The construction of Grand Coulee Dam was a boon for Washington and the entire USA. No argument. But did you realize that many little settlements along the river were drowned and many, many cemeteries and grave sites were buried beneath the water…..forever?
Quoting from a Spokesman Review article from 25 March 1939:
“Undertakers of the state will vie with one another this spring for the biggest mass burial contract in the history of the state. Bids will be called soon for the removal of a thousand graves of Indians and whites within the area to be flooded by Columbia River backwater above Grand Coulee Dam.
“The plan calls for giving the contract to a licensed undertaker. He and a crew of men (preference is to be given to Indian workmen) will dig up the remains along the river shore. Most of the Indian remains will be taken to main Indian cemeteries at Keller and Inchelium. Heirs of white people…..have been notified of the removal plans. The bureau will re-bury their relatives in graves near by, or if it is desired to move the remains to burial grounds far away, will deliver the caskets to relatives.”