock with
the command, "You shall stay here and watch over the people and the
People know that "Tsagaglalal" sees all things for whenever they are looking at her, those large eyes are watching them.
On June 14, 1987, Nelson Moses, a spokesman for the Wishram band of
the Yakama Nation, dedicated "Tsagaglalal’s" spirit to the Columbia
Gorge Interpretive Center Musuem project. The brief, but solemn ceremony
was held on site in front of "Tsagaglalal." It was performed in the
Indian language based on the ancient bell ritual of the Washat religion
granting permission for "Her" stylized image to be use as a logo.