Edward Sheriff Curtis (American, 1868-1952), Middle Columbia, plate 288 from the portfolio The North American Indian, volume 8, The Nez Perces. Wallawalla. Umatilla. Cayuse. The Chinookan tribes., 1910, photogravure, Gift of Henrietta E. Failing, transferred from the Rex Arragon Library.

The story of Cascade Chinook Woman

At the opening of Contemporary Native Photographers and the Edward Curtis Legacy, the Museum was honored to have descendants of sitters from three Edward Curtis photos in attendance.

Chuck Williams spoke about his great-aunt Virginia Miller (Why-lick Quiuck), a recap of which is below.

Edward Curtis took this 1910 photograph of Cascade Chinook woman Virginia Miller (Why-lick Quiuck) near the mouth of the Wind River in the western Columbia Gorge, where she lived most of her life.  She was a young girl when her father Tumulth, who signed the ratified 1855 Willamette Valley Treaty as the first chief of the people now known as Cascade Indians, was hung by the U.S. Army under the direction of then-Lt. Phil Sheridan. Curtis also interviewed her at length, and the interpreter was her nephew Capt. Michelle Martineau, who was also the “old river pilot” who guided Curtis’ party through the Gorge, including running the Cascade Rapids.

Chuck has done additional research on Virginia’s sister Kalliah, his great-grandmother, which will appear in The Oregon Encyclopedia.

View more Edward Curtis images in Online Collections.