Return of C’waam Annual Ceremony

This unique event is held each year after the first snow in March, in Chiloquin, Oregon. Each year the c’waam (also known as the Lost River Sucker) swims up the Sprague River to spawn. Snowflakes fall at this time of year, heralding the c’waam’s return. The evening sky also reveals that the fish constellation (three stars in line making “Orion’s Belt”), begins to appear on the southwestern horizon. Native traditions state that watchmen were placed along the riverbanks to see exactly when the fish would return. The head “shaman” would then give thanks for their return to the Indian people.

This ritual preserves the tradition of welcoming the fish back into the rivers, and by continuing this ceremony the Klamath Tribes are ensuring the survival of both a species and our Tribal traditions. They celebrate each year with traditional dancing and drumming, a traditional feed, releasing of a pair of c’waam into the river and other ceremonial practices. The c’waam are provided by the Tribe’s own aquatic research center. Everyone is welcome! Exact date for the celebration is contingent upon Mother Nature.

  • Event held annually in March
  • ADA accessible
  • Trained guides available
  • Located on both public and private land

Northwest Tribes

The Central Cascades has seven themes that help to define the character of the region. This location is an example of Northwest Tribes. Here are more locations that exemplify this theme:

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National Geographic