Audio tape of Caroline Towhet and Mary Ann Meanus regarding songs and cultural practices of the Warm Springs, with Wasco Dance songs
Audio tape of: music; gender; women's roles; songs for children; rituals; religions; life history; change Songs performed: Lullaby; comforting song; cradleboard song to a boy; cradleboard song to a girl; Wasco dance: "Bitsla Ho"; Wasco Dance: "Yupa Dance"; Going-out Dance; Legendary Dance.
Subject: Caroline Towhet and Mary Ann Meanus
Interviewer: Loran Olsen and Judy Jones Date: 11/23/91
Location: Warm Springs, Oregon
Jones File name: MM&CTla.DOC
TAPE ONE SIDE A
LO:... 1991, Warm Springs Oregon, uh, at the home of Mary Ann Meanus, Loran Olsen and Judy Jones of Washington State University. And we're talking with
CT: Caroline Tohet LO:
Caroline Tohet CT: An elder
LO: And Mary Ann Meanus. Um, to start with, Caroline has consented to sing a lullaby.
CT: I'm on?
LO: Whenever you want to start
CT: First I'd like to tell about this,
CT: why, we do this. It's uh, usually w-, we have a child in a board, cradleboard, but it's alright to do this too, because body contact is also important, especially to a small child. So we used to get this, boards, our old people, then they put 'em in the board first and just rock 'em. But in this case here [referring to use of doll as a prop for singing lullaby--no cradleboard on hand] I will just wrap up our child in a little blanket, pet the hair a little bit first, assure them we're going to be with them, which is very important to a child. And then we--I do not have an actual song, I just pretty much makes up my tune as I go along, make up my own words. Just whatever my feelings are at the time. It's a good thing I was doing this morning, so. So, I'd say
SONG [cc 041 – 072]
Now this here is saying, "Your children are going to bed now. All of this little children are going to sleep now." You're not only talking about the one that you're holding, but you're thinking of others. And these little children are going to sleep now. And all living things are going to sleep now, too. All the little animals, the little birds, anywhere, everywhere, they're all going to go to bed now. Because they are cute, they are lovable, and they are all very dear. This is what this is saying. All the little girls, all the little boys. The puppies, whatever. Is what this song is saying. Are you picking that up alright, though?
LO: Yeah, now we, we would like--dog gone it, I wish we had a stand
CT: There's a table there
LO: Oh, her voice is soft, and--yeah, that would be great, can I move that over?
MM: Yes, uh huh.
LO: Put it on pause, if you would, Judy.
CT: Okay? Alright. This is a comforting song, and just like you're holding a child in your arms, 'cause you love the child, and you want them to know it. And not only about this particular child, but all living things.
SONG [cc 100 - (with phone ringing, MM talking in background) 127]
LO: Thank you very much, it's beautiful. Do you use some other melody a little bit, when you make this up?
CT: Not really, I just-
CT: -just what depends on what uh kind of occasion it is, is, some times you're holding 'em if they get hurt, and then you're just kind of, maybe put 'em on your shoulder, and you say, well, pretty much the same thing. But you'd say
[SONG cc137 – 140]
You don 't really say anything, you're just comforting them.
LO: You've been at this a long, time, haven't you?
CT: Now, I'll tell you something else we do do. We used to do, but we don't--at least I, I do it if I, c- I'm the first one that puts a baby into a board.
CT: First one, if I do it, while I'm lacing the baby into his new board, a first- a newborn, okay. I lay it out so--I don't have a board, so--I lay it out--I'm just bending this poor thing around! [referring to doll, wrapping blanket around as if in cradleboard] Lay it out, okay. I got them all laid out so. Now I'm going to put this--well now, this is a little boy. Okay.
[SONG cc 152 – 180]
That was to a little boy. When you're growing up, when you grow up, you will be a big strong hunter. You'll go out and you will hunt, and you will bring it back. And you will share with the grandparents. You will share with other people. This here, is to a boy. Now, to a girl. Of course, this is all made up. Right NOW.
LO: Yeah, it's improvised.
CT: Maybe, if I sing it tomorrow I'd probably put different words into it.
LO: Oh, wonderful.
MM: Or even, pretty soon. [All laugh]
CT: Okay, this is a little girl, now. And usually, "alla" means the father's mother.
CT: "Katsla" means the mother's mother.
[SONG cc195 – 242]
MM: Oh, I'm just out, now.
JJ: It works!
CT: This here is to a little girl.
CT: I'm telling her I'm putting her in this board. It's my grandchild, whichever way.
CT: And she is going to grow up to be nice person. She is going to grow up and she's going to dig roots, the different roots that I named. Then she's going to come home, and she's gonna take care of these roots. Which means peeling them and drying them, freezing them or whatever. Then she's gonna go and share with her grandparents, or anyone else that is in need. And when she's through doing that then she's going to pick huckleberries. And she's gonna bring that home, and then sh-, that too it- she's gonna share. She will be willing hands for everything, no matter what it is. But her home will always be open. She will have a bright light in her window, because she's asking people to come. And stop in with her. And she'll warm up coffee for them, and whatever she has, she will share. This little child, this beloved grandchild of mine. That's what this is saying.
LO: Would you speak the names of the roots, one by one? Just speak them?
CT: Just, just talk about them now?
LO: Yeah, just give us the names of the roots.
CT: Well, the roots now are, the first one, the main one we talk about is piaxe, which is bitterroot. And uh, that's one that is uh, kind of hard to find, they don't grow just everywhere. The next one I named was xaush, that's a round root, and they can peel it, and grind it, too, there's two ways of fixing it. And then li-la- lukshmi, is one you could peel, grind it and make into biscuits, or you could just leave it ground, like that, then cook it just like that. Luksh and xaush are like that. And then, sawit, is uh, you can eat it, just right out of the ground. But you could also grind it and make it into biscuits. And you could also just leave it, you know, like a meal. Those were the four roots that I'm singing about.
LO: And the berries?
CT: Huckleberries and chokecherries. Well, any kind of berries, say like uh-
LO: -mum, mumaika xinoka, huckleberry.
CT: Beg pardon?
LO: How do you say "huckleberry?"
CT: Uh, wiwuno, wiwuno.
CT: And chokeberr ies is tush, timsh. Huckleberries is wiwuno, and chokecherries is timsh.
LO: What dialect are you speaking?
CT: I am speaking the Warm Springs dialect.
MM: Of Sahaptin.
CT: Uh, this is Warm Springs dialect, I forgot to say that.
LO: Is that Wasco?
CT: I, I am a Wasco but then I don't talk it. [Laughs]
MM: No, there's, there's, she's speaking the Sahaptin language which is spoken in different dialects--Yakima, Umatilla, and here, Warm Springs.
LO: You can understand the Nez Perces?
MM: Not, no-
CT: Not, really,
LO: A little bit.
CT: Some I can catch, because--some of their words, though-
MM: -Are similar-
CT: -are similar to ours but have a different meaning. I've found that.
MM: They have, they have the "s"-
MM: kous, housh-
CT: The, that, those are roots, yes.
MM: hou-, sawitk
LO: That's similar.
CT: Yes, similar, yes. But, uh, sawitk-
LO: ca-, camas?
CT: Waqamu, that's the word for -
CT: -camas, uh huh.
MM: Um hmm.
CT: They pretty much, we're pretty much all the same, we eat the same foods. That's the Pendleton people and the Toppenish people. But I don't know anything about the Coast people. I don't—all, I know some things about 'em but I wouldn't, say what they do.
LO: Is this the first placement of the child in the board ?
MM: Mmm hmm.
LO: First time.
CT: First time. But the-
LO: So how old?
CT: Well, as soon as you can.
MM: Around one day, one day.
LO: One day, two days?
CT: Could be two days, well, usually three days.
MM: Depends on when the board is finished, 'cause it's not, ordinarily it's not made until they’re born.
LO: Okay. Is it beaded, right away?
CT: Depends on how much ambition you have. [All laugh] Well, some, some mothers usually make their own, but, I don't know, I'm the one that's always made ours, my grandchildren's. And uh, it really isn't all that hard, usually just cover it with buckskin--the bow. They cover it with buckskin. Then somewhere along the way, if you feel like it, then you could put beads on.
LO: Oh, okay.
CT: Uh huh. But the boards that I make, the first boards, usually they outgrow it, there's two boards. They'll outgrow the first board which is usually-
MM: It's quite small.
CT: -and then the second one is, it's the one, you put more beads then into it.
LO: What wood?
CT: Well, just plyboard-
MM: They've taken to using plyboard but they've used just whatever they could find.
MM: Uh huh.
LO: Does the woman fashion the board?
CT: No, that's usually
CT: Well, you mean the board itself or the coverings?
LO: The board itself.
CT: The coverings--yes the woman does that.
LO: The woman does the board.
CT: Mmm hmm.
LO: And the covering.
CT: Mm hmm.
LO: Everything. MM: Hmm hmm.
LO: The men are not involved.
CT: No, the boar-, the men make the board. The board itself.
LO: Okay, that's what I wanted to know.
CT: The men make that, and then the woman does the, well like the covering, you know-
MM: They used to.[Laughs]
LO: They used to.
CT: And, in some cases, uh, well, in my family seems like I'm the one that made the bows, too. All of my children, I made the bows, their father never did make one.
JJ: How do you, yeah, what kind of bow-
MM: It's that part that--
CT: They use rosebush--
MM: The hoop that goes on, the partial hoop that goes
LO: Oh, the hoop, okay.
CT: And why we do, that this is my understanding of the rosebush, anyhow. We do that because uh, it kind of blesses the child.
MM: Keeps the ghosts away.
CT: It's a protection for the child, the rosebush itself, it's a blessing.
LO: You use rosebush exclusively, that's all you use?
CT: That's what I use, uh huh. I always use rosebush.
MM: People have come, starting, they're starting to use, a soft wood, easily bent. Some have used vine maple, and uh, I don't know what that, what kind of wood that is that they're-
CT: I don't know-
MM: --flat, and they're about that wide, they, strips like that.
CT: I think that's cedar. I don't know, but I just think it's cedar.
LO: Yellow cedar or something.
MM: Yeah, I think so.
CT: It's not rosebush.
MM: But I use rosebush, I, I wouldn't use anything else.
LO: When you sing the song, your knees are going in rhythm, with the song.
CT: Mmm hmm. When you're-
MM: Yeah, yeah. Rocking.
LO: And you, that seems to make the child aware of,
MM: Motion, moving.
LO: -of motion, probably similar to when they were in the womb.
CT: Yeah. That's right.
LO: That walking, or
LO: rocking or
CT: --motion. And then when you see their eyes close, well you gradually, you'll kind of slow down. When the eyes close, that's why they close.
LO: You would not sing without moving, probably.
CT: No, no no no. That's part of that.
CT: That same way--
LO: It's like dancing.
LO: Uh, it seems like the native people, when they hear they music, they must dance.
MM: Uh huh.
CT: Well, and, you, you could also sing a song by putting your baby like say [holds doll against body, head on shoulder]--
LO: I see--
CT: Then the baby gets held, just like this--you don't necessarily have to have him in a board.
MM: But you would rock, you would still rock.
CT: Just put him up and hold him up here.
LO: But rocking is always part of it.
CT: Mmm hmm, rocking is ALWAYS a part of it. To me it seems like they're secure, they're, body contact, you might say. Body contact, see that's what was doing with th.at little boy I was talking about, not, just now. I was holding him and, yeah, well, he's a pretty good sized boy now, he's already a year old, so I was doing all I could do to hold him like so. 'Course naturally he was hanging on to me too, though. But after he kind of quiet--uh, you don't have to just make him sleep. You do that for a while. Then after they kind of come out of whatever it's, problem they're having, then you could feel them relax.
LO: Now you're talking about foster children, who need special care.
CT: Yes, special care, mm hmm.
LO: And you used touching.
CT: Mmm hmm.
LO: Can you tell us about that again--'cause we did not have that on tape--just about the touching that they need.
CT: I feel i't's very important for a child like them, because we have a little girl, she's three, and the, the baby, just over a year now. And uh, when, we got--we got 'em back yesterday- I don't have 'em, my daughter has 'em.
CT: And oh, they just, everybody--well we've been going to see them, so they know we're there. But soon as this, everybody seen 'em they just grabbed them and just hugged them. And the, the child, you know, just really hugged onto selves, to everybody in the family. And they, they just had to know that we were there. And so this morning we're still at it. 'Course my, my son and his boys came on home, they went hunting this morning so, just us were there, but she had to come in, the little girl, and let me know that she was there. And I told her, "Well, good!" so she climbed up on the bed with me, and she was layin' there and was feelin' me around, and I was holdin' her all the time. Then she says, "Well, I'm gonna go see Nana now." That's what she calls--that's older sister. Uh, I got a girl--granddaughter--she's thirteen now. So she had to check on her, see where SHE was. So she found her, and so she crawled in bed with her. So she held her for a while, and pretty soon I heard the baby crying, so I got up to see what's happening. But he was just wanting to know, where was Dada? Dada had left the bed without him, his knowledge--he sleeps in a crib, but when he climbs out of his crib, though, now, and he got over on the bed there was no Dada there, just Mom. So they had to assure him that his Dada was there and so he was packin' him around. And this went on all morning, seems like we just, always somebody always had to hold them. So one or the other was always holdin', especially the baby. We call him "baby," he's learning to walk. Then he'd just have to look around, see where everybody was. So I held him for a while, then, I don't really know what happened, but he got to crying. And uh, they couldn't do anything with him so I sat down and they brought him over to me, that's when was singing him that. And he was just tense, so he put his arms around me then I sang to him for awhile. Then I felt him relax then, then I just set him, set him down like this and then I sat holding him. And then we just kept rocking, without saying anything, just rocking. Well, he looked up at me for a while and then he looked around and seen everybody else was still there, so he got down. And he got down and went over to his Nana, raised hell with her for a while. [All laugh) Then he got tired of her, then he went over to his mom, he calls her, Mom. Got over to her and he decided it's time to sleep, so, they got him up and then they holded him there. Then he decides he wanted to dance. You see I sings for them, that's another thing I do. We love to Wasco dance. So I was singing the Wasco dance for them, so they were jumping around there and he was trying to jump, 'course, just top part of his body was jumping, but his sister jumps, alright. And sh- he got tired of that, so he decides it's time to sleep. But then that time I thought, "I'm supposed to be going to Mary Ann's and here I am still fooling around. So I started to leave and the little girl followed me so I had to sit down on--they got an upstairs going up so I sat down on the stair so she sat by me. So we counted toes and we counted noses, and we counted eyes, and hair.
LO: Do you sing a song when you count toes and noses?
CT: No. Just, but we do count, say one two three four five, like that, and we'll count how many noses we have, and how many eyes we got, and mouth. And it just so happens I didn't have my teeth in, at that time. So she says, "teeth?" And so I opened my mouth I told her, "Grandma haala.” Haala means "I don't have any.""Haala."
CT: And then she got a kick out of that. And then she opened her mouth, she said, "Haala." I said, "No, you got your teeth." Then she laughed that, “Grandma haala?" Yeah, then she had to touch me around here. "Grandma haala, no teeth. Oh." Then she said, "Two eyes?" then she had to touch my eyes, yeah that's eyes, then she says, then she said, "Noshno" that's something -we had taught her before. And she remembered on her own, she said "noshno," I says, "Yeah, that's noshno." I says, "Utchutch", eyes. "Um? um?" So she had to touch me, "UM?" I says, "Yeah that's um." Then I showed her "uppup, uppup." Then she had to do that, "uppup." So that's another thing I was doing this morning. We had to play that game for a while, then finally, I told her, “Well, I should go," so I called Shawn--that's my granddaughter—so she called her, said "Licia come here, come look at this book." They had t.v. going. So she ran over to her. But she just got to her and she spun right around and she come back to me as if she- knew I was gettin' ready to go. So I made believe I was doing something with my feet. So she says, "Grandma?" I said, "What." "You going after Harry? Going after Kuku?" "Yeah, maybe I'll go after them." And here, they'd gone hunting, I had no idea where they were at. "Oh." She sat there for a while then she said, "Noshno?", I said "No-" then she wanted to play again. So okay, so I pulled her to me and we played again. Uppup, and we went through the whole thing. And, I guess she was satisfied then, so she went back to Nana. So I left, and--
LO: So it takes time, every day. Lots of time.
CT: It takes time every day. You have to assure them that you love them. You just, it's just something that needs to be done.
LO: The Wasco song--is that the Welcome song?
CT: No, the, it's the Wasco Dance.
CT: It's a dance, it's just a jumping song.
LO: Okay. Is that something you can sing for us, or not?
MM: Only if you dance. [laughs]
CT: If you'll get up and dance.
LO: Me? Okay. I'll dance.
CT: I can't think of which one I was singing. I'll sing you the one that SHE likes to do, we call it "bitsla ho."
LO: "Bitsla ho?" CT: Mmm hmm. LO: And what does that mean?
CT: It's a shuffle dance. LO: Shuffle dance. CT: Shuffle dance, uh huh. Uh, she 1-, she learned that from watching Shawn. She liked that, and she thought that was pretty good. So that's the one that I usually sing for her. It's called Bitsla ho--I don't know what that means, really, but it's Bitsla ho. [All laugh]
Oh, bitsla ho.
Bitsla, bitsla bitsla bitsla ho.
Oh, bitsla ho.
Oh, bitsla ho.
Bitsla bitsla bitsla bitsla ho.
Oh, bitsla ho.
Oh, bitsla ho--you're dancing with your hands behind your back. Bitsla bitsla bitsla--and then you, it goes faster and faster. Oh, bitsla ho--you go so far and then you back up.
Oh, bitsla ho.
Bitsla bitsla bitsla bitsla ho.
Just like that you quit. And you're supposed to stop right there. That's what they call the Bitsla ho.
LO: Is it a game?
MM: No, it's a dance.
CT: It 's a dance.
LO: Is it for children?
MM: For every- adults.
CT: For anybody.
CT: Anybody, uh huh. It's a shuffle dance, you're just shuffling. Actually--
LO: Is it for fun?
CT: Yes, it's a fun dance, we call it "fun dance." And uh, what you're doing is, you're going forward, slow, first. And then you get so far, then you start backing up. And that long, you're dancing, long as that song is going you don't stop on your own. Then you come back, and then if you get back to where you started, and that song is still going, well you go forward again.
LO: Is it done in rows?
CT: Well, we used to do it in a line, but they have been doing it in rows. But we used to do it in line, we had to get in line. So you had to careful of the person that was behind you too, though. But you all had to go, shuffle backwards. Then you go forward again if you had to. It's a fun dance, and that's what we like to do with her.
LO: It's for men and women?
CT: No, it's for women, just women.
LO: Women only.
CT: Just women only, uh huh.
LO: No men around.
CT: Oh, they can watch.
LO: They can watch.
CT: They have their own dances. That's the Wasco—I don't really know what kind of a dance it is, but we call it "Bitsla ho."
LO: Does "Bitsla ho" have a meaning? "Stop?”
MM: Well, it's probably from the Chinook jargon, it sounds to me.
CT: Jargon. It sounds like it's just something that you do.
MM: I was just listening to it on tape, they say, "Pitshla ho."
LO: And the Wascos have done that for a long time, huh?
CT: Uh. We do it once in a while when Mary Ann and I have any kind of a crew going, well, we'll do it. But we do have it going when we have the Little Miss Warm Springs Pageant. We do that every other year, and that's one of the things they have to learn. It's a fun dance, it was meant as a fun dance.
LO: Are you Wasco, also Mary Ann?
MM: Yes, I’m half Wasco.
LO: I see, I see.
MM: But my knowledge is more with the Warm Springs.
LO: I see.
CT: But uh, we register--I'm registered—I imagine she is too--registered as Wasco.
CT: My grandfather was full Wasco, my father was Wasco.
LO: Are there Wishram people here, as well?
CT: The same thing. LO: Same. JJ: Wasco and Wishram. CT: Same thing. LO: Okay. CT: They’re Wascos too, same as we are, but—LO: Okay. CT: -what happened, as I understand it, there's a--everybody lived along the river, and then, when we got pushed back a way, they pushed part of us this way and part of us that way.
LO: Yes. Now, do you know Howard Jim?
CT: Yes. MM. Mmm hmm.
LO: Now, what group is that? Celilo?
CT: Well, he's Yakima. LO: He's Yakima? MM: Yeah. CT: He 's Yakima. LO: Okay. CT: All of those people that live in Celilo are Yakimas.
LO: Is he related to Geraldine Jim? Not.
CT: No. MM: No, she's an in-law. I think she's probably related to Howard, Wilfred, so she's more or less an in-law to him. CT: Richard Jim was her father-in-law, I don't know if they're related. MM: I don't either. CT: I don't think so. She's from here, so, she's a Walsey.
LO: Now, you mentioned that this was a song that you sang to the girl. There must be other Wasco dances-- CT: Yeah, there are a lot of Wasco dances. MM: Mmm hmm. LO: --that are just for fun?
CT: Yeah, all our dances are, we call them fun dances. LO: Okay. CT: These people usually get together, they are the Wasco people. This "Bitsla," though, that, that just uh, anybody can do it. But there are Wasco Dance songs, that you would just strictly by this group and they put on a dance, and, they bring out all their dances, I can't think of all the songs right off the bat, now,--
LO: But there are a lot of songs.
CT: There are a lot of songs. MM: Mmm hmm. CT: You just about have to see it to hear, sure as I'm--
LO: But do those songs still exist? CT: Yes. LO: Maybe 20, 30 songs, how many? Lots? 100? 5?
CT: I can't say. Oh, there's quite a few of them, I can't say how many there
are. Lot of them sound pretty much alike, but there is a difference in them.
LO: And you keep them alive, you keep the songs going.
CT: We try to.
MM: Our, uh, chief of the Wascos is real knowledgeable of those Wasco songs, for the dances. The Wasco people danced for every-- they had--any occasion they'd get excited about, they'd, they'd dance, do a dance and, sing a song. I was trying to pump Viola's brain yesterday for a little bit of knowledge about the Wasco Dance we want to do over the weekend next week. And the one--
CT: Well long ago those dances used to be just for fun, too, you didn't have to dress up to dance. MM: Huh uh. JJ: Mmmmm.
LO: But some are by men-- CT: Yeah. LO: --and some are by women. CT&MM: Mmm hmm. CT: In the Wasco dance, yes.
LO: Do the, do the men keep their songs alive, pretty well? CT: Yes. LO: Who's the chief, that you talk about, Mary Ann?
MM: His name is Nelson Wallulatum. LO: Walluatum? MM: Wa-lu-la-tum. LO: Wallulatum. Nelson Wallulatum. MM: Hmm hmm. He's, he knows a lot of songs for the different dances, so uh, in my memory I can only hear 4 or 5 songs but I know there's more than that.
CT: I know them when I hear them, but I, I, just pretty much have to hear them, to sing 'em.
JJ: Are there, um, Wasco dances that men and women do together, or are they all separate?
MM: Yeah, uh huh.
CT: Some of those dances, as I understand it, were kind of traded off from other people, like the Klamath people, or Coast people? They kind of traded off, guess when they used to gather together. And they just kind of traded dances. Showed one another.
MM: Gifted. Gifted.
JJ: Uh, huh. Given.
LO: Through marriage or something?
MM: No, just, happiness, for seeing each other. Uh, according to Viola, who is the sister of Nelson W., she said the Wasco people and the Coast were pretty close in social gathering, they, because they traded, I guess that was their favorite trading tribe, for the different foods.
LO: So they would have picked up jargon, used a lot of jargon?
T&MM: Yes, a lot of jargon.
LO: Do you have, in your repertoire, some jargon songs?
MM: Not me, I don't. CT: No. Huh uh.
MM: My father used to have some but I never did learn them.
LO: We have old, old tapes of lullabies in jargon.
CT: Mmm. You'll have to make some and then send me a set of one.
LO: I have with me [MM answering phone in background]--oh, she must have turned her phone down--I have with me some old tapes, of uh, very old recordings, which sometime we can play for you.
CT: Really, we could--maybe we still sing some of the songs.
LO: Yeah. Um, these were recorded in 1927, I think. Um, and if you'd like--
CT: But that's not really THAT old.
LO: Yeah, huh? JJ: [laughs] LO: No, but recording, the recording industry was born in 1890, in 1890 or something like that, so it was a new industry, even in 18, in 1927, it was kind of new, still.
JJ: Yeah, and then if there are old people singing the songs,
CT: Yeah, old people singing them, yeah. I see.
LO: But uh, it might cause you to remember some other things, if you'd like to hear these, I could play them for you, a couple of 'em at least.
CT: Well, I could given you a legendary dance.
LO: Legendary, out of a story? That would be marvelous.
CT: Well, uh, I'm not too sure--one or the other will have to tell the story, we'd better wait on that one, 'cause it's a legendary dance, and you have to be telling the legend as the song is going.
LO: Oh, at the same time.
CT: Hmm hmm, at the same time, we do this dance a lot. I'll sing you a, a song that's a, we use as a Wasco dance, but it actually comes from the Coast.
LO: Oh. But you use it now?
CT: But we sing it and we do it a lot. It's a group of people, both sides, the men on one side, the ladies on the other. When they sing the song they go, together, back and forth like that, their hands, and they meet, and they go backwards again the same way. LO: Yes. CT: This is called Wasco Dance. Aah, just like that it slipped out of my mind.
Yu, yu, yu papa
Yu, Yu, Yu papa
Haah--and they spin around.
Okay, gonna do same one again.
Yu, yu, yu kante
Yu, yu, yu kante
Yu, yu, yu kante--you always sing with your
Yu, yu, yu kante--feathers
Yu, yu, yu kante--okay you're going backwards
Yu, yu, yu kante
Yu, yu, yu kante
Yu, yu, yu kante,
Yaah! (you turn around )Heyaah!
That's a fun dance. Call it, Call it Yupa Dance. We do that a lot. [Laughs] It's fun.
LO: Do those words have a meaning?
CT: No. Well, it probably does, but, I don't like to translate because I may not be telling it right. But that's what you call, one of the Wasco Dances that we do.
LO: Can you, can you tell, by the words, that it is a fun dance, at least? Do the words give you anything information?
CT: Yeah, it gives you much, they do, because, uh, that's, I've never actually heard anybody give an explanation as to why this is done. But they do, some e of our dances are, like she was talkin' about the proposal dance, that's that's done as, and it's explained why it's done like that. But this dance here, I've just seen it all the time but I've never really heard what it means, other than the fact that they're coming together as two lines, then they go backward, and they get clear back, it depends, there's no set time limit for this song. They could also come back again. LO: Over and over and over-- CT: --over, uh huh. Just whenever, see there's usually one or two drummers. They're not dancing, they're just drumming, that's another thing I forgot to say. They're, they're just drumming. LO: They're men? JJ: On a hand drum? CT: Men, or women, whichever. The hand drum--she has hand drums, right there.
LO: Can women play hand drum? CT: Mmm Hmm. LO: It's okay?
CT: NOW, it's okay. Yeah, but used to be just men used to do it.
LO: When did that change?
CT: Well, just gradually, I can't say. Just gradually, the women started taking over because the men don't hardly do it anymore. Well, what's happened here, we've had deaths in the family that used to sing with Nelson. All the young men have passed on, so, there isn't anyone that can sing with him. There are men--my son dances those dances. The one I was talking about going to school up there? LO: Yes. CT: He dances those, but then, he's just a dancer, he don't sing. You can sing, if you want, when you're out there.
LO: So, because of the deaths of some of the men in the family, sometimes the women-- CT: The women do it-- LO: --take over?
CT: Oh huh. We have s- on occasion we've had to sing those songs. And uh, the last one, the last death we had in that family, he was in a wheelchair. So usually we got around him and he then drummed it and we sang with him. We sang with him as he started the song. Oh, there's a lot of songs, I can't think of them. And uh, these young people know the dances, so, they never tell you what kind of dance you're gonna do, they just start the song. Then you have to know what kind of dance it is. Some of them they call the root digging dance, and some they call just a fun dance....
END OF TAPE ONE, SIDE A
Subject: Caroline Towhet and Mary Ann Meanus
Interviewer: Loran Olsen and Judy Jones
Location: Warm Springs, Oregon
Jones File name: MM&CTlb.DOC
TAPE ONE, SIDE B:
CT:.... I can sing you the Going-Out Dance, maybe after a while I'll think of the Coming-In Dance. This is, this is--
LO: This is after a--
CT: After all the dances are over, then you're leaving.
Ay--you got two feathers.
Ayah heya, ayah heya, ayah heya, ayah heya, ayah heya, (etc.)
Ayah he--you're going out the door now
Ayah heya--and after everybody gets clear out
Ay--and then the drum picks up its beat
Ayah--then everybody dances, just go around again.
Ayah heya, ayah heya, ayah heya, ayah heya, ayah heya, ayah heya
--Aah, then they quit and they say Heya!--everybody's hands go up, come back down. Heya! again, down. Last time--Heya! Then everybody turns, and that's fun to watch. It's really a loy of fun to watch. That's, that's Leaving Song, that's a farewell song, that one. But uh, I can't think of the Comin'-In Song.
LO: Do you play the drum when you sing that song?
CT: Yes. Well, usually the drummers take the lead on it. They take the lead and then everybody falls in line behind them, the men first. ALWAYS the men first. And then the women come in behind.
LO: Would you talk about "always the men first"? Why?
CT: Yes, uh, in anything, anything we do, it's always the men first, it's always been like that. They come in first if, when something's happening, like see if now if we went to a funeral, the men'd come in first and shake hands with the people. Well, after a while the women follow suit and the children. The children didn't necessarily have to be by themselves, but usually we don't take children to funerals. On any kind of gathering, the men always take the lead, and the men, I mean the ladies follow suit. And if we went uh, now like I'm talking about, that root gathering? Well, the men go hunting. Okay, they get home, and the ladies all come in with their roots, then there's someone there ringing bell, in there, ringing the bell. And then this man puts a whole deer on his shoulder. They can't skin it, nothing, it's got to be whole. Just gut it, puts it, and he packs that in. And uh, then following it is the piaxe-- LO: Piaxe. CT: Piaxe. And then the xoush, xoush. And the luksh, and sawitk, uh huh, and that, those are fresh. But the waqumo, it's not 'til later, so we can't have it there--they all come in at the same time. This is for root feast. And then huckleberry feast, it's the salmon that comes in first. Then the deer meat, the deer, and uh, berries, huckleberries, then the chokecherries. And there's always someone there to see that they're doing it right.
LO: Those foods go together.
CT: Yes. And what they do, they have a, they call it aoshnich. There's a uxle and it's--oh, too bad they don't have any here, I have it at my house. We have a uxle that, the, they go down, just as they're brought in. They circle clear around first. And then after they circle, then they sing a song. Usually the, the head woman, that's carrying the piaxe, sings a song, on the roots, this is root feast, now. Okay, she gets through singing a song, then they say a prayer. Then they go around and they lay down the, just as they are. This is roots. It's all part of a ritual, it has to be done that way. And it's the same way with the huckleberries. This is when they first get back from the fields. And it's same way with the huckleberries, they have to do it the same thing. And then they, the lady sings a song, gets through singing the song, and then who ever they ask to pray does the praying, then they lay down their food, all in a line.
LO: The lady, lady only, sings the song.
CT: No, the men sing too, but she usually starts the song, mm hm, starts the song, mm hmm.
JJ: Are there, um,
CT: So, that's, that's the way of the roots, I can tell you that. I don't know what else to tell you about. This is our feast, annual feast that we have.
LO: Is that with, in the longhouse?
CT: This is all in the longhouse, yes.
LO: Where is your longhouse?
CT: Long-, well, we have one in Simnasho, and then we have one in Agency.
LO: Do you go to either one?
CT: Either one, uh huh. The huckleberry feast, that's in Hihi, that's another longhouse up there, huckleberry feast. There's a big longhouse up there. In Hihi they put up tipis, and they live in the tipis.
LO: What time of year?
CT: That's usually done, let's see, late summer--August, August’s, first week in August, usually. That's, but the huck-, the root feast, that's done in April. April, uh huh. Depends on the roots, 'cause, uh huh, depends on the roots.
JJ: Now, in the root feast, you said that was when they first bring the roots back. What, do they then prepare some to eat?
CT: Well first they, they have to leave the roots out there, until everyone shows up. There's various places you get roots, now. You don't find 'em a11 in one place, there's certain kind of roots that's, across here, that's piaxe and luksh. Then the xoush is clear on the other end.of the reservation. And then these people that come in, they go out in groups, and uh, they come in, they have to leave their roots inside 'til everybody, outside 'til everybody shows up. Then they go out there and bring it in.
LO: So they're waiting.
CT: Uh huh, 'til everybody shows up.
LO: And they're talking, laughing?
CT: Oh yeah, they're just coming and maybe they, they're all bundled up and everything so they take that off, and maybe, there's someone in the kitchen that has coffee and a meal ready for them, already.
LO: Does, do the roots stay, then, for a celebration?
CT: Yeah, they stay in the bags. Where you, they, they're right there, after they get through bringing them in and go through the rituals there, then they eat. And after they get through eating, then you bring the roots in and the, the, the deer is all taken apart and put into the freezer. And uh, uh huh.
LO: Spread out to everybody.
CT; No no, no. You put it away. And then the roots are brought in, and you have aoshnich, then when everybody's through eating, then you peel. That's harder than going digging. You peel all the roots.
CT: Uh huh, you work together, it's all put together. Then they wash, then they put, usually put in the freezer or something. Then the next day, oh, no, let's see, usually go on Wednesdays, then Thursday if they don't get enough, then they peel, and they peel, and they peel and they peel. By Sunday it all has to be peeled--that's when you cook. Of course there's other foods with it, thought. LO: Big-- CT: Big pots.
LO: Big prayer, and big service on Sunday.
CT: Yes, on Sunday. They usually have this uh, what do you call it, Washat service. Uh huh, that's the Seven Drum religion.
LO: That's not feather, not the feather religion?
CT: No, well, no. LO: Different. CT: This is uh, well it's still the same thing but they have different kind of songs. Still the same thing, but we have different kind of songs. This here is Washat song, that's when they have, usually, seven sevens. LO: Yes. CT: This is Sunday morning, then. Well, they could have it Sunday, Saturday night too, if they want. Then they get through with that, then they set table. Then they get through with that, then they sing, the drummers sit down, and they bring the, the, the salmon comes in first, which is usually frozen, then the meat, then the piaxe--two people carry each of those. Sometimes two, sometimes three. There'll be three men to carry the salmon, and three men to carry the meat, then three women on the piaxe, three on the luksh, three on the, so forth, on down the line, 'til you've got enough--make sure there're three, of everyone, make sure that they all keep in line. I don't care how close they watch, though, somewhere along the line something's gonna go wrong. [All laugh) It never fails.
JJ: Are these people selected to do--?
CT: Yes, they're selected. Usually, it used to be handed down. You know, like say, the mother led. Then she got gone or she got disabled or got too old, or something. Well, usually her daughter took over, right there in her spot. 'Course she had been, see like I said are three, now. Okay, here's the mother, here's the daughter, and maybe a cousin or something, or just another [ ], take the third place. What happens here, this one gets either disabled or dies, the mo-, daughter moves. Then instead they put another one here. The second person moves up next to her, then the third person is a new one, that put in there. That's how it used to be, but today don't ask me how it is. Mary Ann maybe knows. [Mary Ann is returning to the room after completing her phone call.]
MM: Uh, what is that?
CT: We're talking about the service and the roots.
MM: Oh, I, I don't get involved with that. [laughs]
LO: You were going to do a legend song?
CT: Oh yeah, but uh, you want to tell or you want to sing, the Legendary Dance?
MM: Oh with the butterfly? CT: Mmm hmm. MM: Oh, whatever. CT: You a better storyteller th—[laughs].
MM: [Laughs] I was gonna let you listen to that tape, too, that I have of uh, the ladies--
LO: Okay. And have a tape, too, for you to listen to.
MM: Oh, great. Okay, you want to, you need a drum? You want to make it authentic?
CT: Yeah, just as well.
MM: Have to use my wasklik drums.
CT: You don't have no little hand drums? You'll have to make one.
MM: [getting out drum] Don't be surprised if she gets under the spirit because these are service drums. [laughs]
LO: They're, they're kept very carefully, aren't they?
CT: They have to be.
MM: I don't know which, sticky one. [offering CT two different drum beaters] Which one's easier to hold on to?
CT: [holds each, chooses one] If it slips out of my hand, now [beats drum a couple times]. MM: [laughs]
LO: It's gonna be difficult because you're going to have to play soft.
CT: Uh huh, I am. I just wanted to try it out. 'Kay, you ready? [beginning to beat in rhythm, starts to SING]
MM: Okay, this, this particular song, dance, is the legend of the butterfly, how it came into being, and uh. Many years ago, when the people and the animals were like one they communicated with each other, and could uh, speak to each other, and the story's about a couple that had met. And they married, and they lived a long and happy life together, fruitful life. And as fate would have it, she lost her spouse, and she was very sad. She enshrouded herself in a cocoon, flung herself into thee river, and flowed to and fro as the current would carry her, past many mountains, many valleys, feeling very sad, moaning and groaning, in her sorrow. She flowed on and on, then one day she heard a voice speak to her. "You can not go on this way, for life is meant for the living, and there is much yet that you must do." So she flowed on, she came upon some beautiful land, and she, [looks at Caroline] she flung off her cocoon [here drum beat and song change] and danced around and flitted about. [Sings in unison with Caroline, then music ends.] And there she flits about, and you see the butterfly flitting about today. [Caroline laughs]
LO: That's beautiful!
MM: That's just kind of our own version of that legend. CT: Everybody has their own version-- MM: Everybody has their own- CT: --how the butterfly came to be— MM: --how the butterfly came to existence.
JJ: Sothere's a dance that goes with that?
MM: Yes, there's a dance that goes with that.
CT: We used to dance it.
MM: The ladies--this is for gals and ladies, young ladies--they cover themself with their shawl. Then they stoop over and they step, zig-zag like that. Then it comes to where they fling off her cocoon, they throw them shawls off and then they dance about. So it's, it's fun.
LO: Women only?
MM: Women only.
CT: After all, it's a woman that got left, which it usually is.
MM: Uh huh, that's right.
LO: Do you have a language for women, that you use for yourselves? Is there a language, or a little kind of speech, or whatever, that is exclusive for women, in your culture?
MM: I don't think so. CT: I don't think so. MM: The only difference we have is baby talk and adult talk. That's, that's the only, uh, thing that I could think of, where it would be...
LO: Could you give an example, of that?
MM: Uh, Caroline's more fluent in the language. Could you give some baby talk? It's kind of like, the song she was singing, uh, like we have the sound sha, cha, well, we don't use those with the babies, we use the "s" sss, say "muss". Like, my little grandson, his name is ‘tsil ‘tsil uchash, he's uh, he's only, oh, how old is he, six? And rather than say “ ‘tsil ‘tsil uchash” we say “ ‘itsil ‘itsil utsas”, because he’s little.
LO: Yeah. Do men use “utsas”? Or is it just women use “utsas”?
MM: Oh, anyone, anyone who is speaking, will, they'll refer, revert to baby talk, what we call baby talk, when they're talking to little children.
LO: I see.
MM: Then uh, then when they speak to an adult, then it's more on the provincial manner.
LO: You have a very good education. Where'd you--
MM: Me? High school. High school [laughs].
LO: High school education. Where did you go to school?
MM: To Madras.
LO: Madras, Oregon.
MM: Uh huh, uh huh.
LO: Did you go to, um, where did you go to grade school?
MM: Over here at the boarding school, the boarding school, where I went for eight years.
LO: Yes. Which, where is that?
MM: It's right here on the agency property, it 's about three miles down the road.
LO: So you could stay at home.
MM: No, we stayed at the school, at the dormitory, that was required, for my age. From I think, maybe, 2-3 years, gall, when did it close, in 1955? No--
CT: I think the highest grade it ever went up to was the sixth grade.
MM: Well, it went up to twelfth grade, Rabbit and, Rabbit--
CT: Oh, did it? Well, that was the highest it was when I was in school. That's about--
LO: You were in school?
CT: I don 't even remember when it did close.
MM: Rabbit and them graduated, Evelyn Squimpty, graduated from there. Uh, forty, forty-six, it closed, the high school portion of it closed-- CT: Yeah, the high school. And you know we had-- MM: So it went up through eight grades. And gradually it's going down again, it only goes to the fifth grade now.
LO: [to CT] And what about your education?
CT: My education? Well, I went to the same school, but up 'til the, uh, sixth grade, then I skipped seventh, and the eighth grade, and I got my G.E.D.
CT: Uh huh. And that's the funny part of it, was uh, I just dropped out of school. But uh, they told us, "we're gonna have G.E.D. class" so okay. So they ha-, went out, I got late, so I got there, late as usual. So they handed us out four different kinds of, five, five different kinds of papers, tests. Okay, "gee, I'm late!" So I sat down I just went right through my math, and that's the hardest one, then I went through, I don't remember what all, but anyway, I ended up with just literature I hadn't finished yet. And they went around picking up their papers. “I am not even done, can I finish this?" "Fin-, you know you don't have, you're coming back." "Oh, am I?" "Yeah." Here I had the idea we had to finish all of those, that night!
LO: Yes. But you had more time.
CT: Yeah, I, I ran out of time, I only finished four of them!. [all laugh]
LO: So, how did you do at the end? CT: I passed. LO: Wonderful. CT: I was one of, one of the top three that did--I just passed! But we still went ahead and took the class anyhow. Three of us passed without it.
MM:... refresher courses.
LO: [to MM] Do you do a lot of reading? You yourself?
MM: Oh, yeah, I read, I like to read inspirational books, religious.
LO: You have a wonderful vocabulary, big vocabulary.
MM: Well, well, when they uh, forbid us to speak our language at the boarding school-- CT: Yeah, that's another thing. MM: --I thought "I'm gonna speak on your level, then," so, I, I like to play a lot of word games.
LO: You have determination inside yourself that you're going to--
MM: But as a result I lost the fluency of my native tongue, then. I speak phrases, words, but I, I don't speak it fluently. Yeah, but I understand, pretty much.
LO: Would you refer to her [Caroline] as a fluent speaker of your tongue?
MM: Yes, yes, she is.
LO: I see.
CT: Well I had an advantage, I was the youngest of ten children, and I had an older brother and an older sister in school. So I always knew how to talk Eng lish. So when I came to school I was talking both Indian and English. And I have never forgotten. I still--.
LO: You, you had good teachers with you of both languages at all times.
CT: Uh huh, uh huh. Yes, they, all of us talked Indian at home and we all talked English too, my parents both understood English, so, I just really had an advantage over some of the kids that came in that did not have anyone in their families to, you know, to talk English. All they talked at home was Indian. So they're the ones that they were after, really, they were trying to get them to forget their Indian language in order to learn English.
LO: Mmm hmm.
JJ: Yeah, but, you were already fluent in both, so.
CT: Mmm hmm. Well, I wasn't really a, I didn't know Everything, but I did understand in English. See you could, you set stuck into a boarding school where you're just THERE. You just have to listen to what the teach-, the, and uh, the schools that they have now, the buildings that they have now, weren't there, when I went to school. We had just one great big building, the boys on one side and the girls on the other, with a dividing in between, of course. And we all had to, the older ones stayed down below, the, us little guys got put upstairs, I don't know why. Great, big dormitory. High beds about like so. MM: Yeah. CT: Boy, you should've seen some of us try to get up on those beds, I don't know where they-- MM: And we'd be-- CT: --just rejects from some military, I guess is what they gave us.
MM: And at home we didn't have beds, we slept on the floor, on pallets.
MM: Not too many people had beds.
CT: And we had to make our own beds.
MM: And we were never just one family in a home, we had all extended family living with us-- LO: Yes. MM: --all the time. LO: Yes. MM: And uh …
LO: Have you been invaded by anthropologists a lot, have you had a lot--
MM: Yes. We are the most studied reservation.
CT: They're coming out of our ears. [Both laughing]
LO: Well, I thought maybe the Nez Perces were, but I, I thought you, certainly the University of Oreg--Ted Sturnin probably was over here a lot.
MM: Yes, yeah, we, and we have an anthropologist working uh, as uh, you know, employee, he's working in our Culture and Heritage department.
LO: Who is that?
MM: I don't know his name--Dan Madsen ?
LO: Uh, huh. MM: I think? LO: Not, he's not Indian.
MM: No, no. And it's really funny, we're trying to recapture our language, so we have a linguist, who speaks more fluently than many of the young people (laughs). He murders the language, of course, but--
LO: Is that Rigsby?
MM: No. His name is Morrison, Henry Morrison. And we had Mr. French, Mr. and Mrs. French out here, uh, working with some of the older, older people.
CT: They still come, now and then.
MM: Do they? I never see them but I hear. Um, boy we're fast loosing our real elders that were here when the reservation was formed.
LO: Do you feel that some of these people, these anthropologists or linguists, are now being helpful to you?
MM: Oh-- CT: Frank is. MM: --in a way, yes, they are. They're, they're really interested in helping us to get back a lot of what we've lost. And uh, the one thing that nobody has touched on is our religions, and we're kind of stingy on those. [Laughs]
LO: I know, I talked with uh, some of the Yakimas, couple months ago. Uh, Mr. Yallup, and Mr. Speedus, and Mr. Menanick, Meneinick, about that. And Mr. Speedus was saying, the one thing that they were hanging on to, that they were n--I was saying it's so difficult to find information about that, and he said well that's, they're, they wanted to keep it that way. That that was one of the few things that they had left, and they wanted to keep it sacred, and they wanted to keep it close. I said fine, that makes good sense. Um, and uh, maybe you're approaching it a similar, similar way.
MM: Mmm hmm, yeah.
CT: He grew up here. LO: Yes.
MM: Walter Speedus.
CT: He's my cousin.
LO: I gave him a tape of his great-grandfather singing.
MM: Ooooh, gee, great, great.
LO: On, on uh, it was recorded on what we call wax cylinders, maybe you are aware of the, remember that book I passed around at the meeting? Well, some of the early Joseph songs and things like that, of the Nez Perces, were on wax cylinders. And Mr. Speedus' grandparent, great-grandparent showed up in a early recording, so uh, I sent him that, 'cause he was excited about knowing about it.
MM & CT: Yeah. MM: Oh, I should say.
LO: I think that's something we can do, maybe, still, rather than collect we can probably give back some things--
MM: Yeah. CT: Oh, I'd sure appreciate it.
LO: --'cause they're scattered over the country. MM: Uh, huh.
LO: So I can, I can play you some of these tapes, and you've got some tapes.
MM: Yeah, I, I have one that some ladies did, of these same songs that we were s—[tape paused while she gets the tape] --two on the end, there, on, on your left? JJ: Yeah. MM: Those two are, they are the el-- CT: The elder ladies. MM: --elderly ladies and they're gone, both of them, but the three, other three, Adeline, Bernice, and Ada, are still living.
JJ: Mmm hmm, okay.
CT: Did you hear, Ellen that, Ellen-- MM: Mmm hmm.
LO: Do those three other ladies on the right, do they go to Simnasho Longhouse?
MM: No, they, when they go to the longhouse they go down here, at the agency.
LO: Agency Longhouse.
MM: Yeah, we have Simnasho Area, Agency Area, and Tsiktsikwa Area.
LO: Which do you go to if you go? Agency?
MM: The Agency Longhouse.
LO: Who are the leading singers? [MM: laughs softly] You? [CT: Laughs]
MM: Well, we have one, we have one person, she's our close relative, uh, she is, uh, designated a leader in that longhouse, her name is Prosanna Williams.
LO: Prosanna Williams.
MM: But we all sing, we all, I think my age and older.
CT: What we're lackin' in, is a man.
MM: Yeah, we don't have any men leaders, anymore.
LO: So, here again, from her project, we see that when the men are not--either they've deceased or they're not participating--the women have the right to step in and take over, to keep things goin'.
JJ: Mmm hmm, mmm hmm.
CT: They have to.
MM: And we don't know why! I, I don't know why there were never any men to take over vacancies that have been left. We do have a couple of young men that are up and coming, uh-- CT: If she'd let them. MM: --Rex, Rex Robinson and Wilson Wewa, and--
LO: But Wilson is a Piaute.
MM: Yeah. He's half, half Piaute and uh, Umatilla.
LO: Oh, I didn't know that, okay.
MM: Yeah, his uh,
LO: So, he goes to Agency, does he?
MM: Yeah. He's comfortable in either place, he, he can go either place and is well accepted, but uh...
LO: We had him up to our campus last--
MM: Oh? CT: Yeah, he did say--
LO: --April, and uh, you know, we, we have a good relationship with Wilson.
MM: Mmm hmm, yeah.
CT: He's, he's really good, I think he is.
LO: He's a very sincere man, almost, almost too serious sometimes.
MM: [laughs heartily]
CT: Yeah, that's what I was onna say, almost, too. That's what I was gonna say, too.
MM: Yeah, I'm going to turn this off, that's beginning to squeak again.
MM: But, uh, anyway, we're, my boys are learning, I hope that one day they'll take their place, there in the drum line.
LO: Do you feel comfortable talking about the Feather Religion?
MM: Well, yeah. [laughs] I have, in fact, I have paper, a dissertation someone did in 1935--
LO: DuBois? Cora DuBois?
MM: Yes, yes. LO: Okay. MM: You know of her? Do you know if she’s still living?
LO: No, I don't, I just know that that paper is one that people rely on, a lot.
MM: Uh huh, yeah. CT: Is that the one Wilson brought back? MM: Mmm hmm. Maybe that 's where, he said he got it from the University.
LO: He got it from WSU, yes, uh huh, that's right. MM: Oh.
CT: He said he looked everywhere for that, he travels a lot.
LO: Yeah. He's asked me for other things, I try to send him whatever he asks me for, you know. We do it free of charge because, I feel that, this university has a, like I said at the meeting, we have a job to do, for the area, just like Oregon State is supposed to do. But unfortunately, some of the wheat farmers have benefited more than the Indians have.
MM: Yeah, [laughs] right.
LO: And uh, we hope maybe that will change a little bit.
MM: Uh huh. Yeah.
LO: But, uh, do the Feather people meet in a certain location?
MM: Uh, no, not really, depends, now, right at the moment, we are without a designated leader, because the elder that passed on failed to uh, say you, to the group, this person will stand in my place when I'm gone. And I, I don't know if that's what happened in the past--my father, and her [CT] father, and-- CT: Mother. MM: --and her mother were members of this group and, and usually the men were the leaders.
LO: What were their names, your--
MM: Oh, my father's name was Frank Winishat.
LO: Frank Winishat.
MM: Uh huh, and her father's name was Bill Kachaya.
LO: Bill Kachaya.
MM: Uh huh, and then there was-- CT: Elisa Kachaya.
LO: Elisa Kachaya. MM: Um.
CT: That time, this religion that you're talkin' about was practiced pretty much in the home all the time.
LO: In home.
MM: Just in the homes, yeah.
CT: In the various homes. It was, it was, it was a thing, to, sit at the table and, if you didn't sing a song at least say a prayer, and drink your water before you eat. LO: Yes. CT: And I still practice that in my home, it's very, so-- MM: Yeah, so do I. CT --I grew up in it, and I'm teaching my children the same way.
LO: [to MM] Well you even did that for us-- MM: In-- LO: At that celebration-- MM: --mmm hmm. LO: --in Pullman. MM: Mm hm. LO: Oh, when you led us in our prayer before we ate. MM: Yeah, uh huh. LO: And it's appropriate, I think, to always thank, say thanks for your food, one way or another.
MM: Yeah, for everything! Every little thing. I'm reading a book now, it's called "Medicine Power," by uh, Steiger, I believe, Rod Steiger? He's uh--
LO: The actor?
MM: That's what I was thinking, but I don't think it is, I think it's a different person. It's spelled differently. So, and he speaks of all this, uh, way of life, you know, that the Indian have had, that, I really, it's really jarring my memory, when I read these and, as I listened as a child--it was never given to me directly, but I'd be sitting nearby as the elders spoke, and uh, some of this comes back, you know it is a similar, urn, concept that they had of their way of life. And I think, I was just going to say earlier that, about my age, my generation is when they began to tell us, ".You need to speak English, you need to learn all you can, because that's what's going to help you, when you grow up." Because the world was changing, the ways were changing. In, in my home in particular, a lot of English was spoken because my mother was Wasco and my father was Warm Springs, and the Wascos could speak the Warm Springs language, but the Warm Springs couldn't even understand the Wasco language, it’s that difficult, to speak, learn.
LO: What's the base--is Wasco Sahaptin?
MM: No, it's-- LO: It's Chinookan, isn't it? MM: Yes. LO: Okay, alright.
CT: My grandfather was full Wasco, but he could talk all three languages.
LO: Which three?
CT: He talked, uh, Wascoan, Warm Springs and the Piaute. And Jargon to boot.
MM: Yeah, that's what this reservation comprises of, the Warm Springs, the Wasco, and the Piaute. The Warm Springs was the predominant tribe, but uh, there's a lot of intermarriage now, inter-racial marriage, so, we have a lot of mixtures.
LO: The Feather Religion is a hea--, has a healing characteristic, does it not?
MM & CT: Yes.
MM: I was told by the same leader we talked about, Pruny, that it was an arm of the Washani. LO: Yes. MM: And it was the healing, but I, to me, I think it's separate, because it was given separately, to--
CT: Well, w-, what, we, talkin' about Longhouse. Now you do not do the Feather Religion in a longhouse, no. It's done in homes.
LO: In your home.
MM & CT: Mm hm. LO: And only--
CT: And the only longhouse we would do it in would be the one she's talkin' about, the elder? LO: Oh. CT: He has a big room there. That's about the only one, but, but it would not be done in the longhouse.
LO: Is Pruny, does Pruny stick to the Longhouse?
MM: Uh huh. No, she's a, she's a, old Wasklik member, but she chose to go on to the medicine type, medicine, uh, uh, singing, and healing in that method, where you beat the sticks, and, see.
LO: And that's different from Feather.
MM: It's different from Feather, and different from the Washat.
CT: You don't use drums in it. You use drums in the Feather Religion but you don't use drums in--
LO: Is that a recollection, or reminiscence from the old, old, shama-, shamanic thing?
LO: Shaman? The uh,
MM: Uh, uh, yeah, it's--
LO: The medicine?
MM: Uh huh. We never called 'em shaman that's the Boshton word, we call them, we call them t'watis.
LO: T'wati. Tiwat in uh, Nez Perces. T'wati.
CT: T'wati in our.
LO: Do you have the Helen Schuster thesis on the Yakima?
LO: Very important, Ithink. Next after the Du Bois. M
M: Great! Could you--
LO: She gets into a lot of this stuff.
CT: Oh, that's probably interestin'.
MM: Could uh, is a copy available?
LO: Um, I'll do what I can to get you a copy, I think you would enjoy it.
MM: Oh, I, I really will, because--
LO: It's this thick [indicates with thumb & forefinger].
MM: Oh, wow.
LO: And you have to order it from Michigan.
MM: Oh, so--
LO: These things are scattered, everything's scattered all over the [laughs]
MM: There might be a--
CT: You mean that's one person's work that thick? [LO nods, JJ: Hmm hmm.] I knew her. LO: Helen Schuster. CT: I knew her. MM: Oh.
LO: Well, she was, apparently spent a lot of time among your people, here and up north. MM: She's probably related. LO: She's not Indian though, is she? She's white. MM: Is she?
CT: Yeah, well, I always thought she was part Indian, I don't know.
LO: Oh, maybe, okay, then--
MM: Because Schuster is, like, you know, we have people whose name is Schuster.
LO: Oh then I'm wrong. I'm wrong, then, she may be, you--
MM: Well, she could be white having married an Indian man named Schuster. LO: She got her Doctor's degree in Anthropology from University of Washington.
MM: Yah. Well, if you could get me a place where I could write for that, a copy of that.
LO: I'll get you one.
MM: Then uh, I sure would appreciate it. CT: Sure appreciate it.
LO: She could share it with you.
MM: Hmm hmm. Learn about our [laughs]
CT: And then, then we'll get clear away from our own teachin's. No, I wouldn't do that, uh, I grew up with that, so I'm not about to get away from it.
MM: But, see, uh, this--
CT: I grew up with that medicine singing, too, cause my father was that, well, in fact, both of my parents used to do the same thing, too.
MM: And I sing, too. For my own benefit. I have my own--
LO: Would you ever be helping Pruny?
CT: Oh, yes. I, I don't help her, I sing for her.
LO: You would [to Caroline], but you would not [to Mary Ann].
MM: Helping her, in what way, what?
LO: You said that Pruny occasionally did medicine work--
MM: She does that exclusively.
LO: Doesn't she need a helper, some times? MM: She has her husband.
LO: Oh, okay, alright. And then in the longhouse you would help her with that kind of music, both of you would help her.
MM: Yeah, mm hmm, yeah. CT: Mm hm.
LO: I know we're into a touchy subject, here, so, if we get in, too nosey you just tell us to mind our own business, but. MM: Yeah. CT: No, I don't, I don't mind this, I don't mind talkin' about it.
MM: I guess what--
LO: [to JJ] Don 't let me dominate the, I just get excited. JJ: That's okay. It's fine, don't worry about it. MM: She's learning, she's, listening. [Laughter] JJ: [softly] It's easier when one person...
CT: I, I am a little touchy though, right on this other thing, this uh, this healing process, because to me it means just really simply, it's a work of God. LO: Yes. MM: Uh huh. CT: A ll we are is just hands. 'Cause I pray and I don't get out and work with them, but, there are times that when I am shown, when, he'll show you things that need to be done. LO: Yes. CT: That's, that's the kind of person I am.
LO: Well we've--
MM: She's a frustrated twati, she [?] on her songs.
LO: Ahh. Okay.
MM: She don't want 'em, but, uh--
LO: She's got 'em. MM: She has 'em.
CT: I don't want to be a singer, no.
LO: Is that a, is that a worry for you? Does it bother you?
CT: No, it don't bother me. 'Cause I, I feel if God really wants me to be a, wanted me to do something like that he'd make me do it. And uh, I'm kind of a back-up person.
LO: In an emergency-- CT: Yeah. LO: --you might have to use that sometime.
CT: In an emergency I do go off and help, uh huh. I helps Pruny, too, on something like that. If there's a need for me. But I'm not gonna rush out there and start doing it on my own.
LO: No, no. But there's power there, that you can use if you need to in an emergency.
CT: Yes, but I don’t claim it. LO: No, okay.
MM: She does, and she doesn’t realize it. LO: Yes. MM: Otherwise she wouldn't do it. LO: Yes. MM: She acknowledges that, that gift that she has been given, to that degree.
LO: Yes? There would be, in the old days, there would be more women that would have that gift, perhaps. Now there--
MM: I thought it was more men-- CT: More men, uh huh. MM: --to my, remem--, it was more men that were--
CT: There used to be more men, that time. But I don't know what's with our men, they're all dying off before they reach that age. [laughs]
MM: They all died off, or they've taken to the bottle. That has really hindered their walk, and uh--
LO: Let me ask you, we know that alcohol is problem.
CT: It probably is--
LO: It's a problem for everybody, I mean, I'm a Norwegian and we know even that the Norwegians are have a lot of alcohol problem, [MM laughs] but, uh, you know, Native Americans have had a lot of problems with alcohol. MM: Uh huh. LO: Do you feel that the women have had much less of a problem with alcohol, than men? Here?
MM: Oh, I don't, I don't think so, not today, the, 'cause we have just as many women that imbibe, as do men.
LO: So it's just a universal problem.
MM: Uh huh. Yeah. But, uh, I feel like we, I don't know what you'd call it--a low tolerance for that alcohol? LO: Yes, yes. MM: Where the Caucasians have had it in their culture for generations. JJ: Yeah.
LO: You know there was a study out, that the Italians--I'm talkin' about Caucasians now--that the Italians and French had much higher tolerance than these Swedes and Norwegians, because they were closer to where the grapes were-- MM: Well, they made the wine. LO: --they made the wine, and everything, and these people up north didn't grow anything, you know, as--
MM: But that/ END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B
Warm Springs, OR