▶️ Little Did I Know: Where did the idea of lighting Christmas trees come from?

I have to admit that when I was told that Central Oregon Daily News would be covering the Community Tree Lighting in downtown Bend Friday night — girl, I was really excited.

You see, when I was a kid, mom and dad would take us to downtown Seattle and watch the lighting every year from my dad’s office window.

Years later when I moved to Alaska, people from literally hundreds of miles around would brave the icy travel and bitter cold just to take part in one of the few remaining community holiday traditions. So you could say these things have a special place in my heart.

But, you know, I don’t really know how Christmas tree lighting got started.

Challenge accepted!

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RELATED: Retired Redmond music teacher finds hobby in homemade holiday lights display

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While the custom of decorating Christmas trees has its origins in Germany, it wasn’t until the late 19th century that it caught on in the United States.

German immigrants brought the tradition with them and, by the mid-1800s, Christmas trees were becoming a common sight in American homes during the holiday season.

Now, the use of candles to illuminate Christmas trees was common in Europe. Initially, this tradition was also adopted by early Americans, too. But you can imagine what happens when you put a dry tree next to an open flame. And Americans quickly began looking for better alternatives.

The pivotal moment in the history of Christmas tree lighting came with the invention of electric lights.

In 1882, Thomas Edison’s assistant, Edward H. Johnson, hung the first known electrically illuminated Christmas tree in his New York City home.The tree was adorned with 80 small electric light bulbs, which he hand-wired and wrapped around the tree.

Edison Christmas Tree


But the tradition of electric Christmas tree lights didn’t exactly take off like wildfire. While Johnson’s display was a novelty at the time, it took a few decades for electric Christmas lights to become smaller, safer and more affordable, so that families like the Griswolds could lighten up our nights.

The concept of public Christmas tree lighting ceremonies like the ones here in Central Oregon gained popularity in the early 20th century.

The first real notable event took place in 1912 when a Christmas tree was illuminated in Madison Square Park in New York City, marking the beginning of a tradition that continues to this day with the annual lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge presided over the first National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington, D.C. Since then, this event has become an annual tradition, symbolizing the start of the holiday season in the nation’s capitol.

And it is on this fine day, in 2023, that the lovely folks of Central Oregon and my family here at Central Oregon Daily News throw the switch on the community tree and hope to God one of the bulbs isn’t shorted out. 

The Bend Community Tree Lighting is Friday night at 5:30 p.m. on the Drake Park Lawn outside The Commons Cafe & Taproom. The full event runs from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. with a lot of activities for the family. The entire Central Oregon Daily News crew will be there, so come on down!

Have a “Little Did I Know” topic idea for Scott? Email it to littledidiknow@centraloregondaily.com

▶️ Little Did I Know: Secret to loving winter is having the right gear for it

For the first time in several years, we are staring down an El Niño winter. But what does that really mean? As a former Alaskan, what is more important is to love winter no matter what the forecast is.

Full confession: I used to hate winter, but now I don’t. Because all you really have to do it prepare for it. 

“So, we have two different stone grinders … That’s our pre grind for Nordic. It’s actually our Finnish grind for Alpine, but it’s our pre-grind for Nordic.” said Chris Costigan from the Powderhouse in Bend. “We have the only combination of a certain diamond and stone in the country in this machine.”

I’ve generally been too lazy or too cheap to get my skies tuned up every year. But that changes this year.  Time to turn my comfortably-worn skis into high performance machines. And with the recent addition of Olympic cross-country skier Don Simoneau to their staff, I’m going for the gold. Or not.

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RELATED: Local shop helps you make custom skis, snowboards with your own two hands

“Not all grinds are created equal. So what do you do after the ski comes off that machine, it’s flat and this is just my final pass. It takes a single pass to put the structure that I want onto the ski on it. And it’s pretty simple-ish,” Costigan said. “This is a pretty complex little computer program here. I’ve got tons of different grinds that are programed into it.

Ski grinder


“We cool our water, which I don’t think anybody else in Oregon is doing, and that helps with keeping the water temperatures low. We’re essentially grinding on plastic when the temperature comes up in the water bath, they essentially start smearing plastic. So we want to be able to cut plastic and to do that to keep the water cold.”

And speaking of cold, there is no bad weather — just wrong clothing choices before you get outside.

“In this type of climate, function over fashion. Where a lot of times you want to look cool, but it’s so much more about being warm and being dry,” said winter gear adviser Jacklyn Walles. 

Here are some of her key tips.


“Base layers are really important. It’s what’s touching your skin, what makes you feel comfortable and warm. A puffy layer on top of that, which really locks in the heat for me. And then I think the most important thing is going to be your, you know, your outer layers. I like to go with a hard shell. It’s both really dry and it protects you from the wind.


“Feet are, for me anyways, a big one. Once my feet start getting cold, I’m going into the lodge.”


“Glove-wise, making sure you have like a waterproof glove is really important. And then I double layer my gloves.

Don’t forget your neck

“And then a neckie. A lot of people think that just because you have your helmet and goggles on in your jacket, that you’re fully protected. But usually it leaves this like layer from your neck to your nose that gets really cold. So any type of baklava, a neck warmer that you can kind of just put your face in, it’s really nice for while you’re riding down or while you’re on the chairlift.

“Choosing gear that keeps you warm and dry makes the whole experience a lot more enjoyable.”

Jacklyn belongs to a group called “Girl, Get After It.” Its mission statement is “Empowering women to make new friends and try new things.” You can find their website at girlgetafterit.com.

Winter gear layers

What does El Niño mean for Central Oregon?

I thought it was time to check in on an old friend for the answer to that question.

“To be honest, El Niño is one of those catch-all blame games when it comes to the weather community. It’s an oscillation that’s out in the Pacific Ocean and we measure with a huge array of buoys that go from the coastline of the Americas to the Philippines,” said Central Oregon Daily Chief Metorologist Dorrell Wenninger.

“What it really means for us is that moisture stream is going to be further to the south and we’re actually going to see near or above normal temperature. So, it’s not going to change too much of how much precipitation we’re going to get, rather what type of precipitation. Instead of being way above normal, we’re going to be near or below normal when it comes to precipitation.

RELATED: Little Did I Know: La Niña three-peat

“But on the flip side of that, when it comes to El Niño versus La Niña or neutral years, even, all it takes is one or two systems that are really strong or the lack of one or two strong systems to put us into a super active, atypical El Nino year. So really, it’s still a coin flip. But if you’re asking me to throw out a forecast, I’m going to say warmer than normal and less snow in the mountains.”

When it comes to the winter forecast, I’m going to tell you the same thing I tell you every winter. Whether it snows a lot or a little. Learning to love winter truly changed my life and could change yours, too.

Send your Little Did I Know story ideas to littledidiknow@centraloregondaily.com.

▶️ Little Did I Know: That time the Brooklyn Dodgers played in Bend

Back in 1946, the men fighting in World War II returned to Bend and life was getting back to normal. So, the Brooklyn Dodgers decided to come to town. 

But not those Brooklyn Dodgers. 

“Not at all. Not even close,” said historian Jim Crowell. “The Dodgers that summer, baseball, were leading the league again. Even out here as far from New York as you could possibly get. Brooklyn Dodgers was very exciting, traditional baseball.”

There was a new professional football league emerging and the newly founded Brooklyn Dodgers football squad was headed to Portland for an exhibition game against the Chicago Rockets. 

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RELATED: Little Did I Know: Vince Genna’s impact on Bend goes beyond a baseball field

RELATED: Little Did I Know: The history of Central Oregon baseball

The choice of where to train came down to a two-way battle between Vancouver, Washington and Bend. The Bend Chamber rallied hard — and won. 

“One of the main conditions of the Dodgers was when they looked at old Bruin Field, which was a great football field and a big one for a town of about 9,000, there was no place to dress. Both Lava Bear teams and visiting high schools had to dress and what is now the Boys and Girls Club and bus out there for practices and games,” Jim said.

The Brooklyn Dodgers said if you build it, we will come. So Bend did, and the Dodgers did.

“They flew over and to the Redmond airport, but it was going to be an early evening arrival, maybe. So about 50 Bend merchants got in their cars and drove down to what was then the really old Redmond airport and lined the cars up on the runway, turned their lights on so the plane could land,” Jim said.

Among the players that year was a young rising star named Glenn Dobbs who could run, throw and even kick. A skill that made him absolutely invaluable to the Dodgers

Well, maybe not completely invaluable. 

“The next year, Los Angeles bought him away from Brooklyn for $100,000 and three additional players. And $100,000 was a lot of money in those days,” Jim said.

RELATED: Wildly popular Baseball Bat Bros YouTube channel’s creator has roots in Bend

That’d be around $1.6 million in today’s currency. So … he could afford a house in Bend.

“It paid off because the first game in the L.A. Coliseum, the new Los Angeles Dons, as they were called. 83,000 people came to that game,” Jim said.

And considering Bend at the time had around 9,000 people, the turnout in Central Oregon was proportionally impressive. 

“They figure about 2,200 at both games, which was a pretty good size for 9,000 population,” Jim said. “There were about 100 coaches from all over the Northwest, including the University of Oregon coach including Bill Bowerman, who was the coach at Medford which was the big powerhouse team in Oregon high school football back then.”

The governor even made a trip over the mountains to participate in a new twist on an old tradition.

“The governor threw out, like, you know, the first pitch for baseball ritual — he threw out the football from the grandstand,” Jim said.

Years later, Jim would go on to become a sportswriter for the Oregonian. He liked to play a little game at the local watering hole after work. 

“And so, I would play with guys at the bar and tell them that I remember the time that I watched the Brooklyn Dodgers play in Bend July and August. And of course they would say ‘Yeah, sure. What do you mean? That they’re in the middle of the pennant race. Don’t give me that.’ “No, I tell you … Would you want to put a beer on that?'” Jim said.

Now this was before the internet, so often times people would call in to their local newspaper to verify facts. 

“And of course I’d hand the phone to him and the sports department guy would tell him, ‘Yeah, they played two intrasquad games and Bend and then played in Portland’ and the guy would listen and say, ‘Yeah, you’re putting me on,'” Jim said.

So a couple of hot months in the summer of 1946 lived on in a couple of cold beers for ace reporter and prankster Jim Crowell. 

Send your Little Did I Know story ideas to littledidiknow@centraloregondaily.com.


▶️ Little Did I Know: Central Oregon may have suffered a Biblical-level flood

I was talking to my geology professor buddy the other day and he told me that there is emerging evidence that Bend, many years ago, suffered a Biblical-level flood. But that shouldn’t be too surprising.

More on that flood in a little bit. We’ll actually start this story with one of the biggest floods ever to be unleashed on planet Earth. It started just up the road in Montana during the last ice age.

“For my money, this is like the biggest geology story in our region,” said Hal Wershow, Assistant Professor of Geology at Central Oregon Community College. “Historically, it really put the Pacific Northwest on the map because it was such a big deal geologically. Nobody at the time in the early 1900s thought it was possible to have huge epic floods that defy the imagination.”

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RELATED: Little Did I Know: Mt. Bachelor vs. Broken Top tale of the tape

RELATED: Little Did I Know: Central Oregon’s geological sleeping giants

While there have been many catastrophic ice dam floods throughout Earth’s history, around 15,000 years ago (give or take a few thousand) an ice dam was created near modern-day Missoula, Montana, that backed up for so long that the water reached over 2,000 feet deep and the volume was that of Lake Ontario and Lake Eerie combined.

Until one day, the ice just couldn’t take it anymore. And years of accumulating water, building higher and higher and pushing harder and harder on that ice, completely drained out in about two days.

“So, the lake comes ripping out and it rips its way through western Montana and all through eastern Washington and in eastern Washington did tremendous damage. The scale of erosion is almost incomprehensible,” Wershow said.

Missoula Flood
This is modern day video combined with a computer animation that shows roughly what the flood that started in Missoula, Montana, would have looked like going over the Dry Falls in Central Washington.


We do know that humans were in the area when it happened and if they were on safe ground. It would have been a spectacular site as it slammed through Washington and eventually gravity carried it down to the Columbia River gorge.

“The Missoula floods did not create the Columbia Gorge. It was already there. They just made it bigger,” Wershow siad.

The volume and speed of the water was so extreme that tributaries like the Deschutes River actually reversed course and evidence of the sediment traveled for miles upstream.

“The water would have flowed upstream, which is kind of crazy to think about water flowing upstream and was dumping sediment all the way up to Maupin,” Wershow said.

The flood eventually made it down to the Willamette Valley and deposited all that wonderful sediment it was carrying, turning the area into the bountiful center of agriculture that it is today.

So — back to that Bend flood we were telling you about.

“So, we’ve started looking for more and more of these big floods. And the more we look, the more we find. And what we know is that there’s a tremendous pile of lake sediments all over Sunriver and La Pine. Hundreds of feet of lake sediments,” Wershow said.

And if you’d been in Bend when the lake dam broke, you probably would have wanted to gather your animals two by two.

“And now we’re just starting to find evidence that there was a big epic flood, meaning the dam would have catastrophically broken all at once and huge amounts of water would have gone rip down the Deschutes, through Bend and beyond,” Wershow said.

And you don’t have to go far to see the evidence of this epic flood. Wershow says the best evidence is at Riley Ranch.

“If you go hiking at Riley Ranch, you’re hiking up on the plateau and then you drop down Ryan’s Run. And then right in front of you, there’s almost an island. It’s a hill, so it’s not an island. But it’s surrounded by channels on either side. That hill has boulders on the top of it. We’re talking at least 100 feet above the Deschutes River,” Wershow said.

“Those boulders, very clearly to a geologist’s eye, were tumbled by a flood and put up there. So go hiking at Riley Ranch. Look at that hill and start thinking of what that flood must have looked like to be tumbling boulders the size of cars up to the top of that hill. It would have been just as impressive as the Missoula floods if on a slightly smaller scale,” Wershow said.

Riley Ranch boulders


So move over, Noah.

“We’ve got our own epic flood story,” Wershow said.

Send your Little Did I Know story ideas to littledidiknow@centraloregondaily.com.


Little Did I Know: Fort Rock’s role in finding when humans came to N. America

Recently in New Mexico, some human footprints were found that are forcing scientists to completely rethink their decades-old ideas about when humans first migrated to North America. Believe it or not, Fort Rock, Oregon, plays a big role in those developing theories.

“You know, when we look at the migration of peoples out of Africa, Homo sapiens, our earliest Homo sapiens fossil to date, comes from Morocco,” said Michel Waller, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Central Oregon Community College. “And then the next oldest is Ethiopia. And it seems that for at least 100, maybe 150,000 years, sapiens are found only within the African continent.”

Waller adds that, “About 125,000 years ago, we start to spread out.”

And boy, did we ever start to spread out. Some went north toward Europe. Some headed east toward Asia. Those that headed toward Asia eventually ended up in North America.

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RELATED: Little Did I Know: Fort Rock Sandals

RELATED: Inside archeological dig at Oregon caves where people lived 13,000 years ago

But when? That depends on when you ask that question. One hundred years ago, we thought humans came here around 5,000 years ago. Until one day, Fort Rock, Oregon, blew that estimation clean out of the water.

“After Luther Cressman found the sagebrush sandals in the Fort Rock cave back in the 1930s, 1940s, every rancher with a shovel started digging around out in the desert looking for ancient cultural resources,” Waller said.

And those sandals would go down in history as one of the first things ever carbon-dated after its invention in 1950. It’s a practice that is commonplace now.

“When those sagebrush sandals were initially dated, one of the first things to be dated using radiocarbon dating techniques by Willard Libby back in, I think it was 1951 … when we got the date back there of 10,000 years, that almost doubled our time that we thought people had been in the Americas,” Waller said.

Fort Rock Sandals

And for decades now, we’ve been operating under the belief that humans came over an ice bridge during the last ice age when an ice-free corridor opened up around 15,000 years ago.

That is until a man went for a walk in Harney County.

“One of the folks from the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) was just kind of cruising around out there and found an area with really tall sagebrush, which suggests that there was at least one time water there and deep roots. And when he went to kind of check it out, he noticed that the soil hadn’t been disturbed,” Waller said.

The Rimrock Draw Rock Shelter, as it is called today, began to challenge some of the scientists’ beliefs about North American human migration.

“I think that the last date that I saw that they had pulled out of there was over 16,000 radiocarbon years. So, you know, between 16,000 and 17,000 years old,” Waller said.

But all those decades of beliefs came crashing down overnight just this past September when some footprints discovered in White Sands, New Mexico were double confirmed to be more than 20,000 years old.

“So the White Sands area in New Mexico, it’s a great site because we have lots of preservation due to the environment. It’s incredibly dry. Not a lot of wind, not a lot of water to kind of wipe clean some of the things that we found. So there have been all kinds of footprints down there,” Waller said.

We knew there were mammoths and sloths in that area at that time, but until their discovery in 2009, nobody thought there were human footprints to be found.

“And so to find human footprints that date back to, you know, between 23,000 and 26,000 years … that’s again another chapter in the human migration around the globe. And it does change our dates. It does change our perspectives,” Waller said.

This makes us completely rethink all of our theories about human migration to North America. But even more, think about this: geological time is looked at way different than human time.

“You know, in archeology, we throw around things like 23,000 years and 16,000 years. And, you know, it doesn’t sound like they’re that far apart, but that’s 7,000 years, right? And we’ve only been counting years for 2023 of them. And some of those are retroactive. So that’s a huge chunk of time,” Waller said.

That’s right. The time difference between humans in Harney County and humans in New Mexico is literally the same length as all of recorded human history so far.

“We’re still writing this story. It hasn’t been fully fleshed out. We’re finding more things now and in the last 20 years than we found in all of history before that,” Waller said.

Send your Little Did I Know story ideas to littledidiknow@centraloregondaily.com.

Little Did I Know: Halloween facts (the holiday, the movie and William Shatner)

Halloween. We all love it and we all know it. But do we really know it? I mean, how did it begin? And why pumpkins?

Welcome to the Little Did I Know top ten things I didn’t know about Halloween —  in no particular order of importance. 

10. Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain

Samhain took place at the time of the year where the boundary of summer and fall was blurred and the people believed the boundary between the living and the dead was blurred as well.

Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.

>>> Have you checked out Central Oregon Daily News on YouTube? Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

RELATED: Little Did I Know: 5 things you may not know about Thanksgiving

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9. Trick or treating can be traced back to the medieval practice of Souling

People went door to door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes. For every cake given, a soul was believed to be saved.

8. Stingy Jack

The Irish legend of Stingy Jack, also known as Drunk Jack and Flaky Jack, inspired the creation of the Jack O’Lantern.

Stingy Jack fooled the devil so many times that, eventually, he was sentenced to be a wandering spirit, roaming at night with nothing but a burning ember inside a carved out turnip to light his way. 

7. Jack O’Lanterns weren’t always carved from pumpkins

Jack O’Lanterns used to be carved from turnips. It wasn’t until the Irish brought the tradition to America that Pumpkins became the carving canvas of choice because they were so plentiful. 

And thank God that the pumpkin took over because. Turnip pie? Yuck!

6. Halloween was once known as Cabbage Night

Kids just used to throw cabbages at houses. Again, thank God because, Cabbage pie? Yuck!

5. Record pumpkin

The Guinness World Record holder for the largest pumpkin is 2,749 pounds, grown by Travis Gienger of Anoka, Minnesota, at the 50th World Champion Pumpkin Weigh-Off at Half Moon Bay, California, last year. 

They believe it could have made at least 687 pies.

RELATED: Madras’ giant pumpkin grower returns with new pair for competition

4. “War of the Worlds” panic

On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast caused panic as many mistook it as a real Martian invasion. Listeners who tuned into the program late didn’t hear the disclaimer that it was a radio play, and switchboards were flooded with panicked callers.

3. A real Thriller

In 2010, 4,093 people dressed as zombies in Asbury Park, New Jersey, breaking the record for the largest zombie walk in history — though nowhere near as cool as the one Michael Jackson did for the video “Thriller.” 

2. Werewolves in the mirror

Some believe a werewolf reflection can still be seen in the mirror on Halloween, but that you should never look at your own reflection by candlelight because it can reveal your true self as a witch. All of this is, of course, predicated on you believing in werewolves and witches in the first place.

1. Beam me up, Michael Myers

Do you know the movie “Halloween” with the spooky Michael Myers and the scary mask? Well, that mask is actually just a cast of William Shatner’s face used in the 1975 movie “The Devil’s Rain.” It’s just spray painted white.

Send your Little Did I Know story ideas to littledidiknow@centraloregondaily.com.

▶️ Little Did I Know: Perspectives on the history of Chief Paulina (Part 2)

This is the second in a two-part series looking into the history of Paiute Chief Paulina and exploring how that history is told from both the written historical perspective and the Native American historical perspective. You can watch and read Part One at this link.

From Paulina Peak to Lake Paulina to the town of Paulina in Crook County, Chief Paulina definitely made a name for himself in Central Oregon. But for many of the ranchers and miners in the 1800s that name was associated with fear, violence and death.

Paulina was aPaiute Indian chief who back in the day was considered a marauder and a murderer, but not by everyone. In fact, over the years, history has really revealed that during the time of the Indian wars in the 1800s, there really were no angels. And who the good guys were depends on what side of the fence you were on.

For this part of the story, we look at a man who was pushed beyond his limits and to tell his story, I want you to meet a descendent of Paulina.

“My name is Wilson Wewa Jr. I work for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. I’m a descendant of Weahwewa. And he had a brother — was Paulina.”

>>> Have you checked out Central Oregon Daily News on YouTube? Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

RELATED: Little Did I Know: Perspectives on the history of Chief Paulina (Part 1)

The Northern Paiute Tribe had been nomadically living in a large swath of the West for thousands of years, following the seasons and the animals in order to maintain their way of life. But eventually, some strangers appeared from the east and they just kept coming. And their view on land rights was very different than the Northern Paiute had been living with for generations.

“And so when fences were put up across trail systems that had been used for centuries, our people tore them down to access the resources that were on the other side of the fence, so to speak,” Wilson said.

With their resources dwindling and their people starving, several chiefs finally got together and said enough is enough.

“So our people were being pushed from one area to another area to another area and to another area,” Wilson said. “And so to defend the right to live on the land that we’ve always known at home, our people started fighting against the ranchers, against the miners, against the soldiers to maintain our way of life.”

Native chiefs


Paulina developed a reputation with the non-natives as being a thief and a savage. But as I said before, there were no angels in this conflict. In fact, the U.S. Army started a skirmish with Paulina in which they abducted his wife and child and put them in prison as a way to try to force his hand to come to the table.

“Paulina, certainly as any husband or father would do when their wife and children are abducted, wanted his wife and child back,” Wilson said. “And so a negotiation was made that if he would come in and stop warring, that he could get his son and wife back, which he did. He gave up his arms and was reunited with his family.”

Paulina tried to settle into reservation life, but he encountered broken promises from the U.S. government and resentment from the Klamath Tribe whose lands the Paiutes were now living on.

Reservation life


“They signed the Klamath Treaty to go on their reservation, but like with many of the treaties, the United States government never fulfilled their promises to provide annuities to the leaders and to the people,” Wilson said.

So, Chief Paulina resumed his subsistence lifestyle and even resumed his raids against white settlers and other tribes. That is until one day he raided and burned down the ranch of James Clark. Clark grabbed Howard Maupin and a few other men and vowed revenge, which he got one early morning near Ashford, Oregon.

“That rancher scalped him with his own knife because the belief was that if he was scalped or killed with his own knife, that he wouldn’t make it into “Indian heaven.” That’s not true,” Wilson said. “Our belief is that if our people are killed by somebody else, that person inherits all the sins of the one they murder.”

In my many years of doing Little Did I Know, I’ve come across countless stories of innocent people who were killed either over mistaken identities or from retaliations of retaliations on both sides of the fence.

“When I was learning about the history of the United States and there were people like George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin that fought against the British to not become subjects of British rule. And they were called patriots,” Wilson said. 

In this case, how you view Paulina all depends on who shoes you’re standing in.

“If that’s not a patriot, I don’t know what that is,” Wilson said. “And we’re still here.”

A special thanks to the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs for their assistance in this story.

Send your Little Did I Know story ideas to littledidiknow@centraloregondaily.com.

▶️ Little Did I Know: Perspectives on the history of Chief Paulina (Part 1)

This is the first in a two-part series looking into the history of Paiute Chief Paulina and exploring how that history is told from both the written historical perspective and the Native American historical perspective. You can watch and read Part Two at this link.

One of the things I’ve learned over the years of doing “Little Did I Know” is that when it comes to the state of Oregon, the indigenous people and the 1800s — who the good guys were depends on what kind of spectacles you were wearing.

For example, John Fremont, Kit Carson and their crew mistook a Native tribe for would-be attackers and killed somewhere between 150 and 700 innocent people in an event called the Sacramento River Massacre.

>>> Have you checked out Central Oregon Daily News on YouTube? Click here to subscribe and share our videos.

RELATED: Little Did I Know: Perspectives on the history of Chief Paulina (Part 2)

The famous John Day and his companion were beaten, stripped naked and left for dead by a Native attack party at the confluence of the Columbia and what is now the John Day River because they were the same skin color as some men who had attacked the Native camp. They fell victim to a case of mistaken identity.

So when I first looked into the history of Chief Paulina, I wasn’t surprised to find out that who you think Chief Paulina was kind of depends on what side of the fencepost you’re sitting on.

In this part of the story, we’re taking a look at Chief Paulina from a non-Native, written historical perspective. For that, we go to Kelly Cannon Miller at the Deschutes Historical Society.

“So from 1864 to 1868, coming out of the Civil War, you have a very bloody campaign against these various tribes that are loosely conglomerated together in guerrilla warfare against the United States Army and settlers, as well as some other Indian tribes, specifically the Warm Springs,” Miller said.

LDIK history Image Civil War US Natives


More settlers began migrating into their lands and it pushed the Paiute people into conditions that were so intolerable, that Chief Paulina began taking what he needed by force — even from other native tribes. Until, one day, some U.S. soldiers executed a mission.

“That ends up successfully capturing Paulina’s wife and child, as well as other members of his group. And this forces Paulina to the negotiations table, and he does sign a treaty in 1864 and agrees to go to the Klamath Indian Reservation,” Miller said.

Life on the reservation was not what Paulina expected.

“By 1866, he’s done with it. This is not his homeland. And that that’s part of the difficulty of this time period is that you have tribal members who are being lifted out of their homelands and put on reservations. There were other tribes’ homelands,” Miller said.

Paulina went back to his old ways, living off the land but also taking what he needed from the settlers by force. And his reputation began to spread like wildfire.

“September 15, 1866, he and his band attack the ranch of James Clark by where Bridge Creek and John Day meet. Pretty much wipes James Clark’s ranch out. Burns the house, burns his hay and oats and barley. Steals horses, steals cattle. Pretty devastating. Clark’s wife isn’t at home and they’re not at home. They’re on the property,” Miller said. “Paulina sees them, gives chase, but they get away.”

And that’s when Paulina’s luck ran out.

“Clark does form a posse intent on trying to recover some of his property. And among his posse is Howard Maupin. And they keep continually searching for Paulina. And that next spring they find Paulina’s party encamped near Ashwood, Oregon, in northeast Jefferson County and attack and shoot and kill Paulina,” Miller said.

LDIK Maupin


Howard Maupin actually had Chief Paulina scalped. And history at the time did not look favorably on the young chief.

“And so over time, he’s portrayed as a very ruthless, brutal, guerrilla tactics leader who killed a lot of people and destroyed a lot of property,” Miller said. 

“From the flip side of that, he was a resistance fighter. He was fighting against being confined to a reservation and the loss of his traditional way of life. And that’s the controversial rub of that kind of history. And both things are true.”

Over the years, a lot has changed on how we view the actions that were taken during those violent times. Most historians view the written history from that time in the context of the time it was written.

Send your Little Did I Know story ideas to littledidiknow@centraloregondaily.com.


▶️ Little Did I Know: The dam history of the Deschutes River

I have some questions about the dam history of the Deschutes River. 

The river originates at Little Lava Lake in the Deschutes National Forest. And while most rivers cut their own path, the Deschutes had a much more dramatic and sudden change. 

You see, it originally flowed around Pilot Butte from the east, but about 188,000 years ago, a lava flow filled in that channel and the river was diverted into a new channel along the west side where it runs today.

For countless generations, Native American tribes like the Warm Springs, Wasco and Paiute, have called this land home. They used the Deschutes as a source of sustenance, its waters for fishing and even transportation. 

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RELATED: Little Did I Know: History of floating the Deschutes River isn’t a long one

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The Lewis and Clark expedition attempted to name it the Clark River on their return to the area in 1806. But that name didn’t last long as early 19th century French fur traders dubbed the waterway Riviere des Chutes, which means “River of the Falls.” It was later dubbed the Deschutes.

OK. So that’s history of the Deschutes River. But what about the dam history of the Deschutes? That’s where we go to our friend Kelly Cannon Miller at the Deschutes Historical Museum.

“So between 1910 and 1964, there’s a series of dams all along …  if you look at the whole of the Deschutes, this is bringing the Deschutes River into, you know, the world of of damming and how to humans manipulate rivers to support agriculture and to support recreation and to support all these different things,” Miller said.

With the invention of the light bulb in 1880, electrical appliances began hitting markets all across the country and across the world around the turn of the century. Central Oregon was no exception.

“So in 1910, Bend Power and Light installs the first dam at Newport. That gives the first electricity for the town in 1910,” Miller said. “They celebrated when Mirror Pond filled in behind the dam, Putnam and and all the biggies got out their boats. And there were seven canoes that were on Mirror Pond to celebrate the creation of of the pond.”

But as is always the case, once you got a damn good thing going, there’s always a demand for more dam energy.

“And then in 1915, you get the Colorado Dam. And then you get Crane Prairie and Cline Falls and the regulation of the flows that, you know, siphons off how much is going to irrigation and how much is allowed to stay in the river for fish until you get a completely human managed river that we have today,” Miller said.

Little did I know while electricity generation is certainly an important function of the Deschutes River dams, it was basically an afterthought compared to water storage.

“So a lot of the dams across the west and specifically here in Central Oregon were actually built to store water for irrigation purposes and they’re not necessarily electricity generating dams,” said Lisa Seales of the Deschutes River Conservancy. “So in here in the Upper Deschutes Basin, you have Crane Prairie and Wickiup, both of which are storing water for irrigation and there’s no electricity generated by those dams.”

Not only is most of the water not going to generate electricity, only a small fraction of it is actually going to the cities.

“So another little known fact is that only 2% of the water in the basin is going to cities and municipalities. And actually 86% of the water in the basin is being used for agriculture and irrigation,” Seales said. “And that is also a fact that is pretty much across the board in the West. So the vast majority of the freshwater resources in the Western United States are being used for irrigation.


▶️ Little Did I Know: Benefits and dangers of artificial intelligence in art

Artificial Intelligence is a powerful tool with some amazing benefits. But just like any other tool, it does have its dangers, too. Let’s break it down using actual AI artwork that I created myself.

First up, the benefits. 

Creativity amplified

Artificial intelligence can help us tap into new levels of creativity. It can generate endless artistic ideas, styles and combinations that humans might never have thought of. This can lead to stunning, unique and even groundbreaking works. 

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RELATED: Little Did I Know: Artificial Intelligence

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Accessibility and inclusivity

Hey, I can make art more accessible. It can help people with disabilities express themselves through art, breaking down barriers and making the art world more inclusive. 

Art preservation

AI can restore and preserve art like a champ. It can analyze and restore damaged artworks, helping us conserve our cultural heritage. 

Efficiency and time saving 

AI can help artists save time and effort. It can automate repetitive tasks, leaving more room for the creative process itself. 

But like I said, there are dangers, too.

Loss of human touch

While AI can assist, it can’t replace the human touch in art. The soul, the emotions and the personal experiences of the artists are what make art so special.

Ethical concerns

There are ethical issues to consider, like who owns the art created by AI. Can it be used to manipulate or deceive through art?

Dependance on technology

Relying too much on AI can make us dependent. We shouldn’t forget our own creative abilities and become too reliant on machines. 

Bias and discrimination

AI can inherit biases from their creators and data sources. This can lead to art that perpetuates stereotypes and discrimination, reinforcing social inequalities. 

So there you have it. AI is a fantastic tool for creating artwork, but it does have its fair share of challenges. 

It’s up to us, the artists, scientists and society as a whole to use AI responsibly and harness its potential while being mindful of its limitations and pitfalls. 

Remember, it’s all about finding the right balance and letting our creativity shine through — just like the scientists and artists have been doing for centuries.

Thanks for joining me on this artistic adventure. Stay curious and keep exploring the world of AI and art. 

By the way — if you watch the video above, almost every word you hear me say was written by ChatGPT.