Monday, March 1, 2010

A question from "Anon"

“So, why did you promise yourself that you'd never do this post?”
(About the post below, "oh The horror")

I think that if you read carefully, you will understand that the “Indian Island Massacre” has become the focal point of our shame and pain between two people. During normal everyday life, we all become one community, we work and play together and become one. We are all just friends and family. Any post about “oh the horror” inevitably becomes the source of a new conflict. Usually not between the people with great history on the north coast, but between the “them and us” among us. Or the people that just woke up and heard a story that the early whites killed Indians. Then they say “Oh, how could they”, but they never bother to really try to understand how they could. Not only could they, they did. I think the questions should focus on why it happened. Then you find a failure of government and law and order. You try to see yourself as an early white man. You take it further back and include what would make that man be who he is. You go further back and include his early life, and maybe the trials and tribulations of a wild, wild west trip to California, through a gauntlet of Indians that are trying to kill him. Then you began to understand a little of the bitterness. The whole time you realize that a truly wise man would be able to differentiate between right and wrong, but we aren't talking about wisdom, we are talking about what happened.

You need to read carefully the statements of people like Spyrock, who is by his own admission; “i'm a six generation native american. and i'm proud about that. not ashamed. ernies right. you had to be tough to survive”. And he also said: “when you talk about uncle jack and all those scalps that just meant he was a great warrior by indian standards because that's what he had become by living or surviving here.”

I know from the stories that I was raised with, from my grandmother, my dad and uncles, and local people that “Uncle Jack” Farley killed any Indian that crossed him, but was good to the ones that didn't. He attributed his long life (104) to his friendship with the Indian people. One of his philosophies was “twenty-five Indian lives to one white man's life”. For some reason the Indian people respected that. How do you explain that? I've wondered if it might be the same as battered wife syndrome, where a person really thinks that they did something wrong, and tries to make up for their perceived misdeeds.

The only thing that I know is, that people really don't try to get beyond “oh the horror”. Which causes me to wonder why. I've come to the conclusion that it has to be people that haven't heard the old stories, that I was raised with, to get any kind of understanding. That puts me into a “them and us” mindset. It seems to be okay for “them” to form an opinion, but not “us”. “They” don't see that.

That's why I simply shouldn't bring it up....


unanonymous said...

Nicely put. as Einstein said it's all relative to your view point. Things were very different back then, failure was death.

The atrocities should be remembered to prevent their repetition, but the use of the history to slander and defame people for political purpose (heraldo) is wrong and smacks of scapegoating.

Rose said...

"Can't we all just get along?" is a modern day sensibility. "Kill or be killed" was once a grim reality.

People who came to this country often escaped brutal repression and harsh conditions. Nothing here was easy, and nothing can be judged by our modern day prism.

Unanonymous is right - we have to learn from what happened - that includes things like the Salem Witch Trials and a million other things including what happened here. We don't think it was right, and we don't want to see it repeated - ever. Those things are rifts in the universe that will never heal. We can try to do better.

But if anyone thinks that man's warlike nature has changed hasn't read the local blogs. It may be being released at present in a more civilized and contained manner, a war of words for now, but the angers, hatreds, demonizing, posturing and drive to kill is still very much alive.

Ernie Branscomb said...

My friend Ben Schill says that the difference for us is, that this is "recent history". It is palpable and touchable, some of us are even related. seldom do you hear about the Horror that Atilla the Hun placed on Europe, yet he was the direct grandfather of most of us.

The problem with talking frankley about what happened is that it is perceived that a person is just not sensitive to the horror and pain. Not true! Probably those of us with ancestors involved, and that are, indeed, related on all sides, feel deep pain and don't like to be reminded of it. Some of the people that know the most can't bring themselves to comment.

Anonymous said...

It's a beautiful day today and I should be out trimming my trees but think I will spend the day cleaning my guns.


suzy blah blah said...

the use of the history to slander and defame people for political purpose (heraldo) is wrong and smacks of scapegoating.

-it's all relative to your view point.

the angers, hatreds, demonizing, posturing and drive to kill is still
very much alive.


Anna McCarthy said...

"Methinks the lady doth protest too much". The bard said that about Lady Macbeth, I believe. If it was all swell with your ancestors because they survived to make you, why not give it a rest?

My slave owning ancestors were monsters. I don't excuse them with "times were tough in Cuba then and you had to make a living". I do try to make up for how they were and do good when I can.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks Anna.
"why not give it a rest?

My thoughts exactly! But, on the anniversary of our shame, it always comes back up, inevitably.

The good thing about it is that it reminds the Indian people to cherish their culture, so from that standpoint, it may be a good thing.

Ernie Branscomb said...

It has long been my theory that sunshine defeats entropy, but you can always get a sunburn.

spyrock said...

who killed the kaubles? my mom told me that the indians killed them. when my mom's cousin got married, great grandma laura who was 7 years old when they died told my cousins she was babysitting that when she was a little girl, they were attacked by indians and she had to hide out in the bushes for a very long time until someone found her. she also told them she was part indian herself. she had the sharp features and her mother was a midwife and back in the early 50's it still wasn't very popular to claim you had any indian blood.
her father was a constable of long valley and a justice of the peace as recent as 1869. Part of his job was to take indians to round valley to the reservation with the soldiers.
if anyone can add to this story, please let me know. river has found articles about the kaubles but not the story of their deaths.
sarah the oldest married milo patton. river has found her decendants still into ranching.
malina married enos whited. martha married john chester
george seargent kauble married martha carey. my laura married john simmerly. francis married george galleneau and robert the baby went by the name applegate an aunt's married name and he married elizabeth crabtree. if anyone knows about these names, let me know.
i don't have an axe to grind about this. i just would like to know so i can put it down in the family history.

omr said...

hey spy, I was talking to a local man, an ex-logger who knew some of the colorful characters who lived around here in the last half of the 1900's.
One of our best known Indian descendants of local settler James Wood, Della Womack, was once married to a Bob Crabtree and they lived in the Briceland area. Bob was a wagon driver. Familiar with the name Crabtree from the Covelo and Blocksburg areas, I wondered how he came to get over here.
Al the logger told me he had heard the family version of that story and it goes something like this...

Bob Crabtree went to rendezvous with a partner over in Covelo and as he approached the rendezvous site he didn't the customary warning barks of his friend's dog.
Creeping through the underbrush he came to a clearing and saw the dog lying still on the ground and his friend hanging from a tree. The story goes that he got on his horse and didn't stop riding til he got to Briceland.

Don't know that he is kin, but you got brought another good his-story to the blog.

suzy blah blah said...

it seems to me that Ernie's complaint is pointing to the lack of any psychological understanding of the people involved. Not to put words in his mouth but it appears to me that what Ernie is saying is that the NCJ article is merely a retelling of the gathered details of 'who what where when' without any deeper insight from a psychological perspective.

Ernie offers the solution of tempering the 'horror' aspect of the telling by an invocation for some more information on how the indians made baskets or by linking an interesting but psychologically superficial rendering of a story about how the flint came to a certain location. That may be a start but it hardly scratches the surface of the real story of the make up of the soul of these people. What's called for to obtain some true insight is a deeper look into the psychology of those involved.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Ex-logger? Once a logger always a logger. I know "Al The Logger" well. As you might guess, being raised in the Briceland bar.

The honky-tonk logger bars back in the 50s & 60s were more like the English and Irish pubs. A lot of whole families would eat and drink and the gathering spots. Ask Ben, he saw the last of them.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Suzy is right. It’s easy to make superficial judgments about history, when actually, there is a lot of history leading up to the unfortunate happenings of the north coast.

One of the things that always gives me a chill, is to understand that some of us are the descendants of those original people, both Indian and white, and some of us are of mixed, Indian and white. Our genetic make-up is the same as the early days. Yet, we are different… aren’t we? The only thing that has changed are the conditions that we find ourselves in today.

The chill that I get is wondering about the evil that lurks in the heart of man, and how some people don’t see that we are all the same, and seem to want to blame others, like as if they know that they are better. When it is only today’s conditions that are better.

spyrock said...

thanks for that story river. there were crabtrees living on the east side of the eel near nash. ben and ruth simmerly's house was just up the hill from nash. jean crabtree was a friend of ruths and she lived in nash or nashmead. ben's property ran from nash north along the river until it hit his brother howard's property and howard had all the property north to spyrock. robert was laura's younger brother so it would make sense that they would keep in touch since he was living with their aunt and maybe those are the crabtrees he married into.
i found george kauble up in benton county oregon and ran across a book called conversations with bullwhackers, muleskinners, pioneers, 49ers, indian fighters by a man named fred lockley. not much about the kaubles except the lady who wrote a book about being abducted by aliens while she was pregnant and they stole her baby. so there might be a kauble avatar out there somewhere.
as far as the dark side goes, i don't drink whiskey anymore because i got a glimpse of what i call my covelo side. whoever he is, he's not afraid of much and there isn't much he doesn't think he can do. grandma nye used to say that my dark side was just like her brothers or uncle guy who was born in 1887 and died in 1944. i'm not married to that woman that willie nelson was married to, the one who could bring the worst out of someone, but nobody could get the worst out of her, so i'm not worried about it. but sure, except for the grace of god, there go i.

olmanriver said...

That was a well "Kaubled" comment spyrock!

That is a beautiful area to be connected to.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but wonder what Jedediah Smith would think of the ramblings of so many latter day experts on Indian culture, psychology, and interactions with whites. His experiences and observations of a diverse cross-section of Indian nations across the western half of the U.S. would surely qualify as the gold standard (or the white standard) by which to measure the opinions found herein.

olmanriver said...

Anon, no one here is an expert. We are all just students on the subject opinionizing.
It being a blog we get to sound smart now and then, or not, but really this is just a "thought bar". Pull up a stool.
We live in an area with very little recorded history which leaves us like blind men touching an elephant. Eighty to one hundred years ago, there were maybe a handful of pure blooded Indian descendants left in Sohum for the anthro/ethngraphers to talk to. We really don't know diddly squat about the Indians, and even that has gotten distorted.
I was reading through Gifford's few pages on the Coast Yuki recently, and wondering if what he wrote was true, or if the Indians pulling his leg. I don't know. One of his Laytonville informants told him that the Coast Yuki didn't like to talk to dogs out of fear that they would talk back. I want that to be a joke so badly, but I don't know and never will.
It is true that you don't hear I don't know very often here.

You are so right about Jedediah Smith knowing Indians. I wish we could have interviewed him.

suzy blah blah said...

-didn't like to talk to dogs out of fear that they would talk back. I want that to be a joke so badly, but I don't know and never will.

LOL!! omr, of course it was a joke, duh.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Anybody that thinks dogs don’t “talk” simply hasn’t ever had a smart dog. They may not use English, but they can certainly communicate. Plus, you can’t say a thing that they don’t know what is being said. My wife and I text each other to keep Twizzel from hearing us. But, it still pisses her off, because she knows that we are texting about her.

Those Indian people weren’t fooling anybody. Any more than I would!

suzy blah blah said...

...Any more than I would!


Lax Ligaments said...

Wull I did recognize it as a fine piece of oral history, or I wooden a headed to mention it.
Duh happens to be my first name and now that I am outed online, I shall have to take a new moniker.

Glad to hear from Suz. I had a whole stack of fan letters for you and I wrote to your online address and I got back "...recipient does not like sender." Ouch! I mentally twittered the whole fan club and got lotsa support back so I am ok, but your fans are disconsolate at not being able to email you...any suggestions, that aren't rude?

olmanriver said...

You take over for awhile, Lax. I'm gonna be gone working on my new gold claim on Farley peak... I will probably be gone awhile mining and getting rich and such.

spyrock said...

"In 1830, Smith, rattled over the death of his mother and his neglect of family duty, decided he had had enough of mountain life. He purchased a farm and townhouse, complete with servants, in St. Louis. However, he would have to make one more fated trip into the wilds of the Southwest. When Smith sold his shares in the Rocky Mountain Fur Company the year before, he had agreed to help procure supplies for the subsequent owners. He left in the spring of 1831 and while looking for water on the Santa Fe Trail, he was killed by Comanche warriors.

Most of Smith's knowledge died with him. His plans to edit and publish his journals and have a master map constructed were never realized. Nevertheless, Smith was satisfied with his wilderness career."

"I started into the mountains, with the determination of becoming a first-rate hunter, of making myself thoroughly acquainted with the character and habits of the Indians, of tracing out the sources of the Columbia River and following it to its mouth; and of making the whole profitable to me, and I have perfectly succeeded."
good ole jed died when he was 32 at most him being born in 1799.
in august of 1776, my 6g grandfather james was captured at the battle of long island along with 1000 other americans. being a blacksmith, he was given to the shawnee who were allies of the british. he was adopted into the tribe or family of chief blackfish one of the main chiefs of the shawnee,famous for capturing daniel boone a few years later. after a year of captivity james escaped on a hunting trip and walked back to carlise, pennslyvania from the scotia salt pits near the scotia river in southern ohio. 40 years later, he would move onto the same land he had been held captive on and the same spring he had drank from were on his land in the western reserve now open for settlement. his son, george, born in 1779 became a salt cooker, then farmer, then teacher of john wesley powell another explorer of the american west and the first "gold" or white man down the colorado river who did record his findings for everyone to see.
if your cup runneth over already, there's not much oneith can learn about anythingith. none of us on this blog are first contacters, but a lot us on this blog have first contact ancestor dna in our cells.

suzy blah blah said...

Glad to hear from Suz. I had a whole stack of fan letters for you and I wrote to your online address and I got back

sorry but i had to discontinue that email address cuz i'd been getting some harassing letters from "somebody" telling me what not to say on certain public forums... but if you leave a contact email here i'll get back in touch with you soon.

btw i've been doing some research and found that talking dogs is a common motif in folklore. So i take back what i said. It was very likely NOT a joke. Primitive tribes such as the Yuki didn't differentiate between folk stories and reality. So, yes, he very likely was afraid of the possibility that a dog would speak to him cuz if it did, it meant he'd die. That's the motif, if the dog or fox, wolf, etc talks to you or runs between your legs, etc. you die. It is the commonly held belief of these type of primitives that a shaman or witch can shape-shift and take on the body of an animal. So in their world, if a dog talked to you it was a shaman out to bewitch you. It could be compared to getting an harassing email with a link that you were afraid to click on cuz it might be a virus. Except the consequences were much worse. So after considering this new info i'd say yes indeed, he WAS afraid of the dog speaking to him.

omr said...

Excellent. Mavis talks about this in her Medecine Trails book.

Can you take your duh? back and save it for another time, which I am sure to provide?!