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Hundreds Attend Prayer Gathering At Falls
Hundreds of people gathered at Snoqualmie Falls last Saturday to celebrate its spiritual significance,
and to pledge support for Native Americans in their
struggle to protect religious sites.
The crowd included representatives from many
different Native American tribes, as well as leaders from
a variety of ecumenical churches. The event featured
a traditional drumming group, Indian story-telling for
the children, blessings from leaders of the Shaker
Church and Baha'i Faith and even a group singing of
"How often has the sight of these falls lifted
your spirits, just as the mist rises here?" asked Bishop
Calvin McConnell of the United Methodist Church. "We
thank you, Snoqualmie People, for sharing this sacred
place with us."
Reading from a statement signed by 10 bishops, McConnell added, "We stand in solidarity with
the Snoqualmie People in the efforts to preserve Snoqualmie Falls as a place for spiritual renewal for
all people in the generations to come."
One change that may come to the falls is part of
a proposed upgrade by Puget Power, which will apply
to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
for relicensing at the end of 1993.
The utility's plan calls for two feet to be
knocked from the top of the dam and the installation of an
inflatable weir. The application also includes expanded
educational and recreational facilities.
"Proposed changes will enhance access by people
of all backgrounds, including the handicapped, but the
character of the falls will not be visibly changed from
the past," according to a written statement distributed
by Puget Power.
Project Manager Virginia Pistorese added that the
utility has included the Snoqualmie in its licensing
discussions. "People need energy," she said. "And I feel
we're making the best effort to balance our resources."
But Kathy Barker, a member of the Snoqualmie
Tribe, disagrees. "I want to see this spot preserved not just
for the Snoqualmie, but for all tribes that use this area,"
she said. "Our way shouldn't be treated any differently
from the modern religions."