Our Stories

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Excerpt from “Our Tellings” by Darwin Hanna and Mamie Henry:

Told by Many Brown

Screech Owl

Long ago, people would play lhkẁúsax̣7ma (a game involving throwing an object into the air and piercing it with a dart) and bake in their pithouses.

One day, children were playing inside a pithouse and accidentally started a fire.  The people had to get out by climbing up a ladder, because there are no doors in pithouses.  They all climbed up the ladder but Screech Owl missed a step and fell to the bottom of the ladder.  The others trampled on him.  When they finally got off him, one of his friends got him up and out of the pithouse.

That is why Screech Owl has a flattened face.

Raven

Many years ago, Raven stole some sts’uẃen (dried salmon).  While eating it, he got a fish bone stuck in his throat.  One of his friends jumped on his throat to get rid of the fish bone, and that is why the Raven caws the way he does.

How Chipmunk got his Stripes

This is how Chipmunk got the stripes on his back.

They say long ago there was a chipmunk living under a big rock.  One time he was sitting outside and Bear was going by.  He starting teasing Bear, ‘Oh, you big clumsy old thing!’ and ‘You can’t even get around as good as I can!’  Bear got mad and went after Chipmunk.  Chipmunk went back in his hold and Bear couldn’t catch him.  Chipmunk came out again and started teasing Bear again.  Bear went after him but couldn’t catch him and missed Chipmunk again.  But the third time Bear got Chipmunk on his back and kind of scratched him.  They say that’s how Chipmunk go the little stripes on his back.