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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Mosier in Wasco County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
 

Memaloose—Island of the Dead

Oregon History

 
 
Memaloose -- Island of the Dead Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, July 2, 2017
1. Memaloose -- Island of the Dead Marker
Captions: (bottom left) The lone monument on 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 1930's, but Victor Trevitt's grave remains.; (upper right) Burial canoe; (background) Memaloose Island is one of several "islands of the dead" once found in the Columbia River. Many of these islands are today covered by the backwaters of Columbia's dams -- only one-third of this island seen by Lewis and Clark is visible above the river today.
Inscription. Until very recent times, the Indian people of the Columbia River did not bury their dead, Instead, bodies were wrapped in robes or tule mats and deposited in canoes that were placed in the woods, on rocky points, or in cedar vaults on islands like Memaloose. The name Memaloose is derived from the Chinook word memalust, which means "to die."

The Corps of Discovery, under the command of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, passed this island in their quest to reach the Pacific Ocean on 29 October 1805—they called it "Sepulcher Island" (burial island). On their homeward journey, the explorers visited the island on 15 April 1806, and Lewis noted, "thirteen sepulchers on its rock which stands near the center of the river and has a surface of about 2 acres above high water mark."
 
Erected by Oregon Travel Experience.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Lewis & Clark Expedition, and the Oregon Beaver Boards marker series.
 
Location. 45° 41.76′ N, 121° 20.286′ W. Marker is in Mosier, Oregon, in Wasco County. Marker is on Interstate 84 at milepost 72, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Mosier OR 97040, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within
Memaloose -- Island of the Dead Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, July 2, 2017
2. Memaloose -- Island of the Dead Marker
Memaloose Island in the distance
9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Memaloose Rest Area Oregon Trail Kiosk (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Memaloose Overlook (approx. 0.6 miles away); Rowena Crest - The Rowena Loops (approx. 2.1 miles away); Rowena Crest - Ice Age Floods (approx. 2.1 miles away); Mosier (approx. 3 miles away); A School with Roots (approx. 8.2 miles away); Hood River (approx. 8.2 miles away); The Henderson (approx. 8.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mosier.
 
More about this marker. This marker is located at the westbound Memaloose Rest Area.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
 
Also see . . .  Oregon Travel Experience - Memaloose -- Island of the Dead. (Submitted on January 30, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon.)
 
Categories. ExplorationNative Americans
 
Memaloose -- Island of the Dead image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, July 2, 2017
3. Memaloose -- Island of the Dead
Victor Trevitt grave monument on the left end.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 11, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 2, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 145 times since then. Last updated on January 30, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 2, 2018, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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