Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

Yaya's Trunk: stories from the past

Story of the missing hair

By Mary Jane Charlo

Circle of Trust seeking Mindfulness stories
PABLO — Positive Indian Parenting and the Circle of Trust of Tribal Social Services is looking for short personal stories to include in curriculum for their programs. In the context of teaching mindfulness, the program seeks to strengthen youth’s connection to their culture by naturally introducing practices and stories that reinforce native tradition.

The teachings and stories of the Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d’Oreille , will reinforce the value of traditional beliefs and practices in the daily lives of those we serve.

When I was growing up, I was taught help with any work that needed to be done. When we were at someone’s home we helped clean up after a meal. This was true for wakes also, everyone helped out.

Back then people visited each other more often, and stayed longer. We were always glad when company arrived to share news about their family and their part of the country.

A man named Muk Muk, a relative, used to stay at Rosie Felix’s home in Schley. He would get a gun and go up to the power line in Evaro, he would bring a deer back for the family. He would chop a good supply of wood, work on a car, if needed. After a few days he would leave. No one slept on your couch and laid around in your house doing nothing.

When I was a young mother staying in my Mom’s house (Suset Ahocks) in Arlee. John Cullooyah, Oshanee’s brother, would come and stay. He would bring a bag of treats for Mountain and Sarah. Potato chips, candy and pop they of course would be happy to see him coming down the road. Grampa John would tell them stories. One they remember still. My daughter, Sarah asked him what happened to his hair, this question deserved a great story.

He said he was up in the mountains hunting one time. He felt like he was being watched but he didn’t see anyone or hear anyone. He kept walking a little faster. He was getting nervous. No one was around to help if he got into a bind. He only had a couple of bullets for hunting. People back then didn’t waste bullets, they were needed to get food. Indians didn’t have much money. My Mom, Suset, told me that when she was young and lived up Valley Creek with Baptiste Finley, Christine Woodcock and Louise McDonald. They were all Finleys. A common practice was to go out at night to find grouse. The grouse would be in a tree sleeping. So the 22 would be put up under their head and shot. No wasting bullets.

Ok, back to Grampa John’s story.

All of a sudden he quickly turned around. There was a Sasquatch behind him! All he could think of was, ”Run, run, get the heck out of there!” Ohh, he was scared, he turned and started to run, but Sasquatch grabbed him by the hair on the top of his head! “Ohhh noooo! He’s got me now!” He thought.

Mountain’s eyes were big, “How did you get away, Grampa John?”

Grampa John said, “I tried to run, but he had lifted me off the ground, my arms and legs were really going! But I couldn’t get away!” He said, “So you know what I did?”

“What, what did you do?” both children asked.

“My legs were running and getting nowhere, so I reached behind me with both arms and I tickled him until he let me go, I hit the ground running and kept going! But he kept my hair.”

When Mountain got his first elk when he was twelve, I scraped the hide and Grampa John gave him a little drum frame. The frame has broken, but I have the hide on a hand drum now.

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