In the Land of the Grasshopper Song: Two Women in the Klamath River Indian Country in 1908-09

By Mary Ellicott Arnold; Mabel Reed | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV The Course of True Love, Indian Way

We are beginning to feel very much at home in the Indian village of Kot-e-meen. Although the thick chaparral (the abode, I am sorry to say, of endless wood ticks) closes in around us on all sides, we live in a continual social whirl. And we find we like very much being members of the Essie family.

As we are eating breakfast or supper, or sitting before our wood fire in the evening, the door opens (only white men knock in this country) and one of our Indian neighbors stands in the doorway. It may be Jim Tom or Hackett or one of the Tintins or Mamie from Pich-pichi or a quite new up-river Indian. Or, more likely, it is one of the Essie family. It now seems simpler for Mart to leave his hat permanently in our living room. Les does all his drumming with his back against the outside wall of our house, while Eddy seems to live on our drinking water.

And then there is always something doing in an Indian rancheria. Yesterday, Essie came in to tell us that all the Indians on both sides of the river are talking about the salmon smoke and they say it will come off in the dark of the moon. No one is allowed to fish in either the Klamath or the Salmon before the salmon smoke. When the night of the salmon smoke is due to arrive, an old salmon is caught and brought up to the flat above the river. All the next day it burns over a slow fire. One of the old Indians tends the fire and guards the salmon. He must have fasted five days before the ceremonies commence. While the fire

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