There are several
islands in the Columbia River named Memaloose, which is a derivation of the
Chinook Indian word “memalust,” meaning “to die.” The largest and best-known of
these islands, Lower Memaloose, is near the south shore of the river a short
distance east of Hood River.
Indians of the area used the island as place to lay their dead to rest. Bodies
were wrapped in reed mats or sometimes buckskin, then stacked one atop another
in structures made of split cedar planks. Lewis and
Clark landed on
the island in 1806 on their return journey up the Columbia and counted 13
structures full of bodies.
buried on the island is a pioneer of The Dalles area, Vic Trevitt. He requested
that he be buried “with my Indian friends.” His grave marker can be seen from
the Memaloose Island rest area along Interstate 84.