I've let the Omaha tell their own story, rather than fill my pages with stories told about them. I can wait for the truth to prevail.
- Alice Fletcher ( 1912)
WHILE LIVING IN his museum home, Ishi recited hundreds of songs and stories describing his Yahi way of life, which Kroeber painstakingly recorded on Edison wax cylinders. One particularly memorable set of cylinders documents the tale of U-Tut-Ne (The Wood Duck), who came of age and decided he needed a wife. Early one morning, Wood Duck began singing his love song, and no fewer than nineteen maidens offered themselves in marriage, but in the end, Wood Duck remained a bachelor. At times, Ishi would mimic the voices of different characters in the story--one voice for Wood Duck, another for Coyote, a third for Wood Pecker. Reciting the Wood Duck story took six hours and required nineteen repetitions of Wood Duck's love song; Ishi insisted that he get it correct. But nobody alive at the time could make sense of the nuances he so carefully spelled out.
The tale of U-Tut-Ne is a creation story. It describes how Earth was created and how people, plants, animals, and other beings came to be. It ad
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Publication information: Book title: Skull Wars:Kennewick Man, Archaeology, and the Battle for Native American Identity. Contributors: David Hurst Thomas - Author. Publisher: Basic Books. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2000. Page number: 91.
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