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Artwork copyright Kay Buckner. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Palouse Spirits

The Palouse is a dramatic landscape of rolling wheat fields and abrupt valleys down to the rivers that carved out the land in southeastern Washington. Springtime is green and lush, and summer is golden and dry.

The original people of the area are the Palus and Nez Perce. They were expert horse riders, and the Appaloosa horse is likely a variation on the word "Palouse". In 1805, they guided the Lewis and Clark Expedition westward through the area's many river rapids in canoes. A hundred and sixty miles to the south, the Oregon Trail passed through, and led to the Palouse being Washington's most populated area in the late nineteenth century.

The Palouse's stark beauty and rich history have inspired many artworks in Washington's State Art Collection.