Audio tape of Dorothy Jackson regarding songs of the Warm Springs
Audio tape of: recording, "Songs of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation," followed by discussion of songs and dances, life history, gender roles
Subject: Dorothy Jackson
Interviewer: Judy Jones Date: 7/18/91
Location: Lapwai, ID
Jones file name: DJS.DOC
On 7/11/91, Dorothy had told me that there were more women singers on other reservations in the area, and said that she had an album of Warm Springs women singing. On the 7/18/91, I returned to make a tape recording of the album, which she played on her record player. All of SIDE ONE and part of SIDE TWO of tape #4 consists of this copy of the album--there was much distortion, probably caused by the record player. The following information was copied from the album cover:
Title: Songs of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation LP Canyon Record No. 6123
Recorded by Raymond Boley of Canyon Records on August 12, 1974 at Warm Springs. Cover photograph taken by him on the same date.
Singers: Ellen Squiemphem, Susan Moses, Bernice Mitchell, Ada Sooksoit, and Adeline Miller.
The information on the songs was provided by the singers.
(Dorothy said that Bernice Mitchell is now an elderly woman, important in the tribe, and is still on the Council there.)
Flaming Arrow Song (and honoring song)
Often used at the longhouse New Year's Eve to ring in the new year. The hand bell is rung by the singers and drummers. To further welcome the new year, outside the longhouse flaming arrows are shot into the air.
Butterfly Dance Song
From the tribal cultural archives this song and its dance help teach several things: how things were created by the Creator, how the butterfly came to be, of death and of sorrow, of hope for a new or resurrected life.
At some stage, as the world was created, something occurred which caused the death of all the male caterpillars and each female caterpillar wrapped herself in a blanket of sorrow (cocoon). She remained that way a long time until the kind Creator changed something in the world to make it better, and at the same time changed the female caterpillar into a new and better being--so she emerged as a butterfly. This teaches that although death seems a sorrowful thing, one must hope that a better life will come.
The dance is performed by girls wrapped, cocoon-like in their shawls. They do a slow step, expressive of sorrow, to the sad part of the song when the song related the Creator saying, 'I'll change you,' the dancers come out as butterflies.
A Bunny Hop Song
Peace Pipe Song (Smoke Song)
In past generations, Indians did not smoke as we do today--but at special times. Ceremonial pipes were smoked in friendship, in times of sickness in curing ceremonies, in victory and thanksgiving, in treaty making. This song originated in the victory ceremonies. Today the song is preserved, but is sung during recess--when the drum group which is singing for social dancing takes a recess. The song may be sung to indicate time for a smoke, or during the 'cigarette break.'
Tepee Creeping (Serenade Songs)
After a pow-wow dance is over, and everyone has gone to his camp area, a few men will start out singing in a quiet part of the camp. As they stop at the first camper or tepee a few others may come out and join them. They go from tepee to tepee, more joining them. The men are the serenaders, but the women come out and join the group, too (because 'they sound so good, you can't help coming out'). Soon the whole camp is awake again.
'Lonely Hearts' Song
This is a 'warm-up' for a social dance, as a bunny hop. During this song a man or girl looking for a dance partner may circle slowly the dance area past those sitting waiting for the next dance to begin. Those circling about have prepared themselves with a handkerchief rolled in a ball, or some similar object. When they spy the partner of their choice, they may throw this object at him as a signal, perhaps saying, 'I take you; get up.'
Bunny Hop Song
The dancers having assembled from the preceding warm-up, form a long line, boy/girl/boy/girl with hands on the shoulders of the dancer in front. They wind around the floor like a string, and alternate a shuffling walk step with the bunny hop as the singers and drum signal them.
Bunny Hop Skip Dance (a Fun Dance)
Often used at an entertainment, or just for fun anytime. Two girls start dancing together to the music of this song. Shortly a boy from the assembly will jump in between them, by putting a hand on their shoulders and separating them, clowning and dancing with them. Other girls and boys sometimes go to the dance area also following the same pattern.
This is an old dance of the culture and originated with the ladies who were doing the cooking for a feast or celebration. When they grew tired, and were trying to psych themselves up to work longer, they would take a breather, come out to the dance area and grab a man (visitor or friend) and begin dancing with him, serpentine style. [Normally he would not refuse, but if he should the penalty for his refusal might be $5.00, or five kisses, some item of personal adornment, or even his saddle!]
Willow Dance Song
For an entertainment dance performed by four women, or two men and two women; each dancer joins his hands above his head, dances with a swaying movement, simulating willow trees in the breeze.
Long ago all the native tribes of the Northwest area would make seasonal trips to the Columbia River to fish for salmon, and to trade and to visit. Various tribes would join one another at small settlements. Perhaps the coastal tribes had shells to trade, or the Nez Perce hides, or the Umatillas or Warm Springs bands had bitter-root or camas roots. As members of a visiting tribe arrived at the camp or settlement, they were greeted with entertainments, get acquainted dances, or songs such as this welcoming song.
Fast Shuffle Dance
Long ago women did not join the men in actual war dancing as they do now. There was a special time for women to dance, such as this dance for teen-age girls. They would start slowly around the longhouse, pick up speed until they were going as 'fast as their feet would go' in a kind of shuffle step. 'It was a lot of fun!"
[SIDE TWO of Tape starts here]
A very old dance song, going back more than a century. Called 'a trade dance'; was probably one of the entertainments during the old trading encampments. It enacted a story of a man and his wife who came to trade ten cougars and a bear. It is no longer done, as no one knows the exact dance procedures and few know this song.
Hobo Round Dance
Was danced around a large bonfire outdoors. However, it is not performed any more as very few know the songs. It was a typical round dance for all tribes.
This is a circle dance, used at the closing of an evening. As the dancers come toward the end they will move in close to the spectators and point a finger at someone and all laugh; then they move on to someone else and do the same. This is repeated many times, and soon the whole assembly is laughing, and the evening breaks up with all in a good humor.
After recording the album, the tape was left on for a time to record Dorothy's comments on the tape, which are as follows:
DJ: . . . song there that used to be a Serenade Song.
JJ: Yeah, I noticed that, too. Now, they sang, they didn't sing the words.
DJ: Hmm mmm. They sang it, just, the melody and that's it, you know, no And then there was one that, it had words and I, I wished my aunt was here, she could remember that one , where uh, where it was saying uh--what did it say--something about 'thank you, thank you?' Kaitsiyeuyeu, kaitsiyeuyeu.
JJ: Yeah, that--we pesutiye? That's-
JJ: I recognize that one, too, from Dr. Olsen's tapes. Yeah.
DJ: And uh, that one, uh, that one that didn't have uh, the music to--I mean the song to--that used to be a Serenade Song. I remember that when I was just a little girl and we used to camp up at Mud Springs, which used to be in August. They still have that up there, but it's not as active as, you know, I mean it's still, I mean, it doesn't, uh--oh, what do you, how would you say it--it's not well advertised and it's not put on like it should be. You know, not like the way it used to be long, long time ago. We used to camp up there for two weeks, mind you, Judy. My folks used to camp up there, and we'd practically take the whole house up there. Everything went. We--everything in the kitchen, especially. Everything in the kitchen went. My folks had a 4-wheel trailer. You know, with four wheels. A long one. And it used to be pulled by our car. We had a 1937 Dodge car. And they would--it would take 'em four days to move, Judy. Because, we had a tepee, and we had a, we had a great tepee for our, for us to lodge in. And we had kitchen with a dining room. Kind of a--I don't know where my aunt found it, but it was a big, circus-type, square tent. You know, big, long one. One end was our cookin' stove, and the other end had the tables. And she had an icebox. A big two door icebox. That went up, that went up. And a small--she made sure she found a, a stove with an oven. Plus, plus our long wood stove, you know, you know camping stove. We had two kinds of stoves. She went all out, and I tell you it was really something.
JJ: She must have done a lot of cooking up there.
DJ: Well she at one time was the head cook up there at all times, when they used to have the big dinners up there. In fact, all of the women were involved in on the cooking up there, 'cause they'd butcher, you know, they'd butcher up there, and then they'd go around to all the camps and give each body, everybody had so much meat to cook, you know. Same with the salmon, and same way--every body, every camp brought everything. And they used to feed good up there. It wasn't only put, it wasn't only, you know, put out by just one camper. Everybody in the camp--excuse me--was involved. And see my aunt, the reason why she used to--she found a small kitchen stove with an oven, because she would bake pies up there and make her cakes up there. 'Cause she was a baker. Too bad I didn't become a baker, but I didn't feel like it.
JJ: That must have been quite an art, baking in that wood stove. (D. nods) Was there a third song that you said you recognized?
DJ: Let's see. There was one, now I can't uh ... There was one that, I was just--that's why I was saying I wished my aunt would have been here to--'cause she was, she remembers, I know that she would remember, one that, uh, I used to hear. And it had that word in it and they were sayin' it. Netitelwit.
JJ: Netitelwit, yeah.
DJ: Yeah. But I can't remember what they used to use that on. And then there was one or two of them songs that the women, long long time ago, when they used to play stick game. When they used to play stick game. They never pound--they never had--in that--when the women played--I remember this from my aunt, 'cause she was a gambler. She played cards, and she played stick game. And she always used to play, you know, the women would all get together. And they never had no boards and pounding sticks. They sang their own songs, their own stick game songs, and they'd hold their hands like this, like this, you know, and they'd go bouncing up and down like that--I can remember that, long, long time ago. And, you know, there was one song there that I, it just, kind of reminded me of that.
JJ: Yeah, they say these songs are for, um--they have these songs for different dances, and things, but some of them sound familiar from some other kind of song, I don't know.
DJ: Mmm hmm. And I've seen that Welcome Dance. The girls--our girls used to do that. 'Cause we were--they were taught--one lady, I was telling you--she's still alive, I think, last time I saw her was last November, when I went over for my aunt's funeral in Yakima, and she come to her funeral and she was in a wheelchair then. And she is old, she's in her nineties. Her name is, uh, Ellen Saluskin. And, uh, she taught, she taught a lot of girls. She taught 'em to do all kinds of dances. You know. And she even used to drum for them and sing for them. You know. She was really, she was really, she really had that art, in there, you know, that kind of work. She was really, uh huh. And so, uh, so then we taught our girls here--we had a culture club here. We taught our girls here, uh, in fact, we got one girl that's gone now, and there is--let's see--Sharon, Brenda--who all was there?--Marge, I think it wasJulia--
JJ: Oh, yeah, I ran across an old newspaper article- [cc 643]
DJ: And my cou-, and my cousin, uh, and I, and I had a cousin, uh, Aleena--used to be Aleena Halfmoon--they were all in on it. And they used to take 'em, we used to have that Culture Club group, and we took 'em, you know, different places, and they got to learn how to do the, the Swan Dance, the Welcome Dance, the Feather Dance, and, uh--what is that one dance that they, they had--they had one dance and I can not remember the name of it now, where they uh, they'd uh, meet one another, you know, boy and girl, boy and girl, and I can't think of the name of that dance now. They used to do that, 'cause we used to have four boys go with us. 'Cause we had four boys and four girls, you know, and then, they'd uh, there was a, there was a certain song for--and I can't think of the name of that dance now. This, these are the dances that they used to do, besides the, the boys' war dance, and the girls' circle dance, and the owl dance, the rabbit dance, you know-
JJ: At the war dance, the dances?
DJ: Mmm hmm. And the, then the boys would do the shield dance.
JJ: Hmm, I've never heard of that before. Shield dance?
DJ: Yeah, they used to have a--one boy would have a shield, you know. In fact, both the boys would have--there'd be two boys, they'd have the shield dance, you know. And then they'd uh , do the shield dance on that. Then there was one dance, I can't think of the name of the dance, where, this young girl gets out there and dances. She's grieving, because her, her husband was killed--or something like that, I can't remember how that went--'cause my cousin used to do that dance. She'd get out there and she'd do this dance it's uh, was kind of a lonesome dance like, you know. So--and I can't thing of the name of it now! And it, uh--Arrow Dance. 'Cause she danced with an arrow. She'd get out there and dance with an arrow. And at the end of the dance, she turns and stabs herself with the arrow.
JJ: Oh, oh. [cc 677]
DJ: She kills herself with the arrow. And she just-
JJ: Now is that a legend, or, or just a, a story that she's acting out?
DJ: Just a story that--yeah, just a story that was being acted out. You know. But they don't do it, you know, she just, you know, she does not, you know, she does not, you know-
JJ: (Laughing) She doesn't actually stab herself.
DJ: No, no, no. She just, you know, say like, pretend like she's--because, she lands right on it. She pretends like she falls over and the arrow is like that, and people think that she did stab, you know-
OJ: Just kind of, you know, kind of uh,
JJ: Dramatic thing.
DJ: Yeah. [cc 686]
JJ: So, what else--so those sort of dances just, they stopped doing them now?
DJ: They kind of faded, and I don't know, since, since we quit, since--well, Judy, since my husband died, it just seemed like everything fell apart. Nobody picked up. Nobody's even teaching the little ones to do their drummin’. I gave my husband's drum to a young family, hoping that they would teach all of, any of the Nez Perce children. That hasn't come about, and up to this day, I regret, now. I should have just hung on to that drum myself, you know, and did whatever I could. And that's the same way with the second. I gave the second hoping that, that it would be, you know, that--see, one drum was given up the Kamiah. I gave the second one drum here, hoping that--okay, they're not doing anything in Kamiah--hoping that this young man would do something here. He's not--excuse my language--he's not doing diddley here. And I am very sorry. I regret. It makes me kinda mad and it makes me feel like I had a voodoo power in me that I'd make them drums melt. Or I'd make them--no sound at all. I mean, that's how disgusted I feel. Because there is six children, that could be real good drummers now. They're teenagers, they're big teenagers now. Because there was six children that my husband left, that he last taught. And those were the kids that I gave jackets to, during his memorial, you know, and it is disgusting. Now the kids don't, don't--in fact, one of the boys told his mother, "I kind of lost interest now, because nobody's here to teach us. Nobody wants to bother to teach us."
JJ: How sad. [cc717]
DJ: They're cryin' out there for, be, to learn, you know. And there is a young man that tried, but--how would you say--I'd say halfbreed. And the only reason why I say half breed because he's not a full Nez Perce. His mother is half Nez Perce, so that doesn't make him very much Nez Perce. He's more--what would he be--what is Wyoming people?
DJ: Cheyenne? He's more in that area. And he's a very good singer. But, he only knows his songs on his father's side, not our, our songs here. But we want to teach the kids that--you know, our songs are fading.
JJ: Yeah. [cc 728]
DJ: Our songs are really fading. And it makes me so feel odd--why is it, my--not my generation in between, not, in between me and back, I mean forward, the younger ones. Not the real ones, but-
JJ: Yeah, about ten years younger than you?
DJ: Yeah. Why aren't they doin' anything about it? They're too darn busy, of, the almighty dollar. And then when it comes to their work job--geez, "I got to see whether he's getting more salary than I do," you know. They're bickering and whatever not over up here at the tribal offices, it's just something else. Instead of worrying about their culture bit, you know. And here we have--and it's sickening, Judy (laughs)--we have German people that are singing and are doing beadwork, they're doin' the whole nine yards.
JJ: From Germany?
JJ: Oh, this club? (D. nods) I've heard that there was a club, but I didn't know quite what they did. [cc 747]
DJ: Mmm hmm. There's more than one club over there, Judy. There's a Nez Perce Club over there, there's a, I think a Cheyenne Club over there. Certain groups have been comin' over, and they do the work.
JJ: That is so bizarre. Yeah, well-
DJ: They have picked up doing the--they don't do the, the only thing they don't do is uh, the modern type of beadwork. They do--what's disgusting is they do the old-fashioned beadwork, the old style.
JJ: How is that different from the, the modern--I mean is it-
DJ: They use--say like, uh, you've seen pictures, old pictures of uh, where they had uh, mmmm--have you seen their pictures from Germany? (J. shakes her head) Let me see if I can find mine, huh?
JJ: Okay. I'm almost done writing this down.
DJ: Because I have got, I've got pictures.
END OF SIDE TWO
The following notes were jotted down during conversation after the tape
recorder was turned off:
Also: Indian Records #IR 1280, Sixteen Umatilla Songs--has some Nez Perce songs on it.
Pictures of Nez Perce Club--played tape recording--Sam Jackson taught Honor Song. "Nez Perce Camp, 1985."
D's tapes from celebrations--Craig recorder w/built-in mic.--didn't stand right by drum.
Niece has tape of Sam's "last 6 kids" that he taught, summer '86. Spokanes, Coeur d'Alenes drum differently (from Nez Perce)--"bouncy" (not even)
At Wellpinit Fair--Sam drumming with Joe Arlee, schoolmate, from Arlee, MT.
Ed Morningowl--from Browning, part Canadian. (Sam also--Fa a French Canadian)
Pow-wow circuit--route: Tinowit, Chief Joseph, etc.
Also has Stick Game songs recorded. Not allowed to record Medicine Dance songs.
Women singing war dance songs, like in practice?--Aunt knew all the War Dance songs, sang with the Old Man, like when driving or something, kept him in practice. "He'd start and she'd follow right along."
One particular song, men would drop out and women continue alone, men come back in and end.
Nettie Shawoway--Warm Springs, sings real loud.
Horace "living a lie"—family not seven-drum. "Cleaning the floor"--Medicine Dance only.
Nellie Moody is D's aunt, Horace's mother (deceased) Alta--Granger--Satus--8 kids.
Catholics not quite as strict as Presbyterians. Grandmother and grandfather Catholics, Uncle Presbyterian--no squabbles over religion in house.
Women's Prayer Song before dancing?--from elsewhere--Celilo--married into Slickpoo family. Never had to clean the floor here--do other places, Horace picked up. In stick games, also, other people superstitious.
The Warm Springs Singers sang the Flaming Song to celebrate the Winter Soltice on December 21st and the start of the New Year shooting the Flaming Arrow with a bow into the Sky at Midnight of the New Year
Dallas and Dana