Umatilla, Walla Walla & Cayuse
Traditional Culture
  Who's Who
Since Time Immemorial
Homelands
All My Relations
Camp Life & Seasonal Round
Horses, Trade, & Travel
Cultural Continuity
References Cited

  Contemporary Culture
  Sovereignty & Tribal Government
Arts and Artists
Language
Education
Recommended Web Sites

  Relationship with U.S.
  Lewis & Clark and the Early Fur Trade
Establishment of Fort Nez Perces
Life at Ft. Walla Walla
Missionaries and Early Settlers
Making Treaties
The Shrinking Reservation
References Cited

 
image
Saxifrage and Brown's (western) peony,
above the Wallowa Valley.
K. Lugthart photo
 

Click Here to get Quicktime   Quicktime
Click Here to get RealPlayer 28K 56K 256K
HTML Transcript

Respect the land...
Cecelia Bearchum
 

Click Here to get Quicktime   Quicktime
Click Here to get RealPlayer 28K 56K 256K
HTML Transcript

Unwritten laws..
Marjorie Waheneke
 
Click Here to get Quicktime   Quicktime
Click Here to get RealPlayer 28K 56K 256K
HTML Transcript

The land provides everything.
Marjorie Waheneke
 
image
Chris with his drum.
 

Click Here to get Quicktime   Quicktime
Click Here to get RealPlayer 28K 56K 256K
HTML Transcript

Foresight to the future.
Armand Minthorn
 
image
Ballhead waterleaf
K. Lugthart photo

Umatilla River > Culture > All My Relations
image
Old Shillal Sweathouse at Mission Falls
1998, courtesy Tamástslikt Cultural Institute

 

"The land, the water, the elders, the songs…the tradition. If we lose those things, we lose who we are" (Marjorie Wahenka, curator, Tamástslikt Cultural Institute).

"As We Are Today — Our encounter with humanity continues to unfold. As Natítayt (The People), we are an evolving culture and coexist in two divergent worlds. Both individually and collectively, we are adapting to contemporary American life.

"Often times, we have survived the incursions of modern life by 'Indianizing' it — the distinctive blending of modern and traditional lifestyles. What has emerged is a unique chronicle of our place in the world" (Tamástslikt Cultural Institute exhibit).

 

"My mother said that some of the people that lived close to the river, that's all they lived on was fish, and that's an easy thing to get you know. The Nez Perce and the Cayuse, they had a lot of different rules and manners. They taught manners. The men, the boys, and, I suppose, even the girls had to know every kind of tree that was up in the mountains. They had to know all the names of the different kind of trees and what they were for and the plants and things too. I think that was a good teaching. Lewis and Clark would have really had a hard time if the Indians didn't help them because you see, when you stop and think of it, the Indians survived for thousands of years here just on what's here. They didn't have to manufacture anything. They kept the country young. They called it the new world, so it was new even though it was thousands of years old. When you stop and think about it, they kept it new. They had conservation. When you dig roots, you don't dig it all. When you pick berries, you don't pick them all. You leave some for animals and to be reseeded, you know, so it will grow again." - Lydia Johnson, elder, Cayuse-Nez Perce and Yakama

image
Deer
Photo courtesy Tamástslikt Cultural Institute
   
The Ancient Ones

Lawrence Patrick, Cayuse elder, offers this testimony at Tamástslikt Cultural Institute, during Convocation 2000.

"I'd like to know a little bit more about why our people started their services at sunrise because I used to wonder that. A story goes the Columbia River carved out a giant hole and the sun went down in the hole and we had no sun. The Indian people got afraid so they talked to the moon who they thought was the wife of the sun and the stars were the children. They prayed to the moon and stars every night, we don't know for how long, and each day they would get up and wait. Finally they saw a little light come up in the east and everybody got happy so they ran and prepared themselves, cleaned their bodies, taking sweatbaths, putting their best clothes on and waited for the sun to come up. They kept that practice for centuries.

"One day immigrants began to come to the west. They asked the Indian people what they were doing and they called them the Sun Worshipers. There were other Sun Worshipers further south in Mexico. The immigrants heard about the southern sun worshipers first and they said maybe that's a bad thing to be worshiping. What they were doing was comparing the sun worshipers in the south to the Indians up here in the west, Columbia River. In the south they had human sacrifices, usually a slave girl. They got word to the Indian people here and that practice lasted, as far as we know, for one generation but before it was forgotten the people that were here when there was no sun tried to tell us now by making signs on rocks. You always see signs on rocks down the river over there in John Day. These people are trying to tell us how it was. A twig and little slashes on it represents a man. Usually there's one circle and a larger one around it, and a larger one; that's probably how the sun looked when it began to come back" (Lawrence Patrick: 2000).  

image
Ancient stone petroglyphs.
Courtesy Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon, Saylor Collection.

“A Stone over 4000 Years Old"

“A large stone in the court of the city hall at Portland, Oregon, commands more than passing notice from beholders, and because its top is covered with rudely carven characters which have the appearance of great age. It was found near the southern bank of the Columbia river a few miles above the town of Umatilla, situated to the east of the Cascade mountains. For years its existence has been known, but its rest was not disturbed, it weighing several tons, until in 1909, when it was removed to Portland and placed in its present location" (Saylor: n.d.).
 
Medicine Persons
 

Click Here to get Quicktime   Quicktime
Click Here to get RealPlayer 28K 56K 256K
HTML Transcript

"My grandmother was a healer"
Kathleen Gordon
Click Here to get Quicktime   Quicktime
Click Here to get RealPlayer 28K 56K 256K
HTML Transcript

"..to be a great medicine person..."
Kathleen Gordon
 
 
Background: Trilliums, K. Lugthart photo