Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sharing a story from the "Songs to the Creator"

I love to's something I do day in and day out. When I'm not actually weaving, I'm dreaming of this design or that design, as we drive down the freeway to go visit the grandkids and if I see a little fern growing out from the basalt walls of the gorge I think "that would be a really nice weaving design" and often I will just go and do it. My brothers taught me weaving and the use of colors to express so to them I give that...

Here is a story from a book I love called "a Song to the Creator"

One time in the animal world there lived a young woman at White Salmon River. She was S'inmi (Grey Squirrel) and she carried frood in a pouch inside her mouth. White Salmon is where some people live and they are called /Lataxat (Klickitat). But animal people lived there before the People came.
A long time ago everyything was human. All the animals, plants and creatures were like people are today. They were able to talk adn walk like we do. This young woman lived at White Salmon River. She was slow and her fingers were clumsy so she was avoided by other people. The girl lived all by herself near a huge tree. Underneath this Cedar tree she would sit and dream in the shade because she did not have anything else to do.
This tree would watch the girl and he worried about her. He was sorry for her because nobody wanted to help her.
"That poor girl, she doesn't know the things a girl should know." One day he talked to the girl "my little sister, I cannot allow you to grow up like this not knowing anything, you must learn to do something to help yourself. I will teach you. You go to the mountains and find this kind of grass it is called bear grass. That grass is used for decoration for what I want to teach you. Pick this out by the roots and dry it in the sun, bundle it up neatly then you can pick berries and plants for coloring. After you've done this, come back and pick some of my tenderest roots.Some day you will be famous for your work.
This young woman prepared for the journey. She packed her root digger, flint knife and everything else she needed then she walked to the mountains. When she reached that place she found the plants were all there as the Cedar had told her. She gathered all of the things as he had instructed.
She brought her neatly bundled bear grass, roots and berries to Cedar and he was pleased that she had done as he instructed. He then told her to dig his most tender roots and dry them so she also dug these things.
When she was done she laid out a blanket and spread out all those things she had gathered for her project. She showed it to Cedar Tree and he was very pleased. He then showed her how to use these to weave a basket. The girl wove her first basket. She worked all day and into the night until she finished it and she was very proud of having done this. She showed it to Cedar and although he was proud of her he told her "don't get too conceited, you still have to pass a test, you must take this basket and dip it into the water. If the water does not drip out of it, then you have accomplished your goal.
The girl took the basket  and she carried it down to the lake and she dipped out some water. The water ran right througth the basket. She went home dragging her feet.
She told Cedar Tree what had happened then she sat down and cried. Cedar Tree scolded her, "don't feel sorry for yourself you are just beginning to to accomplish something. Soon you will be very talented, you have to practice and practice until you are perfect. Now go out in the woods and find some designs; seek out the things of nature and bring them back pictured in your mind. that is when you will be able to make beautiful things.
When he encouraged her like this she could not resist becoming more determined to succeed "He has so much confidence in me, perhaps I will someday make beautiful baskets."
She walked for many days looking at everything. She became confused because she didn't know what she was seeking. She walked down the trail one day when a rattlesnake crossed her path. He spoke to her, "see the designs on my back? Use them to design the edging in your baskets" She was grateful to the rattlesnake but thought that was too intricate.
She continued on her journey and saw many more animals and was spoken to about various designs and on the day she decided to return home she was thirsty and knelt down by the brook to drink. He spoke to her, "look at me, see the reflections and the designs with the waves of the water, you can use these for your designs"
She went home and began weaving a new basket. She was so busy she forgot the time and she wove all of the designs she had seen in the forest. She completed one beautiful basket. She showed this to Cedar Tree and he told her again she had to pass the test. She took the basket to the Columbia River and dipped it in. No water came out! Cedar Tree told her to take her first basket and give it as an offering, this will teach you to be thankful (Note: we are taught this by those teaching us our crafts, that we give the first one we made to an elder).
Coyote was down by the river and heard from Blue Jay what had been happening. He looked at her baskets and was very impressed. He spoke about the coming of the People (Klickitats) and that from this day forward they would be known for their beautiful baskets. To this day, these people are well known for their baskets.

That's just one story I know about weaving. I hope you enjoyed.


Alice in Wonderland said...

Shawna, this is such a beautiful little story! I loved it so much!
I'd love to hear more of your folk tales. You are really going to have to write more about them and educate us Klickitats in your ways!
Hope you have a wonderful Festive Season!
Big Hugs!

Betty said...

Shawna, you know how much i love your folk stories and culture!.
And the crafty works.I love them so much!!
BTW. if you know somethin like wish i dont't really know for good luck please let me know.
love and hugs!

bonequinhoda bic said...

Loved the story!.
zhiguzhabizha , MERRY CHRISTMAS !