The Manhattan Project

In partnership with the National Museum of Nuclear Science & HistoryNational Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Frank Buck's Interview

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By 1984, at the time of this interview, the Wanapum Tribe numbered two full-blooded survivors. One was Frank Buck, 16 years old when the Army came to build the Hanford Engineer Works. He was the son of Chief Johnny Buck, who became a friend of many Hanford project people. Frank was uncle to Rex Buck, whose interview is also featured on this site. Frank worked at the Wanapum Dam information center, upstream from Hanford, talking to visitors about the history of his tribe.
Manhattan Project Location(s): 
Date of Interview: 
Location of the Interview: 
Wanapum Dam

[Interviewed by Robert W. Mull, from S.L. Sanger's Working on the Bomb: An Oral History of WWII Hanford, Portland State University, 1995]

We used to live in the tules (reed huts) until spring, then we take them apart, put them away and we move. First we move after the root feasts, clear up to Soap Lake and Waterville. Then down to Ellensburg. Horn Rapids for fishing. Naches Pass for berries and more fishing for several weeks.

After this we come back to Priest Rapids, where our home was for winter. We just went over this year after year. We just circle the same way every time.

When the Army came into Hanford, they said we can't go in there. Some years when this is all over, you can come back and fish again whenever you want to. But, now we can't do that