Image provided by: The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs; Warm Springs, OR
About Spilyay tymoo. (Warm Springs, Or.) 1976-current | View Entire Issue (April 11, 1996)
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Warm Springs, Oregon
April 11, 1996 3
Xnit Ka'wit-Gommunity comes together to honor the giving of roots
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Food is taken around the longhoiise before serving. '
Root Fcust-Xnit Ka'wit-is the honoring of the
Creator for the roots that I le provides for our people.
At the feast, food is brought around during the
singing of the song sung by the bell ringer (hanking
the Creator for the food that is placed here for us. The
song usually names the food in order that it is put out
on the tables.
Food is served in the order it comes to us in the
year. Salmon tomes up the river first and becomes
available. It is served first, According to legend, all
other foods appointed salmon the leader. The deer
meat comes next from the land. Then the roots arc
served in the order that they maturc-piaxi, xous, and
luxs, and the huckleberries and chokechcrrics arc
served last because they come out later in the year.
During Huckleberry feast the order is-salmon,
decrmcat, silwict, camas, wakamu, cunch,
huckleberries, chokechcrrics and water is a part of
least before and after.
Water is most important for without water there
could be no life. Everyone takes a sip of water before
eating, to show respect. Aftcrcating, everyone drinks
water to cleanse themselves, also to show respect.
After everyone has eaten, the bell ringer sings the
song once again. It is then okay to go out and dig the
roots because everyone came together as a community
to give thanks to the creator for giving us the roots.
The Creator is the one who takes care of the roots,
fish, deer and berries. Humans do not take care of
these things. "The Root Feast and Huckleberry Feast
arc days we honor the giving of the Creator, if a time
comes when we forget to honor the Creator for what
He has given us, He may take it away from us," says
Wilson Wewa, Spiritual Leader at Warm Springs.
These foods arc good for us spiritually and physically,
they provide nourishment.
A week before the Root Feast or Huckleberry
Feast families get ready by bringing themselves out
of mourning in the previous year or to rejoin the
Longhousc. People may also give Indian names at the
same time. In keeping the tradition they provide a
meal to the people to show that they are honoring
them by putting out food. Then a giveaway is held in I
anticipation of the feast, which is set by root diggers!
or berry pickers. I
The whole week, from the time of the memorials!
to the time of the feast, is filled with the activities by I
the diggers and men who fish or hunt for the feast.
They prepare themselves by praying or sweating
Then they go out, usually on Wednesdays, to the root I
fields or berry fields and get the first foods available!
tor the least.
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acvcrai wumcn are uesignaiea 10 geicenain Kinds!
of roots for the feast-piaxi, xous, luxs. Some people!
know from the fall time that they will always provide!
berries lor ttic least. io those people are looked uponl
as those who provide the fruits, cither chokechcrrics!
When the fish or deer meat is brought to the
Longhousc, the food is taken around the Lonehouscl
before it is prepared for cooking on a Friday or
iaturday. A lot ol work is done on Saturday so than
iunday is open lor Worship or Washat.
It is the men's responsibility to pull together the
drummers. The women busy themselves in their role!
ot taking care of the food which comes from the
A long time ago there were only a certain number
ot diggers, pickers, hunters and fishermen that are
chosen by the elders of the Longhousc "But today
there are cars and fancy longhouses and it has
changed," says Wewa. They allow a lot of people to
participate in gathering food, which takes away the
responsibility ot those that are chosen.
"Once chosen, they are responsible for the care of I
the food for the rest of their life. Many don t take care
of themselves and they forget that they are chosen.
They show disrespect to elders who chose them to be
a gatherer of these foods.
Also, other foods are allowed in the feast and
many times the foods provided by the creator are left
at the table. As one elder has said, Never forget the
traditional foods, there may be a time when you will
have to go back to those days.
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Food is prepared in proper order for serving. ' ' . " -; - , ' ;
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' fo V:; ?V' 4 w i A - ' Hundreds pack Agency Longhouse to participate in feast.
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Piaxi was plentiful at root fields.
Bernice Mitchell dishes out the Xous for serving.