Sherman Alexie Poem (The Place Where Ghosts of Salmon Jump)

Downtown Spokane American Indian Highlights

Sherman Alexie Poem (The Place Where Ghosts of Salmon Jump)

Spokane, Washington 99201, United States

Created By: Kauffman & Associates

Point of Interest Details

This poem was installed here in a spiral, overlooking the Spokane Falls, when the new downtown library was built nearby in 1995. In the poem, author Sherman Alexie, a Spokane Indian, wrote about the creation story for the Spokane Falls and the devastation brought to the falls by the dams. Alexie was inspired to write the poem right at this spot.

According to, Alexie tried to see the river from his ancestor's point of view:

"The river was the center of our lives, the center of our religion, so that location, there overlooking the river, is just where I wanted the poem to be. I looked down at the river and its beauty and also wondered how many inches of mercury lay under the water. The river makes me think of the ghosts of us and the ghosts of the salmon." At first Alexie did not care for the spiral design, but a few years later he changed his mind. He came back to see it, and saw a couple reading the poem. "Their movement was a dance. The design forces people to dance. The true power of it is in watching people reading the poem in that way."

You can now return to the convention center via Spokane Falls Boulevard, along the edge of Riverfront Park. Along the way you will see the sculpture "The Joy of Running," commemorating Spokane's annual Bloomsday race and the Looff Carousel.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Downtown Spokane American Indian Highlights


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