Image provided by: The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs; Warm Springs, OR
About Spilyay tymoo. (Warm Springs, Or.) 1976-current | View Entire Issue (April 5, 2001)
Spilyay Tyrooo, Wqrrn Springs, Oregon April 5, 2001
The Warm Springs
Health and Wellness Cen
ter staff is inviting the
community to help cel
ebrate the center's eighth
An open house has
been scheduled for April
11 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Open house activities will
include tours of the facil
ity, specific department
information, and a slide
show about the Health
A special Health and
Wellness Center pin and
coffee cup will be provided
for all adult participants.
Refreshments will also be
A questionnaire will be
available for anyone who
would like to participate.
Your input will be a con
sideration for future plan
ning for the facility.
The community will host a so
briety march on April 30 at 11:30
a.m. in from the of the court house.
Marchers will leave the court house
en route to the Community Wellness
Poster material will be provided
for those who want to participate.
The march is being held to cel
ebrate the efforts of community
members who have been sober for
10 years, 10 months, or just starting
out. Everyone is encourage to sup
port those who are taken the per
sonal oath of sobriety.
Sack lunches will be provided at
the Community Wellness Center.
For more information contact
Sheilah Wahnetah at 553-4914.
Everyone is invited to spend an
Indian nite out with the community
on April 19, 6 p.m. at Agency
Longhouse. A powwow will follow
Recognition and appreciation
will be distributed for past Healthy
Dinner is on the house and kids
are encouraged to dress up and dance
with family or friends.
For more information contact
Sheilah Wahnetah at the Commu
nity Counseling Center, 553-4914.
The Realty, Credit and Housing
departments have been approached
by individuals wanting to sell their
older mobile homes or manufac
tured homes. The Housing Depart
ment discourages people from bring
ing older trailers to the reservation.
The Realty Department has no
vacant lots to place these older trail
ers. There have been inquiries from
around the region to offer them for
sale. Indian reservations are appeal
ing because no trailer park in the
state of Oregon will accept these
trailers, nor will the Oregon Depart
ment of Transportation issue a per
mit to move them unless there is a
The trailers are not up to state
electric codes set in 1977. Many are
considered worthless and they also
pose a fire hazard.
Anyone with a newer trailer the
building inspector has approved
should contact the Realty Depart
ment to discuss possible sites for lo
cating the trailer. New sites will be
presented to the Land Use Planning
Committee for consideration. The
applications take time to process, so
those who have to move a trailer
from an existing site should antici
pate waiting before the committee
makes its decision.
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Clockwise from top:; Kupns porsed
prepares roots; oassie raicnia wun piaxi; uiggers uegin in uay.
Root fieast back
for retUHl visit
Once more, spring has returned
and earth has shared its bounty.
Once more, the root diggers of
Agency Longhouse have plunged
their kupns into sacred ground and
unearthed the piaxi and luksh
which sustained their ancestors and
provide both spiritual and material
On Wednesday, March 28,
Bernice Mitchell, MaryAnn
Meanus, Mary Danzuka, Geneva
Charley, Daisy Ike, Lizzie Rhoan
and other Agency women desig
nated to bring in the ceremonial
roots of the season traveled to the
hills above Warm Springs where
they were grateful to find the roots
both plentiful and, because of recent
rain, easy to dig. That evening, as
women of all ages sat and peeled the
bark from the day's harvest,
Longhouse members shared a din
ner of thanksgiving.
The following day another cara
van of vehicles wound its way up to
Webster Flats. At its destination, the
Bernice Mitchell and diggers sing
. . t- " . -..
to begir) heir work; erniceMitchf
group dispersed as keen eyes sought
out the tiny green root heads peek
ing out of what looked to an out
sider like barren soil. When Bernice
Mitchell, the group's leader, found
the fitting place, she pushed her dig-'
ging stick, or kupn, into the earth.
Walking a few yards, she faced
north, took out her bell and began
a song of prayer. Against the expan
sive backdrop of earth and sky, she
appeared a small figure. But her voice
carried clearly in the crisp air, riding
the breezes to the Creator she in
voked. During the prayer, each woman
stepped forward from a line they had
formed and placed her kupn .near
Mitchell's. Soon the tools stood in a '
sculptural formation on the barren :
heichts - utensils of simplicity ready,
to perform an age-old .task of com- ;
At the close of the prayer, the
diggers took up their kupns and si
multaneously worked the chosen-
spot for its treasure. Within seconds
each digger now holding a precious
root stood and joined Mitchell in a
song of thanksgiving.
As the opening ceremony con
cluded and Mitchell departed, Cassie
Katchia headed north. Leading the
way along winding dirt roads, she
bounced over ruts, rolled down hill
sides and splashed through puddles,
seeking the spot her mother had al
ways said yielded the best roots.
There the diggers disembarked
once more and began their job in
earnest. As they dug in the yielding
earth and began filling the bags
belted to their waists, they shared the
emotions the day elicited. They
spoke of family, continuity, memo-
Desmond Tohet Katchia,
Katchia's grandson, eagerly ran from
mother to cousin to grandmother,
peering with wonder at the mount
ing harvest, oblivious to the history
in which he was partaking. As they
worked, the women spoke proudly
of Katchia's mother, Prosanna
Tohet, who, despite crippling pain,
led Agency diggers out to the hills
each year until the time of her death.
"We miss her a lot," smiled grand
daughter Sharon Katchia wistfully.
As the sun continued to warm
the day, Mary Sando Emhoolah was
also working, a serene look on her
face. She explained that as she dug
roots for the following Sunday's
feast, she needed to be at peace. Be
cause the food takes on the spirit of
the gatherer, she wanted to pass on
only positive elements.
As she plied an aged kupn which
had obviously given many years of
service, she told its history. She re
members first seeing it in the hands
of her grandmother, Eva Polk.
When its handle eventually cracked
after years of digging, her grand
mmm: vm &
mother bandaged it with tape and
cloth. Sando Emhoolah 's hands now
held the original, taped grip. The
frayed cloth fluttered in the breeze.
At her grandmother's death, the
kupn was left to Sando Emhoolah's
sister, Pat Smith, whose own un
timely death returned the tool to
Sando Emhoolah. "It was like get
ting a part of my grandmother
back," says Sando reverently glanc
ing at the worn instrument she now
uses only to dig for the root feast.
"It has had the hands of my grand
mother and my sister upon it."
Nearby, Eva Polk's real legacy
was evidenced as Pat Smith's two
daughters, Alfrcdine and Ava Smith,
shared the day of digging with their
aunt. Someday the harvest of 2001
will be the story they recount to
their grand children, when another
spring arrives and the women of
Warm Springs return to their sacred
rs i cut i