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About The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current | View This Issue
PAGES 23 TO 32 " J
PART THREE ,
J-2 P 'fTTTY W&
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It the reader imagine a hollow scoop
d out of a plain, almost circular In
shape. Let the reader still further im
iglne that the earth has all been scraped
ap to the outer edges of this circle, and
piled up. at varying heights, In such a
ivay as to form the rim of a gigantic
bowL "With this picture well fixed in
mind, a very fair conception can be
formed of the Indian village, -which has
its site on the Umatilla Reservation, in
Eastern Oregon. Ranged round the inner
circumference of this circle, stand the
tepees of cotton cloth. Just above the
pointed tops of each, project the sup
porting poles, bound tightly together.
These are surrounded by the tightly
strained cloth, "white once, but now
stained to dirty brown by the smoke,
ever curling lazily upward, from the
campflres within. Through the outer rim
of the low lino of gray foofiillls that
envelop the valley in their protecting em
brace, is an opening permitting the in
gress and egress of the picturesquely at
tired villagers. To the left, as one en
ters the camp, is a towering group of
huge cottonwoods, which fringe the
banks of a shallow, lazily flowing stream.
An Annual Festival.
It is the custom of these Indians in
July, which they designate as the month
of the Buck Moon, to hold a yearly fes
tival, and this year they will not vary
from the established rule. For some rea
son best known to themselves, the red
men usually begin the event on the
Fourth of July. They continue the weird
performance from one to two weeks, by
which time all are physically exhausted.
Then they pursue their monotonous,
humdrum lives for another year.
It was my good fortune, a year ago,
to attend one of these unique gatherings
an opportunity eagerly seized, since it
afforded a glimpse of aboriginal life that
will, some day, probably in the not very
distant future, be no longer obtainable.
The Interest civilized races feel in the
life and manners of savage peoples whose
-cuBtoras differ sffwideiy7rSmTeir,Qwn.
"Is annually Increasing. In assuming his
self-imposed "burden," the white man
has gradually, through the centuries,
pushed back the weaker races that op
poBed his progress. Wherever the unciv
ilized have presumed to resist this ad
vance, they have Invariably either been
entirely annihilated or absorbed.
All this is pathetically true of the
American Indian. The tiny caravels of
Columbus, emerging from the port of
Palos, a little more than four centuries
ago, to mark a path of destiny across
unknown seas, were yet large enough to
carry -with them dreadful portents to the
races of the New "World. The gentle
tribes of San Salvador, whose "faces were
serene, and in their eyes was the au
tumnal heaven of content," first feltthe
blighting, withering touch. They were
swept completely out of existence.
Other tribes have felt the simoon's
breath, hot and unquenchable; today his
tory gives them but a name. It Is not so
very far hence when all the aborigines
will be no more. As the noble bison has
disappeared, which once trod proudly
over the vast prairies, -where today his
skeleton whitens In the sun, so, too, will
the Indian disappear. Of him naught
will remain but a melancholy memory.
The Aztec, the Inca's race, and, before
them, the lake dweller, the cliff dweller,
the mound dweller all have gone down
before the powers of fate and destiny.
The Indian Is fast joining them. His
place is In
The innumerable caravan that moves
To the pale reaimB of shade, where each shall
His chamber in the silent halls of death.
Any ruin is sad human ruin more so
than all the rest. How much more in
describably sad Is the ruin of a race! It
is mournful. Indeed, that so many races
have gone down "to the tongueless si
lence of the dreamless dust."
The golden sun.
The planets, all the infinite host of heaven.
Are shining on the sad abodes of death
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
The globe are but a handful to the tribes
That slumber in Its bosom. Take the wings
Of morning, traverse Barca's desert sands.
Or lose thyself In the continuous woods
"Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound
Save his own flashings, yet the dead are there.
And millions in those solitudes, since first
The flight of years began, have laid them down
In their last sleep; the dead reign there
The people of the East know but little
of the Indian in a practical way. To be
sure, James Fennlmore Cooper delin
eated him, but then Eastern people do not
take the red man seriously. To them ho
Is too often like Bill Sykes or Uncle Toby,
or any other character In fiction. To the
"Western people the Indian is an actual
being. Yet even to these he is only repre
sented by the poor remnants of once pow
erful tribes, now huddled together on res
ervations. Bound for the Reservation.
A motley procession of vehicles ,of all
sorts wound out of Pendleton, July i.
1S99, and the writer accompanied ft. Tha
carriages were bound for the Umatilla
Reservation. Though the ride was a long
one, to which was added a burning sun
and the further discomfort of choking
clouds of alkali dust, yet it was all well
worth enduring, for the great annual
Indian ceremonies were to begin that
day. The day previous, Toung Chief, of
the Cayu-es, visited Pendleton, and In
vited his white "tilllcums" to attend the
weird exercises. Young Chief 'is, -by the
KfmmKmmmmammmmmmmmmmmmm at 4 && Ss & n.i&Ttf 1&?S9'tW''mm'm3s
, " jjg ' iJMw NttStoSS2 attired is really quite Impressive, and fires, now quenched and dead. From
i aeafS&!02?Z&s'" itlhrr 3 aS- tl:ey rape the blankets about them with these, In gladness, there will nevermore
v v J&f0d& " ll-IsPliilir YtTtzfySr vlCTSjo s Inimitable grace. During the annual cele- arise a fabled Phoenix, bursting with Joy-
"-V. v T-jt&Z" sf &&gVL iViVcrt& -7sv!K''Sss "-- brations all wear the full aboriginal cos- ous song and pulsing life. For these there
sSssSNJSS. Tflil5- vrLs 8 Q&1 VwJ Sa, 'x,lfr "sA ' tume. is not, nor can there ever be. an earthly
- . ys F . VJ"v' gU V BwiUIS i,6SVvsv ' v There are many characters among these resurrection. The lonely, midnight baric
v " A &$1T'2& 4f " Jte&Qk "WwJw!tL 'JjfSfc'tttiV JsV V - people, that might, with Interest, be made of the coyotes on the hills, flitting Ilka
- K--f AttX&f'V--?vy J vEVXwi';. ; VVNv subjects for a sketch, did space permit, specters in the moonbeams; the sobbing
y WS dtMM'rh "M WWf h J&. ' - There is Paul Showaway, Chief Peo. cry of the night vind through the tall
S t'fiiSlWC -SSSS'OM I -SSIHtIW &' 0 " Young Chief and a dozen more. One can firs and swajing cottonwoods these will
jeSP-zsZ i lPOvJ" J 4i,fiSP,fe" ' hardly 'afford to pass over, unnoticed, so voice their requiem. "With all their hu-
Ar $C 0-"jlV fr'll'alW lr ' Interesting a man as Smohollow, "The man fralltleg, all their -vices, and all
Jr jyjri S$S&P-&P ;?JL rT?- Dreamer," who is a sort of medicine man. their nobler traits and virtues, the red
r tjjrSKSx PZiX " 'i 'VVr- vfe He claIms t0 recelve manifestations from men are passing away. No longer will
way, a strict teetotaler. He has set his
face firmly, like a flint, against alcoholic
beverages in every form. He is really a
splendid type of his race. He Is thought
ful and Intelligent, and by precept and
example he teaches total abstinence.
"Were his example better heeded, fewer
Indians who indulge in firewater would
spend so much of their time in the Pen
dleton "skookum," as they call the town
lock-up. In extending his Invitations to
the palefaces, Young Chief earnestly be
sought them to bring no stimulants to
the reservation. His wishes were quit
After arriving at the Indian Agency, it
was learned that It would be several hours
befpre the programme would begin. The
visitors -did not find the wait a tedious
one. They drifted about among the tep
ees and studied human nature. On en
tering a wickiup the Indians would sa
lute one, in a friendly way, with "Tuska-la-wltz,"
which comes pretty close to
meaning "How d'ye do?" There isn't very
much difference between people, savage
or civilized, after all. The Indian children
laugh and play just the same as do other
children. That day they rolled upon the
ground, happy and care-free, kicking up
their chubby, copper-hued little legs to
the kindly sun, that smiled benignly on
It was a little startling to find a lemonade-
stand in full blast in the village.
There, too, was a dancehall. Improvised
of rough boards, -where the dark-hued
half-breeds were merrily treading out
their measures, to the rythm of scraping
catgut One violin squawked as though
afflicted with asthma. This did not ap
pear to make any difference to the danc
ers. In the tepees men and women were pre
paring for the -great event. The women
were furbishing up their barbaric finery.
The coronals of eagle feathers were be
ing arranged. Deft fingers were dextrous
ly weaving, In and -out -among the plumes,
strips of red flannel, and affixing brass
ornaments and other gewgaws to make
ready for the chieftains their fantastic
headdresses. There were ihree of these
one each for the titular heads of the three
tribes, on the reservation the Umatlllas,
Cayuses and "Walla "Wallas.
There were jiot the slightest indications
of the American idea of celebrating the
glorious Fourth. No starry flags wero
waving; there were no explosions of flro
crackcrs. To the Indians there was no
Independence Day significance in it oil.
P0RTLA3TD, OREGON, SUNDAY MORNING.
sgj JJisf js jy T'ty tne sun's raj's flashed a glittering, bar
' 'vj. L H& ' slf n 7 baric symphony of light and color.
The memories of 1776 were nothing to
Promptly at 4:45 P. M. word went forth
that the ceremonies were about to begin.
Emerging from he covert of trees, the
cavalcade came forth, headed by young
Chief. In his feathor crown, with Its
long pendant of smaller feathers, trailing
downward, and his face adorned with
paints of varying hues, he sat upon his
horse. His form was erect and his dark
eyes flashed. His muscular limbs, en
cased In legglns of flaming red, gripped
the sides of the tough little burro, while
through the stirrups were thrust his feet
with their moccasins of gaily-embroidered
buckskin. He was majestic, and "every
inch a king."
Picturesque Assemblage. i
Near at hand. In equally gaudy attire,
were Chief Peo, of the Umatlllas, and the
monarchical head of the "Walla "Walla
Nation. Behind these were ranged the
bucks, four or five abreast. Every war
rior was tricked out in gorgeous trap
pings. Upon the breasts and flanks of the
horses, even were dashes of red and yel
low paint, while many of thom wore gro
tesque headdresses of ilame-hued flannel.
The face of each man and woman In that
motley assemblage was smeared with
paint, Including every hue of' the rain
bow. The squaws followed close behind
the men. each one riding astride a cay
use. Young Chief started the strange proces
sion, his pony easily loping, and the others-
followed. Then began the chant
weird, solemn. Impressive at first, low
and monotonous. Anon, it increased In
volume, finally bursting forth In a pierc
ing and mighty chorus. It was the slogan
the battle-cry of the braves. 'Mingled
with it was the touching refrain of the
sorrowing. Outside the tepees sat the
wives and mothers, cross-legged on the
ground, with their little ones grouped all
about them. There went up from these
to the Great Spirit, the pitiful, heart
rending cry of mourning and lamentation
for their dead.
Ingersoll somewhere says that the wall
of the savage has more of meaning In It
than all the words of the most-robed
priest. This is more than mere poetic
fancy. There, on the occasion of which
I write, the womon sat. In all their grief,
like modern Rachels, refusing to be com
forted. The tears gushed forth, and the
dusky hands made no attempt to wipe
away these drops of poignant sorrow.
Around the courso the horses loped, and
the wild chant kept on. From bits of
looking-glass and polished metal armlets,
Beating: the Tuiu-Tum.
About the center of the grounds stood
a lodge, roofed over with leafy boughs
to keep 'out the sun. At one end, spread
out upon the ground, wero gaily colored
blankets. Upon one of these was placed,
with due ceremony, a huge drum or "tum
tum," of native manufacture. Around
this half a dozen young braves seated
themselves, and began belaboring It with
drumsticks. Contrasted with their Jet
black, waving hair. In the background,
stood an old man, vigorous still, whose
lpcks were as white as the snow on the
far-off ropuntaln peaks. The drummers
weaved their bodies to and fro. In time
to the rude rhythm, accompanying the
drum in song: "Hl-ah! hl-ah! hl-ah!
Thus they sang. Rising and falling
upon the ear came the savage cadence,
but It was fairly melodious wlthaL Now
swelling loud and clear, again the chorus
died away In half-audible sounds, like a
sob. Then came the more sprightly parts
the short, quick bark of the wolf, and
then the dismal howl of the coyote most
Two warriors, brilliantly costumed, sud
denly stepped forth and Inaugurated the
dance. These were Yellow Hair and Ma
tonlc. Xatcr on Tlllaquots and Fish Hawk
joined them. Then others followed, until
the space was filled. Each aptly fitted
Dickens' description, for each was" "a
howling, whistling, ducking, stamping,
jumping, tearing savage."
Though Dickens was extravagant In his
ue of adjectives, perhaps, he did not use
too many lit this case. It was a remark
The moccaslned feet of the braves made
no sound, as they stamped on the ground,
accompanying themselves with song. They
contorted their features: now scowling
with hatred, terribly accentuated In hid
eousness by daubs of paint; again giving
way to fierce and fiendish smiles, they ex
hibited every grade of human emotion.
As soon as one crowd or dancers became
fatigued. It was Immediately succeeded
by another. Surrounding the lodge was
a solid phalanx of ponies, while, perched
upon their backs, were Indians boys and
girls, silent and admiring spectators of
the dramatic scene.
iCept It Up a Fortnight.
Once you overcome the stoical lethargy
of an Indian sufficiently to get him into
motion. It Is hard to stop him. He will
keep on moving until sheer physical ex
haustion causes him to drop. So It was
with this celebration. For nearly a fort
night they kept up their orglos. The
dances were held at 11 A. 1L and 5 P.
21. daily. There were daily horse races.
On one occasion there was a 220-yard
dash, which -was a fair type of all the
races In general.
The backers of the two "ponies stood
at Xhe opposite ends of the-course. A
JULY 8, 1900.
black and a bay were entered. "When
the black mare won. her backers sent up
a taunting, victd.-ious shout This was
promptly met with a defiant disapproving
yell by the backers of the bay. As a
result considerable money, and not a
few blankets, changed hands. Thes In
dians, by the way, have a quaint bit of
blanket philosophy. They gravely assort
that they wear blankets in "Winter "to
keep the cold out" and In Summer "to
keep the heat off." Some -white men ap
ply the same rule to whisky drinking.
The men did not do all the dancing.
The womon, too. "did their little turn."
They seated themselves on the ground,
In two divisions, on opposite sidefe of the
lodge, each group facing the other. One
division started a song, in shrill tones,
which the others answered. Then sprfn
lng to their feet they all joined in the
The Indians Indulged In a peculiar
gambling game. The opposing players
squatted upon the ground, equally di
vided as to numbers. Each group had a
well-dried stick, which they vigorously
thumped with a smaller stick, while one
buck, with a bit of polished, bone in
either hand, one engraved with odd hiero
glyphics, shook the bones with consider
able energy. There It a song that goes
with the game a sort of Incantation, in
tended, perhaps, to keep off the hoodoo.
The game 'appeared to consist In making
a guess as to which hand held the en
graved bone, the betters backing each
guess, of course, with a wager of money
or blankets. In this particular game.
Fish Hawk, the redoubtable, appeared to
be the, "dealer" the high grand totem.
One evening there was a pretty scene.
The sun was sinking In the "West and
twilight was just coming on. A number
of the young Indians mounted their
burros and started, around the village.
Pausing In front of each wickiup, they
lifted up their voices. In a sort of even
songa curfew chant hy copper-colored
The efforts of the few who have striven
to teach the Indians the Christian -faith
have not been entirely In, vain. A Cath
olic mission and a Presbyterian chapel
are maintained on the reservation. Dur
ing the Sunday which intervened, while
the 'great ceremonies were In progress,
most of the aborigines did not forrf t to
"Remember the Sabbath day to k p it
holy," and refrained from the dat:es.
Entertain Visiting: Indiana
At the great yearly gatherings on the
Umatilla reservation the Indians often en
tertain visltlnglndlans from other reser
vations. It Is needless to say that they
all Indulge in feasting to their hearts'
content As is to be expected, from their
constant contact with the whites, the red
men have adopted, in whole, or in part
civilized modes of dress. Yet every one
retains his -blanket To see them thus
the world of spirits. In brief, he is a
spiritualistic medium. The revelations he
makes are received with superstitious
awe. He is a shrewd man. conscious of
his power, and knows well how to use It
He has an excellent memory, and. Is ac
quainted with every fact of Interest In the
history of the tribes. On more than one
occasion he has visited the Great "White
Father at Washington on missions of Im
portance. It is a lamentable fact that the Indian,
like the representatives of nearly all the
other races that have come into contact
with the white man. Is more prone to
adopt the vices than the virtues
of the latter. During a residence
of six months or more at Pen
dleton. I noticed that the Indians
there were frequently Intoxicated. The
ponalty was a sentence to the city lock
up. In lieu of a fine. Naturally enough,
after Indulging In a spree, the offenders
seldom had any money left with which
to pay a fine. Pendleton feeds and lodges
these prisoners for five days and nights.
During the day they are set at work on
the public streets.
Bad 'Roads Slake Good Roads.
An Instance comes to mind of one red
skin who rejoices in the name of Jim
Bad Roads. On one occasion he drank
not wisely but too much. He received
the usual "stretch." He was afterwards
seen raking out a gutter and spreading
gravel. Singularly enough, It was a case
of Bad Roads being compelled to make
In physical appearance the Indians of
the Umatilla Reservation are really fine
looking, especially the men. They are all
tall and Imposing. They have a penchant
for fancy blankets the brighter the hues
the better they are pleased. The younger
men Incline to hats of the sombrero order,
broad-brimmed, low-crowned and drab
colored. These are usually encircled with
a band of bright brass or' brass, nickel
plated. The Indians are always Interesting,
whether one see3 them dashing over the
dusty trail on their cayuses, or standing
at tho "Street corners, grave and silent,
like statues of copper. Every one is a
superb horseman. The sqpaw3 usually
buy the provisions for their families. It
Is not an unusual sight to see them car
rying a sack of flour on their backs and
trudging patiently homeward from town,
over the long and weary miles to the res
To the thoughtful mind it fs mournful
to note that yearly the participants in
the annual ceremonials at the reserva
tion are growing fewer. It Is not difficult
to see whither they are trending to
The undiscovered country, from whose bourne
No traveler returns.
A Dying: Race.
Each year the tepee fires grow less. Red
embers die to ashes, cold and gray. The
twinkling stars above look down, and
mournfully trace In these a dying race.
The sunset of life of a people is here.
Like the passing of a fitful day, they are
fluttering to the darkness of an endless
night The ashes of the Indian will com
mingle with those that mark his council
they come and go upon life's shifting
Alas, for them' their day is o'er.
Their fires are out from shore to shore;
No more for them the Rlld deer bounds
The ploush is on their hunting grounds.
The pale man's ax rings thro their woods,
The pale man's sail sklma o'er their floods;
Their pleasant springs are dry;
Their children look, by power oppre3s'l,
Beyond the mountains of the West
Their children co to diet"
CHARLES E. SAtWYER.
ONE ATA, INDIAN MAID.
She Is slttine in the tepee.
With her face upon her hand.
Looking out upon the water
And the sun-glints on tho strand.
She Is listening full Intently
That she faintest sound may hear.
For In the tepee, sloeping lightly.
Lies the trader-bravo Pierre.
See! his gun is standing idly;
His cau3e Is grazing 'round;
For with feer he is stricken.
And is stretched upon the ground.
Many nights and days thej've watched him,
As in fever wild he raes
Nookamis. Olall&'s chlfetaln.
Greatest chief among the braves.
And his daughter. Oneata,
With her dark and gentle eyes.
Hark! anon the pale-face stranger
Wakes, and straight for water cries.
She, at his side, doth whisper,
"Nlka Pierre, sick tate, Plerrer -Crooning
soft, with gentle flutter.
That the sick man she may cheer.
Wearily he turns and murmurs,
"Bring ma water, or I diet"
Water, chuck, chuck, quick she fetches
From the spring that flows near by.
Quietly she sits and watches.
Tears dimming her pitying eye.
While the fever mounts and rages
Weeping soft lest Tyeo die.
And the ocean waves fall moaning,
With a weird and hollow sound;
"They are calling for the Tyee
Who lies there upon the ground;
I'll appease those angry spirits,
That thoy cease their hungry calif
Straight the little Indian maiden
Quickly goes to give them alL
Forth she glides along Taqulna
In her graceful, light canoe;
Throws her beads, cuts loose her tresses,
And her shawl she casts out, toot
Passing by the gloomy Island,
Where the Indian dead tare laid.
With their gear all strewn about them
That in life, they used and lnnflfti
Quick a gruesomo fear o'ertakes her.
That she sees a burying there.
"13 the pale-face Tyee carried?
Is' It him the Siwash fear?"
'Twas the wind that sways the branchesj
Of the gaunt pines on tho Isle;
la her ears they sadly whispered.
Standing lone In funeral file.
And from out a giant tree-stump
Issues forth a white-forked flamo.
" 'Tis the soul of my white Tyee!"
And she loudly called his name.
But the fever has departed,
And she brings the trader pale
Milk and broth from juicy elk-meat
And he grows robust and hale.
Then he whispers to the maiden,
"Oneata, come with me!
Leave Taqulna and Olalla;
Come, fly with white Tyee!
I'll share with you my treasures aH
My bead3, my furs and skins. I ween.
If you, sweet maid, will let me call
You mine my wife, my loving queenl"
I. A. 2b
Nashville, Or .