Myths and Legends of the Pacific Northwest

By Katharine Berry Judson | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

Jay Miller

This entertaining sampler brings together stories from all over Native North America. The majority are from northern California, where the Klamath, Shastan, and Pit Rivers (Atsugewi, Achomawi) still live. Only the Cowlitz, Klickitat, Yakima, and Okanogan are in Washington State, while the Tillamook and Modoc are in Oregon. The Chinook, including the Clatsop, occupied the lower Columbia River, the border between these two states.

Katharine Berry Judson, the compiler, was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and received a B.A. from Cornell in 1904, before earning a librarianship degree in 1905 and an M.A. in history at the University of Washington in 1911. Between these dates, she was a librarian in Kalispell, Montana, for a year and then head of periodicals for the Seattle Public Library, where she assembled four collections of native stories.

As she explains, these stories were collected during her quest to find an "authentic" native version of the story of the bridge of the gods, a stone span across the Columbia that collapsed in punishment for some thwarted love. It is symptomatic of European attitudes toward Native Americans that she did not stop to realize that stone bridges were never a part of local native technology. Similarly, she treats all natives as though they lived in tipis, wore leather clothing, and called their women squaws. Such stereotypes are, of course, derogatory because they deny the complex richness of native life. In particular, photo captions calling attention to grave goods (facing page 77) or blaming the Whitman massacre solely on victimized Cayuse (facing page 103) are no longer acceptable.

-1-

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Myths and Legends of the Pacific Northwest
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Introduction 1
  • References 6
  • Preface 7
  • Table of Contents 15
  • Illustrations 17
  • The Origin of Daylight 19
  • How Silver-Fox Created The World 21
  • How Kemush Created the World 25
  • The Robe of Kemush 28
  • How Qawaneca Created The World 30
  • How Old Man Above Created The World 33
  • Old Man Above and the Grizzlies 35
  • Duration of Life 38
  • How Coyote Stole Fire 40
  • How Beaver Stole Fire 42
  • How Dog Stole Fire 44
  • The Bridge of the Gods 47
  • The Dalles 50
  • The Story of Ashish 51
  • Creation of Mankind 55
  • As-Ai-Yahal 56
  • The Golden Age 59
  • The First Totem Pole 60
  • Spirit of Snow 64
  • Owl and Raven 65
  • Cradle Song 66
  • Woodrat and Rabbits 67
  • Quarrel of Sun and Moon 69
  • Chinook Wind 70
  • The Miser of Takhoma 74
  • Why There Are No Snakes on Takhoma 79
  • Cry-Because-He-Had-No-Wife 81
  • How Coyote Got His Cunning 85
  • The Naming of Creation 86
  • The Bird Chief 87
  • The Spell of the Laughing Raven 88
  • Origin of the Thunder Bird 89
  • Mount Edgecomb, Alaska 91
  • An Indian's Vow to the Thunder Gods 92
  • Chinook Ghosts 95
  • The Memaloose Islands 98
  • A Visiting Ghost 100
  • Origin of the Tribes 102
  • How the Okanogans Became Red 105
  • The Copper Canoe 107
  • Origin of Mineral Springs 108
  • How the Ermine Got Its Necklace 109
  • Coyote and Grizzly 114
  • Coyote and the Dragon 116
  • Origin of Spokane Falls 118
  • Coyote in the Buffalo Counrty 119
  • Coyote and the Salmon 123
  • Falls of the Willamette 125
  • Tallapus and the Cedar 127
  • How Coyote Was Killed 131
  • Old Grizzly and Old Antelope 133
  • Legend of the Klickitat Basket 141
  • The Northern Lights 143
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