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Shelton Mason County Journal
Shelton, Washington
Mason County Journal
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June 17, 1971     Shelton Mason County Journal
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June 17, 1971
 

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under the sponsorship of the Skokomish Tribal Council as part of its plan to convert the Lower Skokomish School into a community center for the Indian people. The school building on the reservation reverted to tribal ownership when its use was discontinued by the Hood Canal School District last fall and it is now in use for council meetings and other tribal activities. Plans for painting and renovating the structure, including converting part of it into living quarters for a caretaker, are under way. A Tribal Craft Center for adults and a summer recreation program for youth will be focused on encouraging the practice of Skokomish aboriginal arts which have been preserved by a few individuals, particularly basketry. Chosen by the tribal council to direct this effort is Bruce Miller, a former teacher at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Miller, the son of Mrs. Georgie Miller, is a graduate of Irene S. Reed High School in Shelton. He attended the School of Indian Arts and Crafts in Santa Fe, the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, and the University of California at Berkeley. Cooperating with the Skokomish revival, as well as similar efforts by other tribes, are personnel of the Washington State Historical Museum, the State Library, and the Timberland Regional Library. Curator Delbert McBride of the State Museum said there is a possibility of establishing a loan collection of Northwest Indian artifacts, now in storage, which could be publicly displayed in rotation by the tribes, if reasonably secure facilities are provided. Discussions about this have been started with the Skokomish, Squaxin, Chinook, and Yakima tribes, McBride said. In order to keep in touch with tribal activities in this direction, the museum trustees have appointed five Indians as honorary trustees. They are Florence Sigo of Kamilche, chairman of the Squaxin Tribal Council, Joe De La Cruz of the Quinaults, Joyce Cheeka of Mud Bay, Paul Leschi of the Nisqually, and Mrs. Jacqui De La Hunt, a Sioux residing in Olympia. "It is important to get this material out of storage and on display so people can see it in the places where it originated," McBride said. He pointed out that the best collection existing of Skokomish baskets, blankets, and other articles is in the Field Museum of Chicago where it was deposited after being shown at the World's Fair in 1892 by the Rev. M. Eells, missionary to and agent for the Skokomish. Another possibility for the Skokomish center is a library from which Indians could obtain books on, about, and by Indians, Such purposes, she said, and e'cery possibility for funding such a library for the Skokomish is being examined. Helping with this is Mrs. Kristy Coomes, specialist on minorities, of the State Library staff. In the planning stage by a group of young women interested in aboriginal culture is a project for a documentary film about the Indian peoples of the Northwest which would provide a visual record of the methods of gathering and preparing materials and weaving baskets. The Skokomish Tribal Council has approved the project, which would be privately financed. Two of the tribe's most skillful basket weavers, Louisa Pulsifer and Emily Miller, have agreed to work with makers of the film, a copy of which would be given to the tribal council. Other copies will be used for educational purposes throughout the State of Washington. At the Tribal Craft Center adults taught by-Miller will use native materials and traditional methods to produce unusual contemporary gift articles to be sold. These include place mats, coasters, beaded purses, head bands, sashes, medallions, fans, and moccasins. Baskets made by Skokomish already familiar with the art will be on sale. Later in the center program advanced students will make baskets, Miller said. The center operates two hours a day, twice weekly, and is expected eventually to employ 20 to 25 craft workers. Materials will be supplied from a revolving fund set up by the tribal council. The materials used are cedar and cherry bark, sweet grass, bear grass, cedar root, cattails, and vine maple. Dyes are made from Oregon grape root which yields a bright yellow, alder bark for orange, cherry bark for red, and a special mud for black. An effort is being made to arouse the interest of the younger members of the tribe in the history and culture of their ancestors. The summer recreation program planned by Miller includes field trips on environmental appreciation and films on Indian background. On camping trips to Mt. Rainier and Olympic National Parks where the aboriginal habitat has been preserved, the youngsters will be acquainted with the natural materials used in basketry and other arts. Another summer youth project is making their own historical markers to be erected at places important in the tribe's past. These include the Indian cem et ery near the Bremerton Junction of Highway 101, Twanoh State Park where one of the biggest villages of the Twana (later called Skokomish) was located, and Potlatch which got its name from the big feasts or potlatches the Indians held there in the tribe's hey day. THESE EXAMPLES of Skokomish art, the basket, left, and mountain goat wool blanket, right, were exhibited at the Chicago World's Fair in 1892. They are now in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. The Twana Tribe, better known as the Skokomish, comprised several bands whose habitat included the entire Hood Canal region at the time of the Point-No-Point Treaty. Five chiefs represented them at the treaty negotiations and signing. Besides the Skokomish who hved along the lower part of the river which bears their name, there were the Quilcene, DosewaUips, and Clifton bands. The origins of the Skokomish are related in a historical sketch written by George N. Adams, a tribal leader who was so well regarded by all the people of Mason County that they elected him to the Washington House of Representatives for 28 years. Adams' account says: "Tribal stories generally agree that the Skokomish is more or less an amalgamation of several tribes, for the more hardy or adventurous Indians moved on beyond the generally recognized borders of their habitats. "From the north came several young members of the Clallam tribe, scouting for more territory along Hood Canal. At Quilcene they were welcomed into camp by Chief Any-helm who inquired of their people where they came from and their approximate number. "Upon learning all he desired, he felt it feasible to suggest a tribal marriage, which was agreed to by the Clallams. They went back and reported what they had found: much new territory and the opportunity of the son of the chief to marry the daughter of the newly-found friendly chief of Quilcene. "This was favorably received and several canoe loads of Indians accompanied the young man to Quilcene where the marriage was performed and after a fortnight of feasting and celebrating, Any-helm, Chief of the Quilcenes, granted to the young couple and their friends that portion of Hood Canal lying south of Quilcene, with the exception of Walker Mountain and the adjacent portion of Quilcene River and its watershed. These families moved into the DosewaUips and spread on up the Canal. Page 5-20- Shelton-Mason County Journal- Thursday, June 1 7, 1971 .... ..... ,:,:, EMILY MILLER makes baskets in Skokomish Indian Reservation. her home on the "During this time there was apparently quite a large settlement in the Upper Skokomish, which undoubtedly was an overflow from Satsop and that vicinity, which people for years did not know of the Canal. "At one time, however, the canoe of one of them drifted away with an early spring freshet. The man journeyed down the river in search of his canoe which he finally found at the Little Mission at Clifton. "On this trip he noticed game galore, as well as ducks and fish, which he reported to his people, who soon embarked for the new land. Here they soon came into contact with the Indians of North Bay who were part of the tribes occupying that portion of the inland Sound, including Harstine and Squaxon (Islands) and Oyster Bay and on in to Shelton and its vicinity. "These few families on Hood Canal, drawing Indians from all sides of them soon grew into a large and powerful tribe. However, their passing has seemed even more rapid than the building of this once powerful tribe." George Miller, a grandson of Adams, gave the sequel to this in a panel discussion of Skokomish history at a meeting of the Hood Canal Federated Women's Clubs this year. He said that the 1880 census showed there were 245 Indians on the Skokomish Reservation. Of these, only 20 were full-blooded. There were 84 women, 70 men, 47 girls, and 41 boys. During the year there were eight births and three deaths. Twenty-nine Indians were in school, 35 could read the English language and 30 could write. Indian farmers harvested 80 tons of hay and 450 bushels of grain a year. They had 80 horses, 88 cows, and 44 domestic fowls. There were also four carpenters, two blacksmiths, one interpreter, one policeman, six medicine men, seven washer-women, and six mat and basket makers. The Indians' social structure, as explained by Bruce Miller, another panel member, consisted of three classes: upper, lower, and slaves. A slave could regain his freedom by escaping to the settlement from which he had been captured and then giving a potlatch to regain the esteem of his tribe. If the slave could not do this, he and his descendants remained slaves. Their religious beliefs were described by the Rev. M. Eells, missionary to the Skokomish for ten years, in a government report in 1887, in summary as follows: They firmly believed in the existence of the soul and a Great Spirit whom they worshipped, before the advent of Christianity, by girding themselves, singing, and dancing. They believed that the Great Spirit once came down to earth and that at death he devided the good from the bad. For the good, happiness is eternal in the spirit-land. The bad were turned into rocks or animals. Four and a half years after he started his mission, Rev. Eells said attendance at his services was increasing every summer, averaging 80. "Most of them say they believe the Bible is true and that Christ came to this world," Rev. Eells wrote, "but they still cling strongly to their tananamous." This was a sacred rite by which evil spirits were exorcised from sick or dying persons. Like the other Northwest Coast Indians, the Skokomish before the advent of Europeans were the richest people in North America, according to a report on aboriginal life prepared for the American Friends Service Committee, which says: "They were among the few hunting and gathering societies in the world which produced wealth beyond that needed for subsistence. The basis of the aboriginal economy was fishing. "However, salmon was not merely an important part of life - not a recreation and not solely a means of providing food - it was the heart of a whole way of life. "It was the staple article of year-round diet, fresh, smoked, or dried. It was a major commodity in trade between tribes. Above all, it was a blessing for which the Indians always gave thanks." iΈ | On your next jaunt - Our business is Hood Canal... Has been now for over 20 years. - Most people come to us for help in finding recreational property & homes-our specialty! in at AI inn memorable dining... All our friends do. UNION OFFICE: DALE HICKLIN, Sales Mgr. RAY REAMES, HESSEL VANWYK, JIM OBLIZALO HOODSPORT OFFICE: FRED KILBOURNE JOY KILBOURNE, BURR WHITE HOOD CANAL REAL ESTATE UNION, WA. 898-2581 . MA 2-2404 (Seattle) HOODSPORT, WA. 877-5211 • year 'round resort deluxe rooms, cottages (with fireplaces) • complete convention facilities • swimming and boating • golf--championship course • marina & 1200 foot fishing pier • great food--cocktails on beautiful Hood Canal, near Union for reservations phone: 898-2500 or Seattle Direct-MA 2-2464 • • • • A Country Club the Working Man Can Afford • Golf course properties from $2950.00 • Completely private, paved streets. (gate controlled access) • Fully improved homesites. (all utilities underground) • Golf, tennis, deep water moorage on Canal' • You could be living at Alderbrook today Agents: UNION, WASHINGTON 98592 PHONE 898-2581 (Union) MA 2-2404 (Seattle Area) Thursday, June 17, 1971 - Shelton-Mason County Journal - Page S-73