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 XV
Indians at Home in Up-river Country

From what the Indians say, it is not possible to belong to more than one family when you live on the Rivers. In Kot-e- meen, we belonged to the Essie family. Here at I-ees-i-rum we are part of Steve's family. It made a difference to Essie and Mart and Les when we told them we were going to live up river. Things were never quite the same again. We should have liked very much to have continued to be members of the Essie family, even after we had come to live in I-ees-i-rum, but now Kot-e-meen seems very far away. As far away as Somes did after we had gone to live in Kot-e- meen, or as the Sacramento Valley did after we had come up into the Indian country, or as Somerville, New Jersey, does now, and all the things they do back east.

Every day we grow to feel more a part of the life at I-ees-i-rum. We like belonging to Steve and being a part of his family. What white people thought and did impinged a good deal on our life at Kot-e-meen. It even brought a faint restraint into our life with Essie and Mart and Les. But when you live at I-ees-i-rum, there may be white people at Orleans, twenty-five miles down river, or at Happy Camp, thirty-five miles in the other direction, but what they think or what they may do does not concern you at all.

Steve can remember when the first white men came to the Rivers. He can remember the time when the Indians had no weapons but bows and arrows and flints. Especially he can remember what it was like to have no tools. When Steve handles a pick or an ax or a knife or a saw, you can

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