Coyote makes the Salmon Creek Falls: A Wailaki Tale

pools

Middle Pool and Lower Pool of Three Falls

Frequent Photo

Coyote Makes the Salmon Creek Falls

as told to Pliny Earl Goddard by Briceland Charlie (see probable photo of Charlie) July 15, 1908, at the Falls in Salmon Creek

Translated by Ben Schill

Coyote was living at Sel so, the big rock up on the ridge above Salmon Creek.

He was a Handsome man and Powerful.

The People were living down by the creek. They worried about Coyote.

They had to be careful of their women.

They could not trust “That One”. Tcun dut Tcun, “That One”, they called him so as not to speak his name.

If they spoke His name, He would hear them and he might come.

He might think they were calling Him.

To dinner.

Or to gamble.

They watched him.

One day the People saw that Coyote was gone.

He had left his house and gone west.

The people followed Coyote west and found him down at the Falls.

to dji o i

They saw him roll a rock and put it in.

On both sides he put rocks.

Coyote said thus:

“Water stop  flowing!”

Together he pushed the rocks. He was pushing them together.

When he was pushing together, the People came.

The People hollered: “Stop!”

They yelled: “Stop!”

Coyote stopped.

First, He finished the bottom rock.

Water flowed down over it.

He was pushing.

He quit.

He went back.

Coyote went back. He was mad.

He went back to the village, a de gun dun.

Three People there said:

“Why don’t you stay?”

Coyote took out his bow.

He shot.

The People, they shot back.

Coyote is shot.

After two days, He died.

Soon, He came back.

When the man saw Coyote was back.

He shot again.

The man killed Coyote again.

This time, Coyote didn’t come back.

The People built a big fire.

They burned Coyote up.

Everyone went down to Salmon Creek.

Grizzly lived there.

Grizzly came. He said:

“Why did you kill Coyote?”

“We did it, We killed Him.”

they told Grizzly.

Grizzly said:

“You did well. The Falls are bad.

I think the Falls won’t be.”

Grizzly went back.

The People also went back.

Back to their town by the Falls.

They want to undo it.

They will undo it.

Five went down and worked.

They quit.

They went down Salmon Creek

to rest by a rock.

The rock fell on them.

They were under it.

All the People died in pain.

Coyote did it.

He rolled in that rock.

Now water goes down a bend.

Coyote made a bridge for that.

The water flows down.

Coyote says:

“This Way It Will Be!”

He makes Trout.

Trout, He put in the water above the Falls.

They swim down.

Good!

He put Trout below the Falls.

The water flows.

They jump. Fall back.

Again, they jumped.

Again, they fall back.

They can’t go up that way.

It’s too long.

Then come Salmon.

They jump, fall back.

Jump, fall back.

Can’t go.

Steelhead, he swims along.

They say to him:

“Don’t go, Salmon can’t jump!”

Steelhead went on.

He made it.

Steelhead never has a sore tail.

Only Salmon has a sore tail.

Hookbill has a sore tail.

They say: That is the way it will be!”

They say.

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81 comments

  • I love the story and the perspective in the photo. Can you believe it, I have never been in the middle pool.

  • I love the story and the perspective in the photo. Can you believe it, I have never been in the middle pool.

  • Where is Sel? It must be on our side because Coyote traveled west to the falls.

  • Where is Sel? It must be on our side because Coyote traveled west to the falls.

  • I added a probable photo of Briceland Charlie to the post above.

    • Charlie is on the right. George Burt is on the left holding a wand with eagle down. The picture was taken at Briceland. Charlie was born at the Burnell place in Salmon Creek. He was living nearby when he told the story to Goddard. I have heard that the ruins of his cabin can still be found. Goddard described him as “sprightly” and liked him very much. His wife was from Bridgevilel and related (sister?) to George Burt’s wife.
      This is a classic Coyote story where he dies and comes back. I feel really fortunate to have found it. My version is not word for word. I have added material to help the reader understand why the people were wary of Coyote. The traditional opening of a Coyote story is “Coyote was a Handsome Man.” I’m still working on a literal translation for the name of the falls. It looks like “Water comes over it” Indian names are mostly very literal.

  • I added a probable photo of Briceland Charlie to the post above.

    • Charlie is on the right. George Burt is on the left holding a wand with eagle down. The picture was taken at Briceland. Charlie was born at the Burnell place in Salmon Creek. He was living nearby when he told the story to Goddard. I have heard that the ruins of his cabin can still be found. Goddard described him as “sprightly” and liked him very much. His wife was from Bridgevilel and related (sister?) to George Burt’s wife.
      This is a classic Coyote story where he dies and comes back. I feel really fortunate to have found it. My version is not word for word. I have added material to help the reader understand why the people were wary of Coyote. The traditional opening of a Coyote story is “Coyote was a Handsome Man.” I’m still working on a literal translation for the name of the falls. It looks like “Water comes over it” Indian names are mostly very literal.

  • Thanks for the great photos and sharing this Kym, and thank you Ben. What a treasure.

  • Thanks for the great photos and sharing this Kym, and thank you Ben. What a treasure.

  • Thanks Ben and Kym. I’ve noticed that any people that had only oral history had such rich tales. The “Salmon of Wisdom” in Ireland takes the place of Coyote, plus many stories refer to a version of the Holy Grail story.

    The coyote was one smooth dude!

  • Thanks Ben and Kym. I’ve noticed that any people that had only oral history had such rich tales. The “Salmon of Wisdom” in Ireland takes the place of Coyote, plus many stories refer to a version of the Holy Grail story.

    The coyote was one smooth dude!

  • Such a beautiful place, Kym. The pools are gorgeous.

  • Such a beautiful place, Kym. The pools are gorgeous.

  • I always like to read Coyote stories. I think some of my favorites are in “Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

  • I always like to read Coyote stories. I think some of my favorites are in “Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

  • It’s interesting that you posted this story at the time of Micheal Jackson’s death. Lie Micheal, Coyote symbolizes Oneness and transcendence. In Coyote there are dual aspects of Christ and devil. Like Christ he dies and is reborn. Like the devil he is isolated and the bad guy, the scapegoat, the nemesis of the people, trying to stop the flow of water. Like Micheal Jackson, who was male and female, black and white, Coyote symbolizes transcendence of opposites, transcendence of duality. Transcendence of morality. Both and yet neither good nor bad. He represents paradox and oneness. And like Micheal J, with Coyote, it’s all about the dance 😉

    • Suzy… Quite a bit of Christian imagery appeared in these stories after the whites came with their churches. The Indians seemed to see the world as always having been here. The Coyote stories were probably the most popular form of entertainment. Coyote certainly was the “King of Pop”, around here, for a long, long, looooooooong .(say 6000 years) time.

      • The Indians seemed to see the world as always having been here.

        Thats not true. whered yuo ever get such a silly notion?

        • Where have you heard otherwise?

          • i asked you first, why wont you answer my question?

            • asking you third

              Creation stories imply creating don’t they?

              • We (us judeo Christian thinkers) see Creation as arising from “Nothing”. Indigenous people thought of creation as a process in which all of the elements necessary to human existence were brought from a hidden but very real state into the World by the actions of a Hero. Thus Coyote performs this role by finding the Sun in its hiding place and putting it into the sky. He goes off to another country and steals fire from the people there. He makes human beings (indians) from sticks. While Charlie dictated the story he made an aside to Goddard that “Coyote made all the fish, the elk, the deer, the oaks. He made everything.” But “everything” always comes from something, never nothing. It is our cultural training that tries to make Indian legends fit our idea of what the world should be. For Indigenous people reality was a timeless potential which could suddenly appear in our specific world. The world outside our experience was timeless and time existed as a tiny thing on the top of Mount Shasta. It is called Mis Misa and its only function is to make time happen. When we look at the language it is a very different way of experiencing existence. In Native language there is no word for “create” what Coyote does is to “Form” rather than create in the sense that we see creation from nothing. He always forms from something else. Something which comes from the tremendous timeless potential of “Everything”.

                • Whether it was ‘formed’ or ‘created’, and whether it came from “nothing” or “a timeless potential”, is a semantic argument. The underlying meaning is essentially the same. What is important is the understanding that they do NOT say that the world was ‘always here’ as you claim, because if it was ‘formed’ then it obviously did NOT always exist.

                • Seems to me that there is an interesting difference between bringing items (like the sun) from somewhere else rather than forming than whole from nothing ( ie.God said, “let there be light, and there was light..)

                  The bringing things from somewhere else seems to imply an understanding that something must come from something. I wonder if this would have effected the local indigenous people’s behavior towards the environment?

                • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
                  — John 1:1 (King James Version)

                  Kym either you rudely ignored me or you missed my point. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume the point went over your head, so let me be a little more emphatic. The point is THERE IS NO ULTIMATE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE WESTERN CREATION STORY AND THE NATIVE AMERICANS, To say that the world always existed as a ‘potential’, is not fundamentally any different than the western concept of the Word of God always existing. When God said let there be light it didn’t come from ‘nothing’. That is Ben’s and your misunderstanding.
                  You are trying to make a case for a difference between the western creation myth and the indian creation myths that doesn’t exist. It is important to understand this because if your false interpretation and fake duality is accepted, then it is only a short jump to saying, as you have already implied with your remark about behavior towards the environment, that the indian understanding of the earth’s beginnings is superior to the western judeo/christian. That is my objection to the direction that your’s and Ben’s ignorance of and/or superficial understanding about the creation myths can lead –to a bias against the judeo/christian.

                  So the question that arises from this then is ‘why?’ Why are you and people like Ben inclined towards a biased viewpoint? To Suzy the answer is obvious –you feel guilty for what westerners have done to the indigenous americans. My advice is to get over it! Get over it so that this neurotic guilt complex doesn’t spread and cause any more damage then it already has. Instead of looking for differences, try looking for similarities in the stories. It will be much more beneficial for gaining insight into the mysteries.

                • Kym .. You are right, Dorothy Lee points out that she erred in all her translations by using the word create. She says the correct word is “grew” or was “formed”. I am not nearly smart enough to make this stuff up. The Indian perception of existence was quite different from ours.

                • Suzy… You just don’t get it. You are working too hard at being right. I suggest you read Teachings From the American Earth, Indian Religion and Philosophy” a collection of works edited by Barbara and Dennis Tedlock. Read “Linguistic Reflection of Wintu Thought by Dorothy Lee. It explains the thinking difference between our language and theirs. Semantic differences only exist in the same language. The difference ain’t semantic. Til’ then we can agree to disagree.

                • no Ben i think that you are the one who doesnt get it. We can agree to disagree but it might help if you understood what we are disagreeing on. i’m not saying that i think the difference youre suggesting is a semantic one, duh! Of course its not. I’m saying taht the difference you are suggesting doesnt exist, in reality, and the only difference you have demonstrated has to do wiht semantics. “Arising from nothing” is your phrase. It is you that pulled that out of your butt and made a semantic distinction, reflecting your schizophrenic worldview. I merely pointed out how the differences that you were claiming to exist in the stories were only evidenced here by your words. You said there’s a difference between “nothing” and “the sun’s hiding place”. or between “nothing” and a “timeless potential”. Those are the words that you used. You are using words and bringing up words and comparing words and phrases to make a point, to say there’s an essential difference in the stories, and you try and show it by using words and saying that because the words you decide to throw out are different in meaning then that shows that the skeletal form of the stories is different, not Suzy, i’m saying there is no fundamental difference, only a superficial one. Yes i know you disagree. Reread John one and Genesis one and two … The underlying form is the same as creation stories universally. Yes that includes north america.

                  But before you even begin, the question for you to ask yourself is =where is the Word hiding before Coyote howls?

                  LOL!

                  Then I suggest you grab some Micheal Jackson, turn up the volume and relax. Shake yer boody and open your mind, forget about linguistic reflections, forget about linguistics altogether … for a spell

                  the high high high noon day sun may just come out of its hi hi hi hiding place
                  –at midnight.
                  -_-
                  and then after it bleaches your mind,
                  much later, the moon will appear
                  )
                  and the stars * * *
                  and all of the animals…
                  and they will dance to Coyote’s drum,
                  fe fi fo fum
                  i smell the blood of an English pun
                  tick tick tick tock
                  i smell the %#*&^@ of an English clock
                  (big ben)
                  and theyll dance even better than Jacko dances, if youll allow that distinction;

                  –and then if you are vigilant She will come
                  LOL
                  and she will come again as it is writ
                  ten nine eight seven six etc –blast off!
                  and after she comes for the umpteenth time . . .
                  she will look deep into your eyes
                  she will look deep into yuor suol
                  she will look deep into your heart
                  and then she will look deep into your
                  hiding place

                  and bring out your stash
                  :::::
                  and the pipe
                  U=========~

                  until then, huggles,
                  S

  • It’s interesting that you posted this story at the time of Micheal Jackson’s death. Lie Micheal, Coyote symbolizes Oneness and transcendence. In Coyote there are dual aspects of Christ and devil. Like Christ he dies and is reborn. Like the devil he is isolated and the bad guy, the scapegoat, the nemesis of the people, trying to stop the flow of water. Like Micheal Jackson, who was male and female, black and white, Coyote symbolizes transcendence of opposites, transcendence of duality. Transcendence of morality. Both and yet neither good nor bad. He represents paradox and oneness. And like Micheal J, with Coyote, it’s all about the dance 😉

    • Suzy… Quite a bit of Christian imagery appeared in these stories after the whites came with their churches. The Indians seemed to see the world as always having been here. The Coyote stories were probably the most popular form of entertainment. Coyote certainly was the “King of Pop”, around here, for a long, long, looooooooong .(say 6000 years) time.

      • The Indians seemed to see the world as always having been here.

        Thats not true. whered yuo ever get such a silly notion?

        • Where have you heard otherwise?

          • i asked you first, why wont you answer my question?

            • asking you third

              Creation stories imply creating don’t they?

              • We (us judeo Christian thinkers) see Creation as arising from “Nothing”. Indigenous people thought of creation as a process in which all of the elements necessary to human existence were brought from a hidden but very real state into the World by the actions of a Hero. Thus Coyote performs this role by finding the Sun in its hiding place and putting it into the sky. He goes off to another country and steals fire from the people there. He makes human beings (indians) from sticks. While Charlie dictated the story he made an aside to Goddard that “Coyote made all the fish, the elk, the deer, the oaks. He made everything.” But “everything” always comes from something, never nothing. It is our cultural training that tries to make Indian legends fit our idea of what the world should be. For Indigenous people reality was a timeless potential which could suddenly appear in our specific world. The world outside our experience was timeless and time existed as a tiny thing on the top of Mount Shasta. It is called Mis Misa and its only function is to make time happen. When we look at the language it is a very different way of experiencing existence. In Native language there is no word for “create” what Coyote does is to “Form” rather than create in the sense that we see creation from nothing. He always forms from something else. Something which comes from the tremendous timeless potential of “Everything”.

                • Whether it was ‘formed’ or ‘created’, and whether it came from “nothing” or “a timeless potential”, is a semantic argument. The underlying meaning is essentially the same. What is important is the understanding that they do NOT say that the world was ‘always here’ as you claim, because if it was ‘formed’ then it obviously did NOT always exist.

                • Seems to me that there is an interesting difference between bringing items (like the sun) from somewhere else rather than forming than whole from nothing ( ie.God said, “let there be light, and there was light..)

                  The bringing things from somewhere else seems to imply an understanding that something must come from something. I wonder if this would have effected the local indigenous people’s behavior towards the environment?

                • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
                  — John 1:1 (King James Version)

                  Kym either you rudely ignored me or you missed my point. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume the point went over your head, so let me be a little more emphatic. The point is THERE IS NO ULTIMATE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE WESTERN CREATION STORY AND THE NATIVE AMERICANS, To say that the world always existed as a ‘potential’, is not fundamentally any different than the western concept of the Word of God always existing. When God said let there be light it didn’t come from ‘nothing’. That is Ben’s and your misunderstanding.
                  You are trying to make a case for a difference between the western creation myth and the indian creation myths that doesn’t exist. It is important to understand this because if your false interpretation and fake duality is accepted, then it is only a short jump to saying, as you have already implied with your remark about behavior towards the environment, that the indian understanding of the earth’s beginnings is superior to the western judeo/christian. That is my objection to the direction that your’s and Ben’s ignorance of and/or superficial understanding about the creation myths can lead –to a bias against the judeo/christian.

                  So the question that arises from this then is ‘why?’ Why are you and people like Ben inclined towards a biased viewpoint? To Suzy the answer is obvious –you feel guilty for what westerners have done to the indigenous americans. My advice is to get over it! Get over it so that this neurotic guilt complex doesn’t spread and cause any more damage then it already has. Instead of looking for differences, try looking for similarities in the stories. It will be much more beneficial for gaining insight into the mysteries.

                • Kym .. You are right, Dorothy Lee points out that she erred in all her translations by using the word create. She says the correct word is “grew” or was “formed”. I am not nearly smart enough to make this stuff up. The Indian perception of existence was quite different from ours.

                • Suzy… You just don’t get it. You are working too hard at being right. I suggest you read Teachings From the American Earth, Indian Religion and Philosophy” a collection of works edited by Barbara and Dennis Tedlock. Read “Linguistic Reflection of Wintu Thought by Dorothy Lee. It explains the thinking difference between our language and theirs. Semantic differences only exist in the same language. The difference ain’t semantic. Til’ then we can agree to disagree.

                • no Ben i think that you are the one who doesnt get it. We can agree to disagree but it might help if you understood what we are disagreeing on. i’m not saying that i think the difference youre suggesting is a semantic one, duh! Of course its not. I’m saying taht the difference you are suggesting doesnt exist, in reality, and the only difference you have demonstrated has to do wiht semantics. “Arising from nothing” is your phrase. It is you that pulled that out of your butt and made a semantic distinction, reflecting your schizophrenic worldview. I merely pointed out how the differences that you were claiming to exist in the stories were only evidenced here by your words. You said there’s a difference between “nothing” and “the sun’s hiding place”. or between “nothing” and a “timeless potential”. Those are the words that you used. You are using words and bringing up words and comparing words and phrases to make a point, to say there’s an essential difference in the stories, and you try and show it by using words and saying that because the words you decide to throw out are different in meaning then that shows that the skeletal form of the stories is different, not Suzy, i’m saying there is no fundamental difference, only a superficial one. Yes i know you disagree. Reread John one and Genesis one and two … The underlying form is the same as creation stories universally. Yes that includes north america.

                  But before you even begin, the question for you to ask yourself is =where is the Word hiding before Coyote howls?

                  LOL!

                  Then I suggest you grab some Micheal Jackson, turn up the volume and relax. Shake yer boody and open your mind, forget about linguistic reflections, forget about linguistics altogether … for a spell

                  the high high high noon day sun may just come out of its hi hi hi hiding place
                  –at midnight.
                  -_-
                  and then after it bleaches your mind,
                  much later, the moon will appear
                  )
                  and the stars * * *
                  and all of the animals…
                  and they will dance to Coyote’s drum,
                  fe fi fo fum
                  i smell the blood of an English pun
                  tick tick tick tock
                  i smell the %#*&^@ of an English clock
                  (big ben)
                  and theyll dance even better than Jacko dances, if youll allow that distinction;

                  –and then if you are vigilant She will come
                  LOL
                  and she will come again as it is writ
                  ten nine eight seven six etc –blast off!
                  and after she comes for the umpteenth time . . .
                  she will look deep into your eyes
                  she will look deep into yuor suol
                  she will look deep into your heart
                  and then she will look deep into your
                  hiding place

                  and bring out your stash
                  :::::
                  and the pipe
                  U=========~

                  until then, huggles,
                  S

  • LIke Micheal

  • LIke Micheal

  • Very cool story Ben & Kym.

  • Very cool story Ben & Kym.

  • wow – that looks like a fantastic place to swim. not sure I could jump though.

  • I really enjoy looking at your photos and stories. I look everyday to see if any new ones.

  • I really enjoy looking at your photos and stories. I look everyday to see if any new ones.

  • Suzy, for all of our sake’s, please take that stick out of your butt. Nobody was trying to be rude. We’re trying to include you in a discussion that you seem determined to be nasty about.

    You are correct that my last statement was an over romanticism of Native Americans.

    However, I still think there is a difference between the everything coming from the Word and objects such as the sun existing elsewhere and being brought here. I don’t really think one is better than the other. But it IS an interesting difference.

    • No! there is no difference. They are both saying the same thing in different ways. And THAT is what’s interesting!

  • Suzy, for all of our sake’s, please take that stick out of your butt. Nobody was trying to be rude. We’re trying to include you in a discussion that you seem determined to be nasty about.

    You are correct that my last statement was an over romanticism of Native Americans.

    However, I still think there is a difference between the everything coming from the Word and objects such as the sun existing elsewhere and being brought here. I don’t really think one is better than the other. But it IS an interesting difference.

    • No! there is no difference. They are both saying the same thing in different ways. And THAT is what’s interesting!

  • So do you think creation myths everywhere are exciting because they share some common themes?

    • Kym… That idea made Carl Jung’s whole career. It is really hard to comprehend the idea that people thinking in a different language might have a very very different world view. That the actual structure of the language is fundamentally different from ours. I had to read the Lee article about six times to even begin to see what she was saying. Thanks for being so patient with us.

      • I had to read the Lee article about six times to even begin to see what she was saying

        LOL!

      • The book, “Cultural Contact and Linguistic Relativity Among the Indians of Northwest California” by Sean O’neil is a good read for me. I’m still trying to “wrap my mind” around differing world views per cultural influence. In my case my English based European based background offers me a different reality than the indigenous inhabitants had prior to European contact, a world view that did not have European influence prior to our European migration and cultural contact. A lack of future tense and past tense in linguistic realms is why “Creation” is different. Our language has past tense, present tense and future tense as a part of our linguistic realm. Without this tense based language there is no beginning or end. There is what was and what is, but no time that there was nothing. I would suggest reading this interesting book to get a clearer understanding of pre-contact world view in the language/culture diverse area that we call home now. “Creation” is different from different cultural perspectives. Our European based culture defines our personal world view. Before my relatives migrated to this “New World” and discovered the Indians their reality was their personal cultural reality.

        • Even writing this in English and with our tense based language can not adequately express thoughts conveyed in native languages and stories. Using our language for these stories, it just doesn’t fully define, it only approximates based on our knowledge base. A European perspective has the influence of the Bible and Genesis and a beginning. But if there were no “Bible stories” or ‘Big Bang” and no “beginning” to influence our own world view I think? But then I only think in English so maybe I can’t fully understand?

          • Harry,
            I’d like to think that just the effort to understand is enough but it isn’t really, is it? I know I try to comprehend others and try to respond to that humanely. I almost always succeed in answering kindly from my perspective….And yet, I still manage to piss people off. Somehow not only do we have to try and transcend our own culture, we actually have to do it. The book you recommend sounds like a great beginning. If I get a chance, I’m going to read it.

            • Thanks so much Ben for keeping the story alive by telling it. The falls are such a beautiful place, as is the Salmon Creek Watershed that I call home. Stories are living things after all. Another good read is “Flutes of Fire, Essays on California Indian Languages” by Leanne Hinton. Bottom line, we are blessed to live where we do; and this story is pertinent to this place we call home.

  • So do you think creation myths everywhere are exciting because they share some common themes?

    • Kym… That idea made Carl Jung’s whole career. It is really hard to comprehend the idea that people thinking in a different language might have a very very different world view. That the actual structure of the language is fundamentally different from ours. I had to read the Lee article about six times to even begin to see what she was saying. Thanks for being so patient with us.

      • I had to read the Lee article about six times to even begin to see what she was saying

        LOL!

      • The book, “Cultural Contact and Linguistic Relativity Among the Indians of Northwest California” by Sean O’neil is a good read for me. I’m still trying to “wrap my mind” around differing world views per cultural influence. In my case my English based European based background offers me a different reality than the indigenous inhabitants had prior to European contact, a world view that did not have European influence prior to our European migration and cultural contact. A lack of future tense and past tense in linguistic realms is why “Creation” is different. Our language has past tense, present tense and future tense as a part of our linguistic realm. Without this tense based language there is no beginning or end. There is what was and what is, but no time that there was nothing. I would suggest reading this interesting book to get a clearer understanding of pre-contact world view in the language/culture diverse area that we call home now. “Creation” is different from different cultural perspectives. Our European based culture defines our personal world view. Before my relatives migrated to this “New World” and discovered the Indians their reality was their personal cultural reality.

        • Even writing this in English and with our tense based language can not adequately express thoughts conveyed in native languages and stories. Using our language for these stories, it just doesn’t fully define, it only approximates based on our knowledge base. A European perspective has the influence of the Bible and Genesis and a beginning. But if there were no “Bible stories” or ‘Big Bang” and no “beginning” to influence our own world view I think? But then I only think in English so maybe I can’t fully understand?

          • Harry,
            I’d like to think that just the effort to understand is enough but it isn’t really, is it? I know I try to comprehend others and try to respond to that humanely. I almost always succeed in answering kindly from my perspective….And yet, I still manage to piss people off. Somehow not only do we have to try and transcend our own culture, we actually have to do it. The book you recommend sounds like a great beginning. If I get a chance, I’m going to read it.

            • Thanks so much Ben for keeping the story alive by telling it. The falls are such a beautiful place, as is the Salmon Creek Watershed that I call home. Stories are living things after all. Another good read is “Flutes of Fire, Essays on California Indian Languages” by Leanne Hinton. Bottom line, we are blessed to live where we do; and this story is pertinent to this place we call home.

  • The way people think (even within the same language) is so fundamentally different that having another language and another culture layered over our common needs is just going add another layer of complexity and difference.

    As humans, we’ve got some commonalities that seem universal but my brain can’t wrap itself around the difference between how my 7 year old thinks and how I think–I have even more trouble when I try to comprehend the differences between cultures.

  • The way people think (even within the same language) is so fundamentally different that having another language and another culture layered over our common needs is just going add another layer of complexity and difference.

    As humans, we’ve got some commonalities that seem universal but my brain can’t wrap itself around the difference between how my 7 year old thinks and how I think–I have even more trouble when I try to comprehend the differences between cultures.

  • Look at the likenesses instead of the differences.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monomyth

  • Look at the likenesses instead of the differences.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monomyth

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