Near Mosier in Wasco County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
Islands of the Dead
The Indian Peoples of the Columbia River did not bury their dead until very recent times. Instead, bodies were wrapped in robes or tule mats and deposited in canoes which were placed in the woods, on rocky points, or in cedar vaults on islands like Memaloose below. The name "Memaloose" is derived from the Chinook word memalust which means “to die." Explorers Lewis and Clark named this island "Sepulcher Island" in 1805 and visited it in 1806.
Memaloose Island is one of several "islands of the dead" once found in the Columbia. Today, many of these islands are covered by the backwaters of the Columbia's dams – only one-third of the island below is visible above the river.
The lone monument visible on this Memaloose Island marks the grave of Victor Trevitt, a pioneer printer, businessman, state legislator, and friend of the Indians. Trevitt requested burial here among the people he loved. Ironically, water rising behind the Bonneville Dam prompted relocation of Indian graves during the 1930s, and today, only Victor Trevitt's grave remains.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Lewis & Clark Expedition marker series.
Location. Touch for map. Marker is located in a pull-out at the Memaloose Hills Trailhead, overlooking Memaloose Island and the Columbia River. Marker is in this post office area: Mosier OR 97040, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Memaloose Rest Area Oregon Trail Kiosk (approx. 0.6 miles away); Memaloose—Island of the Dead (approx. 0.6 miles away); Mosier (approx. 2.3 miles away); Rowena Crest - The Rowena Loops (approx. 2.6 miles away); Rowena Crest - Ice Age Floods (approx. 2.6 miles away); A School with Roots (approx. 7.6 miles away); The Henderson (approx. 7.6 miles away); Hood River (approx. 7.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mosier.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Also see . . .
1. Memaloose Island.
On October 29, 1805, Lewis and Clark called Memaloose Island "Sepulcher Island". It was one of several islands commented on by Lewis and Clark as containing burial vaults for the Indian tribes that lived along the Columbia River. Several islands in the Columbia River are named "Memaloose", the accepted spelling (Submitted on January 5, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. Trevitt’s burial on Memaloose Island.
Trevitt was buried on Lower Memaloose Island located in the Columbia River, just downriver from Lyle, Washington. He left a request in his will to be buried “with his friends the Indians” on Memaloose Island. Trevitt was the only white man to be buried there. He told his friends: “I have but one desire after I die, to be laid away on Memaloose Island with the Indians. They are more honest than whites and live up to the light they have. In the resurrection I will take my chances with the Indians.” source: History of Oregon Literature, by Alfred Powers (Submitted on January 5, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
3. Lower Memaloose Island.
One of multiple cemetery islands in the Columbia River named Memaloose, after the Chinook Memaloose Ilahee, "Land of the Dead," or memalust, "to die." This is the best known and one of the largest islands at the current river level. Historically (and by extension, before outside contact) Chinookian speaking people of the Columbia River brought dead to these islands for final rest with the remains wrapped in robes, reed mats, (Submitted on January 5, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Categories. • Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Exploration • Native Americans • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on January 12, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 100 times since then. Photos: 1. submitted on January 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on January 5, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.