Manataka American Indian Council

 

 

 

Yana Indians of California

Traditional Stories

 

 

 

 

Betty Brown's Dream
 From Yana Texts by Edward Sapir

 

[Obtained in July and August, 1907, a few miles to the north of the hamlet of Round Mountain (or Buzzard's Roost), Shasta county. The informant was Betty Brown (Indian name Ts!i'daimiya), since dead. There are now not more than seven or eight Indians that are able to speak the dialect. In some respects Betty was an inferior source of text material to Sam Bat'wi, as evidenced by the very small number of myths it was found possible to procure from her. Her method of narrative was peculiar in that she had a very marked tendency to omit anything, even the names of the characters involved, that was not conversation; this has necessitated the liberal use in the English translation of parentheses in which the attempt is made to arrive at a somewhat smoother narrative.] 


I dreamt. I went off towards the east across a dried-up creek; the creek bed was all covered with moss, it was green with moss. Now I went to the north along the trail. Now I stood on the outside (of a house). 

 

"Enter!" said to me a man whose hair was all white. There was also a woman who was blind in one eye. She offered me as a seat a chair of ice. I looked from one thing to another. Everything was made of ice, and it hung down in icicles. "It is near dinner-time," she said. "He will pull the bell," she said. "Now you will be seated, and he will pull you up." "I seated myself, Now he had pulled me up. There was a medicine-man sitting there, talking. The medicine-man was made of rock, he had on a net-cap of white down; he was all white-haired, even his eye-lashes were white. I was afraid. I sat down to eat. (She said to me,) "Go and see your mother! She is sitting inside there yonder."

So I went into the next room to the south. "So it is you, my daughter!" she said, and hugged me. "Go and eat!" she said, and I sat down. Everything was of ice. "So it is you who have come here, cousin!" (said another woman that I recognized as Mary). "We are living in a good place. The place we lived in before was bad. This place here is very good, it is all covered with flowers and it is green. It is very good." And then someone overtook me. "Let us go back!" I slipped down on the left side to the north. Then I started to go back, but I did not go back home by the way I came.

Yana Texts by Edward Sapir, University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 1-235 [1910]
From Blue Panther Keeper of Stories


Childbirth and Death

[Obtained in July and August, 1907, a few miles to the north of the hamlet of Round Mountain (or Buzzard's Roost), Shasta county. The informant was Betty Brown (Indian name Ts!i'daimiya), since dead. There are now not more than seven or eight Indians that are able to speak the dialect. In some respects Betty was an inferior source of text material to Sam Bat'wi, as evidenced by the very small number of myths it was found possible to procure from her. Her method of narrative was peculiar in that she had a very marked tendency to omit anything, even the names of the characters involved, that was not conversation; this has necessitated the liberal use in the English translation of parentheses in which the attempt is made to arrive at a somewhat smoother narrative.]

"She is pregnant. Wait by my wife. She will be sick. She tells me, 'Go and bring my mother!' She is always sick in the night, and I am afraid. I shall not go about, I shall always stay at home. 'You shall not go about,' she says to me. She eats too much, perhaps her child will grow too fast." "Yes!" (said her mother). "It seems she never listens to what I tell her. Whenever she goes out of the house, I say, 'Do not look back when you go outside. Your child will imitate that. Do not eat too much. Your child might grow too quickly.'" She cried when she was told that. "You should not tell me that. I do not feel any pain in my back."

Now she said, "I am sick." Four days elapsed, and the medicine-man was sent for. (Her mother said,) "I can do no more. I am tired out now and good for nothing. You always greatly doubt what I say. You girls do not know anything. Being old, I give advice. It is I that always speak about that. 


Would that she took my advice to herself!" Now the medicine-man came. "What, pray, shall I do to her? I do not know what to do (in such cases)." She was very dry. "Hehe'! What shall we do with her? Do you (women) press upon her belly! [A woman in confinement did not lie down, but was always seated, while one of the women in attendance sat behind her, gently pressing upon her belly in order to hasten the delivery.] I am always afraid, carefully I give counsel." "Please give me some water to drink!" (said the pregnant girl). 

 

"Let me see! Give her supporting sticks as a seat, and she shall get up. Go clear around the house!" "Alas! I shall die," she said. "Step out, do not be worried. You never take my advice to yourself. I know what I say, that is why I tell it to you." Twice she ran around her house. Now a fox gives a bad omen, a fox talks before daybreak, and she sat down again on the supporting sticks.

"Oh! What have I done to you?" (said her mother). The husband wept in the woods. (Her mother said to him,) "Now! Go up on the mountain! [ Round Mountain (Djiga'lmadu) is meant.] Build a fire, break off spruce twigs and put them down, and get pine needles!" Now  he was building a fire. He flew about busily at his work, his heart being very joyful (with hope). Yonder is he, who has gone far off building the fire. He came back at midnight. "How did she get along?" "She is about to die," (said her mother). "Her mouth is all dry." Suddenly she died.

 
Yana Texts by Edward Sapir University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 1-235 [1910]
From Blue Panther Keeper of Stories


 

 

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