ASOTIN — Chuck Axtell rang a bell and Shannon Wheeler rapped a drum as part of an extended blessing and welcoming ceremony for about a dozen Pacific lamprey just upstream from the mouth of Asotin Creek.

One by one, members of the Nez Perce Tribe and their guests delicately released the squirming fish into the cold rushing water. Moments earlier, Axtell sang the tribe’s “Circle of Life’’ song in the Nez Perce language.