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Tribes Welcome Lamprey to Oregon Zoo

Oct 3, 2019

Sunday, September 29, tribal leaders, dancers, and drummers helped welcome Pacific lamprey to the Oregon Zoo in Portland. A gathering of over 200 tribal, federal, state, and local dignitaries, elected officials, and general public attended the event. Representatives from the three partner organizations—the Oregon Zoo, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and CRITFC, gave short addresses before the event ended with an Eel Dance by Warm Springs and Umatilla dancers.

CRITFC chair Jeremy Wolf speaking at the event.

CRITFC chair Jeremy Red Star Wolf addresses the guests at the opening ceremony.

CRITFC chair Jeremy Red Star Wolf told the attendees, “You can help as individuals in our recovery effort as well. Be mindful of what you contribute in everyday life. Volunteer within your local area on habitat restoration projects, and be an advocate through your actions and voice. Speak of what you’ve witnessed here today. Be amazed by this species, its determination and sacrifices. Above all, listen and pay attention to all the land, plants and animals around you. They will speak to you if you listen. We look forward to a future of further communicating, collaborating and understanding the single language of ecosystem. Today on World River Day, we honor the Pacific Lamprey and what they have to teach us.”

The permanent exhibit is part of the zoo’s Northwest section. It features not only biological information about lamprey, but the deep cultural connection they have for the region’s tribes.

Detail from cultural display in the lamprey exhibit.

Detail from the cultural section of the exhibit, featuring an image and quote by the late Nez Perce elder Elmer Crow.