The Cathlapotle Plankhouse is a full-scale Chinookan Plankhouse located on the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. It was built based on archaeological evidence from the Cathlapotle archaeological site located on the refuge property. This archaeological site is what remains of the town of Cathlapotle, a Chinookan town encountered by Lewis and Clark on their expedition.
The Plankhouse and the objects inside of it offer a tangible link to those who lived here in the past and provides a unique site for the interpretation of the natural and cultural heritage preserved on Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Washington.
The Plankhouse is typically open from Noon to 4:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from mid-April to October, and by special arrangement. As much as we would like to keep the Plankhouse open more, open hours are based on volunteer availability, so please check the calendar before making a trip out. The Plankhouse also offers various programs and workshops, check the calendar for a complete list of upcoming activities. We invite you to explore this web site and come out to the refuge to explore the Plankhouse.
The public image of American Indians has been more defined by cinema than that of any other people in history. When one considers, for example, that as many as 25 percent of all films made from 1900 to 1950 were Westerns – which frequently represented American Indians as violent obstacles to progress – the lingering implications are staggering. This conversation, led by cinema scholar Lance Rhoades, will prompt us to address the formidable role cinema has played in producing, perpetuating and challenging perceptions of American Indians, past and present. This subject matter will challenge preconceptions and will raise questions about identity, stereotypes and cinema that have no easy answers.