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 V
Indians at Home, When There Ain't No Growl, nor No Trouble

With the coming of spring, the really important event all up and down river is the big eel run. Indians who live as far away as Orleans Bar or I-ees-i-rum come to Kot-e-meen, and Essie's cousin Hattie and her husband, from the Forks of Salmon, are staying with the Essie family. We are rather glad of all this company because we have a notion that all has not been well at the Essie cabin, but, whatever it was, peace now reigns, and as usual it is Essie who has brought it about. Essie is an Indian. Eddy has an Indian mother and a father who is three quarters white. Mart is three quarters white. Les is an Indian. Grandma is an Indian. And in a cabin that can't measure more than fifteen by seventeen feet they all live together in reasonable harmony.

Moreover, in this country, Sam Frame tells us, the man rides ahead on his horse and his woman walks behind with the load. But when the Essie family went over to the Forks, we noticed that it was Essie who rode and Les who walked. Sam says it is always the squaw who packs the bag of flour across the swing bridge. But the day we went to Somesbar, Les staggered home under an enormous load while Essie walked beside him carrying only one small basket. Of course, Mart is almost white, so it is not surprising that he should take up the white man's burden. But Les is Indian and Essie is Indian. Yet she rides and he walks.

It seems, however, that the harmony in the Essie family does not stand up under the pressure of visitors. Last night

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