Lamprey will never win any beauty contests, but like any creature that is largely misunderstood - they have an interesting story. For starters these are an ancient lineage of fish. They have been around for 450 million years - before the age of the dinosaurs. They are the oldest existent family of vertebrates that still survive.
They have long been culturally important to the tribes, and are often served alongside salmon at tribal feasts and celebrations.
Collecting at Willamette Falls is not very easy. The rocks are slick as ice, and potential for injury is real. Yet tribal members scramble up cliffs, and reach into unseen crevices to find a lamprey.
umatilla tribe member kanim moses harvests pacific lamprey (lampetra tridentata) at willamette falls, in the willamette river near oregon city
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