Precontact: The Large Confluence People
. . . the true educational benefits of being on a place where your people have been for thousands of years is a physical connection that allows you to take your spirit back to a time when our people lived by what we call the old laws - the laws of respect, the laws of the natural world, the laws that we are only a part of the natural world. Jeff Van Pelt, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
The Umatilla Rapids provided the main attraction for indigenous settlement - good fishing grounds. Dwelling along both sides of the Columbia and on the islands within it, the imeqicimenikenpu' or "large confluence people" of the Umatilla were part of a broadly related group of Sahaptin-speaking neighbors known as the Plateau culture area. Plateau groups often shared hunting and berrying grounds, fishing sites, and culture, as well as language.