Greg Archuleta (Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde) talks about the importance of Victoria Howard’s Coyote stories and relates one. 3:12.
Bio: Greg Archuleta is Clackamas Chinook, Santiam Kalapuya, and Shasta, and a member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. As an artist and educator, he teaches about the culture and history of the Tribes of Western Oregon, including ethnobotany, carving, cedar hat making, Native art design, and basketry.
“When I was young my auntie would come and visit. And from her we’d learn some of the Chinook Wawa. And it wasn’t till later we’d learn the stories. And we have some elders that have some of the stories but we also had some linguists that came and recorded some of the stories. Like for the Clackamas Chinook there was Victoria Howard that was recorded. And she was born on the reservation and then later moved back to the Oregon City area. But Victoria Howard was Clackamas and Molala. And she was recorded with a lot of the old stories of the Chinookan people from the area. So that’s where we learned most of those stories. And then what they did is the linguistics recorded her and they also made some recordings. And those recordings were on the old wax cylinder recordings that they did at that period of time. So they’re pretty hard to hear but then we have those also, in our collections. But she tells a lot of the old stories, like Coyote being along–we had these ancient coyotes–like –native word 26:40, who lived on the, went along the Columbia River. Kinda deemed the importance of the foods. Including the salmon and the steelhead, the eel, the sturgeon, the plant foods such as the wapato which is really important and was an important food from this region of the Columbia River. And the camas and our other plant foods also. So she kinda tells the story of there was these three different ages of these Coyotes. And they went along the river and kinda helped prepare the world for when the Chinookan people got here and showed them what foods were important to eat and things like that. And there’s old stories too, that she tells about, like how the trees. There’s one where old Grizzly ogress wants to know how beautiful she is. And she asks the trees and so if they gave her good comments then she give them good qualities and if they said she wasn’t very beautiful she’d give them bad qualities. So like cottonwood, she asked cottonwood how beautiful she was, he said not very beautiful. So she was insulted and said well you’ll be worthless. And if you try to use it for firewood or anything it just smokes and things like that. Then she asked cedar and cedar said that was beautiful and so then cedar got all these good qualities for making the plankhouses.”