The mighty Columbia River has been the lifeblood for sustenance and spirituality of the Northwest Native Americans for over 10,000 years. For these early residents of the Columbia River Gorge, the River served as a bond between them and their Creator.For centuries, Columbia Gorge tribes honored the Great Spirit with petroglyphs to record the important figures, events and visions in their lives. Throughout history in the Gorge, salmon runs developed, tribes evolved and the Gorge of the Great River became a major crossroads to fish and trade.Most remaining petroglyphs date back 1200 to 1500 years to the high point of an art producing era and are still visible today on the basalt cliffs where the backwaters from the damns have not covered them. Some petroglyphs represent shamanistic tales of the acient ones which protected and guided the spirit world.This, the Spirit Quest blanket by Pendleton, commemorates the ritual of young braves who would seek out their own destiny through a vision into the spirit world of their Creator.According to tribunal legend, as a young warrior developed his spirituality in his adolescence, he was sent alone on his Spirit Quest to a sacred, secluded place without food or water. He waited until the vision came to him - sometimes in the form of a human or of an animal.Depending what appeared to him, the warrior gained the power to become a great hunter, leader, healer, or provider to the People; and if he endured the trial of his Quest, he was rewarded special power, protection and a direction through life.The vision was often etched onto rock at the place of the quest to record the experience. If the Spirit left a token, like a feather, it was worn with other sacred objects and returned to the Earth with the warrior.Once the vision was apparent, the warrior returned to the Elders of his tribe to present his direction. The could either grant the Vision or, if they felt it was not accurate, they could deny it. Often his name was derived from the direction the Elders agreed upon. If the power of the Spirit was lost or weakened later in life, the Quest was again employed.The central figure on the blanket represents the warrior with rayed headdress signifying spiritual support of his Quest. The three zigzag lines denote the waters of the Chiawana (Father), meaning a big, powerful body of moving water.Each petroglyph has its own identity and legend. “She Who Watches” represents the chief who was told to watch over her people forever. Bear tracks are of the powerful animal in the powdery snow. The hunter is shown preparing for the hunt. Coyote, the Transformer, frees the salmon to swim the Columbia River. The Beaver brings the fire to the People and hides it in wood so they might bring it back by rubbing two sticks together.Mountain sheep represent the elsuive game that scales the basalt cliffs near the Great River while Salmon are the bountiful fish that give sustenance to the People. Owl is the Messenger of the Shamans, and its symbol marks good fishing sites. Deer roam the valleys and wooded areas in anticipation of the hunter.The rust color of the blanket mirrors the basalt cliffs of the Columbia River Gorge. Tan is the warm, sweet (firm) earth as it is walked upon, reflecting the landforms that guide the Great River. The shades of blue depict the waters of the Columbia River under a clear blear sky--dark blue for the deepest running water, medium blue for the swirling eddies, and pale blue for the shallow water where the fish fan the gravel with their tales as the lay and fertilize their eggs.The black petroglyphs, etched into the warm tones of basalt, recapture the actual etchings made so long ago. The yellow and orange are the spiritual colors of the brave’s glow of the Sun and the power to consummate his Spirit Quest.