The Wishram are known as the Tlakluit and Echeloot. They traditionally settled in permanent villages along the north banks of the Columbia River. In the 1700's, the estimated Wishram population was 1,500. In 1962 only 10 Wishrams were counted on the Washington census.
The 1855 treaties signed by the Wasco-Wishram provide for the tribes to fish "at all ... usual and accustomed stations in common with the citizens of the United States..." Between 1938 and 1956, the Bonneville Dam, Grand Coulee Dam, and The Dalles Dam all wreaked havoc upon native fisheries. The government paid money to the tribes to compensate the loss of fish; however, that provided no compensation for the cultural and religious importance that fishing for salmon and steel head held for the tribe. In 1974 a landmark court case confirmed the rights of Northwest Coast tribes to fish as they have historically done.
The Wasco-Wishram language is part of the Upper Chinookan or Kiksht division of the Penutian language family. Currently, five elders from the Warm Springs Reservation are fluent speakers. The tribe has a language program to revive its use among tribal members of all ages.
Both tribes are known for their intricate wood carving, beadwork, and basketry. Wasco-Tlingit artist Pat Courtney Gold takes traditional Wasco-Wishram designs and weaves them into contemporary baskets.*