I Am the Elwha (HC)

I Am the Elwha (HC)

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“I am the Elwha, rushing down to the sea. I am the Elwha, wild and free.”

The Elwha River flows 72 kilometres (45 miles) from its source in the Olympic Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the Pacific Northwest. Uniquely, it hosts all six salmon species (Pink, Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, Steelhead, and Chum) as well as several species of trout. 

In 1911 two dams were built on the river. The dams blocked the migration routes of the salmon and dramatically altered the entire river ecosystem for 100 years. In 2012 the dams were decommissioned and the world’s largest dam removal and habitat restoration project began.

In this lyrical and beautifully illustrated book, the author chronicles the history of the Elwha. Narrated by the powerful voices of plants and animals that inhabit the river ecosystem, the dam builder, a worker, and the river itself, this story celebrates the ongoing rewilding of this special environment and offers a welcome to all of the creatures who are coming home.

To learn more visit:  www.elwha.org

Educator Information
At the back of the book are three pages of cultural, scientific, and historical information that discuss the following:

  • the importance and symbolism of salmon to the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and other Coastal Salish Tribes
  • facts about the six species of salmon found in the Elwha River (Chinook, Pink, Chum, Sockeye, Coho, and Steelhead)
  • the history of the Elwha River and its status today

Keywords / Subjects: The Elwha River, Rivers, Dams, History, Environmental Awareness, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Coast Salish, Native American, Culture, Washington, Animals, Salmon, First Salmon Ceremony, Plants, Nature, Settlers, Social Responsibility, Environmental Activism, Poetry.

Recommended for grades 3-5.

Additional Information
32 Pages | 8.5" x 11" | ISBN: 9781771744744 | Hardcover

Authenticity Note: This lyrical story, which chronicles the history of the Elwha River, is written by Lori Peelen.  Robert Elofson, Tribal Elder and Harvest Manager in the Natural Resources Department for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribes, approved Lori's work and contributed a few pages of back matter at the end of the work. Lori's story was further approved by Frances Charles, the Tribal Councilwoman for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, after the entire council read and approved it.