A few weeks ago, I drove to Wellpinit with my friend and former student Lucas. We were just passing Fairchild Air Force Base when he said, "Have you ever seen that stone on the side of the road?"
"Which one?" I asked.
"It's that one where Army bragged about defeating the Indians," he said. I had noticed the stone on the side of the road, but never stopped. We didn't stop that day either. But then he mentioned it again a few days ago, so we finally stopped to look.
The monument is in the shape of a four-sided basalt pyramid, maybe eight or nine feet tall. It bears a plaque that reads: "The Battle of Spokane Plains was fought near this spot on September 5, 1858 in which U.S. troops under command of Col. George Wright defeated the allied - Coeur d'Alene, Palouse, and Spokane Indians. Erected by - Washington State Historical Society."
Bragging indeed - and strange to think that we passed this stone close to the anniversary of the battle - 155 years later. Actually, a century and a half doesn't seem like a long time, and yet as Indian people, our world has completely changed.
A full view of the plaque.
The monument with Fairchild in the background.
Highway 2 is visible in the right-hand side of this picture.
Our shadows are cast into the grass.
The sunset over the battle monument.