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Native Earthquake and Flood Legends



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First Nations and Native American stories that could be about Cascadia megathrust earthquakes 
compiled by Ruth Ludwin, University of Washington, Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences


Quileute, Hoh, Makah, and Klallam material

From the Diary of James Swan JANUARY 1864, Tuesday 12th


From: Gunther, Erna, 1925, "Klallam Folk Tales", University of Washington Publications in Anthropology, Vol. 1, No. 4, pp. 113-170 Informants cited: Told by Joe Samson of Elwah, interpreted by Vera Ulmer

THE FLOOD

From: Ella E. Clark, 1953, Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest, University of California Press, Berkeley CA. 225 pp. 
p. 45

Sam Ulmer, a Klallam who lives near the Strait of Juan de Fuca, learned in childhood a similar story of canoes tied to a mountain during the great flood. The mountaintop broke off, he said, leaving the two points now visible at the ends of a saddle-like ridge in the Olympics. "The canoes floated away and came down, after the flood, to the place where Seattle is now. The people in the canoes became the ancestors of the Indians who used to live around there." From: Myron Eells, 1985, The Indians of Puget Sound; The Notebooks of Myron Eells, edited by George Pierre Castile, University of Washington Press, Seattle, 470 pp. 
p. 266

The Clallams, whose country adjoins that of the Twanas, also have a tradition of the flood, but some of them believe that it is not very long ago, perhaps not more than three or four generations since. One old man says that his grandfather saw the man who was saved from the flood, and that he was a Clallam.


Curtis, Edward S., 1913, The North American Indian, Volume 9., Johnson Reprint Corporation, NYC. pp. 149-150


From "Some Additional Myths of the Hoh and Quileute Indians", Albert B. Reagan, Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters, Vol. XI, 1934, pp. 17-37. Informants were Hal George, Luke Hobucket, Harold Johnson, Klakishkee, Bucket Mason, Elon Mason, M.B. Penn, Mrs. Jimmie Howe, Frank Bennett, Klekabuck, Kikabuthlup, Dixon Payne, Weberhard Jones, Arthur Howeattle, Eli Ward, Jack Ward, Beatrice Pullen, Mark Williams, and Carl Black and his wife, Sally Black.

A STORY OF THE FLOOD

A HOH VERSION OF THE THUNDERBIRD MYTH


From: Reagan, Albert, and L.V.W. Walters, 1933, "Tales from the Hoh and Quileute", Journal of American Folklore, V. XLVI, pp. 297-346. THUNDERBIRD 
(Neah bay Indians believe that the lightning is caused by two monstrous feathered snakes which dart out from under Thunderbird's breast when he flies forth in anger.)

HUNTERS FIND THE THUNDERBIRD 
(Told by Frank Bennett. A Hoh myth A. B. R.)

THUNDERBIRD CAPTURES A WHALE 
(Told By Luke Hobucket.)

THUNDERBIRD FIGHTS MIMLOS-WHALE 
(Told by Luke Hobucket. Mr. Hobucket said that Thunderbird represented good and that Mimlos-whale represented evil.)

THUNDERBIRD TURNS PEOPLE TO STONE (Told by Luke Hobucket) 

THUNDERBIRD CAUSES A FLOOD 

From: E.Y. Arima, Louis Clamhouse, Joshua Edgar, Charles Jones, and John Thomas, Barkley Sound Southeast, 1989, Between Ports Alberni and Renfrew: Notes on West Coast Peoples, Canadian Museum of Civilization, pp. 207, 230, 231, 264, & 265

Preface: These West Coast notes were gathered from 1964 on as "salvage" or "urgent" ethnology, under the auspices of the Canadian Museum of Civilization during the 1960's and subsequently of National Historic Parks and Sites, from Bamfield, Nitinat, Clo-oose and Port Renfrew. They were assembled in 1975-1976, omitting the Bamfield traditions by Chief Louie, into an earlier ms., "Notes on the Southern West Coast native world: peoples, place names, environment, and selected economic pursuits", in which form they already were useful to West Coast studies (e.g., Turner et al. 1983). In the 1980's the work was expanded for Parks, Environment Canada, as "West Coast native peoples of the Pacific Rim National Park region" to help encourage inclusion of ethnological and historical aspects in a Parks study of Pacific Rim's native dimension, an archaeological survey conducted by James Haggarty assisted notably by Richard Inglis and Denis St. Claire. The prime native contributors are duly recognized as co-authors: Louis Clamhouse who provides the Ho:؛i:دath traditions; Joshua Edgar (Ch’iliد, f. Ch’ila:qetid) for Ditidaht historical and geographical data; Charles Jones (Kwi:la:tso:t), source for the Pacheedaht and more; John Thomas (Cha:xwi:yittx), for Ditidaht and Makah, also transcriber-translator.  Native names given are just their recent ones; all are leading hereditary chiefs.






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