Second Annual Willamette River Blessing

By Madronna Holden

Here are some pictures of the second annual blessing of the Willamette River led by Takelma Siltetz elder and chair of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers Agnes Pilgrim Baker Sunday, April 26 at at the EWEB Willamette River Plaza in Eugene, Oregon.


Siletz Takelma Elder “Grandma” Agnes Pilgrim Baker speaks to the crowd at the second annual Willamette River Blessing where she reminded us once again that we are all “water babies” and owe the rivers our life.

For a detailed portrait and interview of Grandma Aggie, see this description of the first annual Willamette River Blessing.


Part of the blessing ceremony was sacred and could not be photographed, but members of the audience were invited to write their prayers for the river on a flag which would fly by the river for the rest of the day and then be taken down and placed on a bamboo pole to continue to fly in the wind.


A mother and her son walking by stop to read the prayers left for the river

Here  is a description of last year’s ceremony.

And the third annual blessing of the Willamette River is coming up Sunday, April 25.  See more details here.

5 Responses

  1. Oh Wow! I would love to attend the next ceremony and meet Grandma Aggie! Is it welcome for anyone to attend? Where can we get information on the event?

    • It comes at the same time of year every year (or at least it has so far), so there should be a “third annual”: there should be lots of publicity out around that time, Randa. And if it gets to be early April and you haven’t heard anything, check in with me or this site.
      And yes, it is open to everyone.

    • Grandma Ag is actually my Aunt. She has come from a lot and gives a lot. So, it is a great reciprocity she gives. You can also subscribe to the events by subscribing the Centers for Sacred Studies. I’ve volunteered with them and maybe you can as well. I’m unsure what her last marking on her chin means, but I’ll ask her. You can see her at the Siletz Pow wow each year around August 9th. Last year the 13 Grandmother’s were there and my sister went and represented me as I could not be there. I’m so glad you’re interested, because so many people are so very angry with American Native people. They think they’re asking for something, when in truth, it’s the exact opposite. We’re not asking for anything but recognition. At least that’s what I think. And I thank Madronna for her care in these posts and making it public. She teaches a great class.

      • Hi Tina, it is a joy to hear from you again. Thanks for sharing these additional notes on Grandma Aggie. She will conduct the third annual Willamette River Blessing in April. I verymuch like what you said about her coming from a lot and giving a lot. So do you–and you have much ahead of you as well. I am touched by your feedback; it seems we need to right the record here, for our sake as well as that of the native people who shared their land with us.

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