Cultural Resources in the Hoh Watershed
by Jay Powell
Understanding the significance of the Hoh watershed to the Hoh Tribe is important in the watershed analysis process for many reasons. The Hoh Tribe is the traditional landowner of the Hoh watershed, and continues to retain traditional ties to specific sites, landscapes, and resources. Federal legislation requires land managers to understand and protect specific cultural resources associated with Washington State tribes. In addition, the peninsula tribes have specific treaty rights and state and federal agencies need to be responsive to their trust responsibility to insure tribal resources are taken into account through informed decision making and government to government communication.
The Hoh River takes its name from the Quinault language name for the river, Hoxw. No meaning can be associated with the Quinault name. Smitty Parratt, in his God and Goblins study of Olympic National Park place names, claims that Hoh means “fast, white water” but, in fact, no etymology for the name can be found in either the Quinault or Quileute languages. The Quileute language is also the language of the Hoh Tribe. As Herb Fisher said, the “Hoh is only a name.” If there was an original meaning it has been lost. The Hoh River people themselves, who speak Quileute, call their river Cha’lak’at’sit, which means the “southern river”. We can divide the name up into its roots: -k’at’sit means ‘river,’ cha’la- means ‘(on) the south’. Thus, just as the Calawah was called Kalo’wa (‘the one in the middle’), the Hoh River was viewed as the most southerly of the rivers in Quileute speaking country.
This river, descending more than 7,000 feet from the Olympic glaciers to tidewater in only 50 miles, is a critical aspect of the environment that made traditional aboriginal lifeways possible in the watershed. The annual average rainfall of 145 inches resulted in abundant and idiosyncratic rainforest vegetation. That, along with the fish and wildlife shaped the tribe’s annual subsistence cycle. Characteristic of neighboring tribal groups in the Northwest Coast cultural area, Hoh life centered on the “salmon, cedar and spirits of their watershed.”
The Hoh River itself can be characterized in aboriginal times as a busy waterway with seven settlements along its course and a resident population of 110 or more. Many of those settlements had fishtrap weirs spanning the river. There was constant movement as the people poled their canoes upriver to seasonal hunting grounds and foraging camps, or travelled to ritual sites, or attended hayokkwa (ceremonial feasts and potlatches), or simply visited relatives and friends. The entire watershed was utilized in traditional times. The Old Peoples’ cognitive maps of the river were dotted with place names, the boundaries of hunting grounds, and the sites associated with mythic narratives, spiritual beliefs, ritual sites, burial locales, tribal historic events, and favorite foraging spots. Much of that cultural knowledge was oral history and has been lost.
As Robert Wood characterized the Hoh in The Land that Slept Late, a study of the Olympic Mountains in legend and history, “The Indians trod lightly on the land.” They left behind almost nothing that was imperishable, to the frustration of archaeologists and historians. The purpose of this study is to accumulate, collate, and document what is remembered and what was recorded. What we end up with is an admittedly partial, but nonetheless imposing picture of the Hoh watershed as a tribal cultural resource. Hoh native beliefs will be discussed in the past tense, however, this does not mean these belief systems do not continue today. In fact, they are an important part of current belief systems for some tribal members.
The purpose of this module is to provide documentation of the cultural and historic resources of the Hoh River, in terms of key tribal cultural resources and the processes impacting on them. Even though the mandate of this watershed analysis is restricted to two of the four WAUs of the greater watershed (the Middle Hoh River and the South Fork Hoh River), it is impossible to appreciate the cultural value of segments of the watershed without having an understanding of the ethnographic background and cultural history of the entire river as a backdrop. For that reason, the following discussion treats the cultural resources of the entire Hoh River. For purposes of this report, “cultural resources” are defined as “archaeological and historic sites and artifacts and traditional religious, ceremonial, and social uses and activities of affected Indian tribes and the broader community”.
Response to key Questions
In looking at the Hoh River, this cultural resources assessment investigates the following four module questions:
1. What resources are of cultural significance in the watershed, and where are they located?
2. Which of these resources are key resources for contemporary cultural use?
3. What is the current condition of resources of cultural significance within the watershed?
4. What are the processes affecting these resources?
Hoh Tribal Cultural Resources
The major tribal cultural resources in the Middle Hoh River and the South Fork Hoh River WAUs include the following:
1. Mythic sites and place names.
2. Archaeological deposits, historic traditional campsites, village sites, and ritual sites.
3. Current source locations of traditional key resources.
Key Resources for Contemporary Cultural Use
In the watershed the Hoh Tribe considers the following to be key resources, important for contemporary tribal lifeways and the continuation of tribal ethnic identity.
Mythic and ceremonial sites, burial sites, documented and potential archaeological sites, and, because of traditional perceptions of the inter-relatedness of living things in the native worldview, all living things natural to the watershed (including but not restricted to anadromous and resident fish stocks, amphibious life, bird and animal species of all types, and terrestrial plants and trees).
Continuing availability and access to the key resources is considered by tribal members to be important to their traditional dietary patterns, customary crafts, and heritage belief systems.
Current Condition of Resources and Processes Affecting Resources
The current condition of these cultural resources varies, but definable general processes and trends impact them:
1. Privatisation and development do not adversely affect some locations, such as named places. Recognition of their historic and folkloric nature may even be enhanced, in the tribal perspective, by increased public awareness and consciousness of the aboriginal history of these places. The tribe is proud of their location-based traditions and the place names, which show the degree to which they utilized the land before widespread Euro-American settlement. These names and the aboriginal habitation and use patterns that they reveal are part of community history, and the entire community is enriched by a sense of its past. But, our history is only valuable if it is known. The tribe is aware that much of this rich cultural geography has either eroded from public memory or (since much of it has remained spoken history) has never become widely known. Thus, progressive public and tribal disremembering with the effect of increasing ethnogeographical unawareness represents a causal mechanism adversely affecting the cultural value of these resources. Any public recognition of this history, if sensitively done, increases their value to the extent that they become more widely known.
2. Mythic and ritual sites, as well as spiritual places and cleansing sites are resources of concern. Insensitive development of these locations could result in loss of their identity, restricted access, and alterations to the site’s appropriateness for use. Because these places are usually associated with belief systems and the practice of traditional religion, failure to respect the dignity of these sites could result in tensions among tribal members based on Hoh tribal beliefs that their religious sites require a higher order of respect, and the supernatural beings and spirit powers that reside in mythic and ritual locations take offence at disrespect and may respond by affecting the community if offended. For example, by causing bad weather or personal misfortune, by withdrawing the fish, and by causing the animals to withhold themselves from hunters and the natural environment to suppress its bounty). Not all mythic and ritual sites are equally sensitive, but insensitive management and development are causal mechanisms that could result in degradation of these places. The tribe encourages that they be consulted before affecting these areas for the purpose of making informed and sensitive land management decisions.
3. Possible archaeological sites are high-concern resources. The watershed has had little systematic archaeological reconnaissance, although two sites have been named and registered with the State of Washington. Because of the irretrievable loss of information and understandings that results from degradation of an archaeological deposit, any potential archaeological sites need to be reported to the tribe and the appropriate state or federal agency before work can continue. The causal mechanism resulting in degradation of these high-concern resources, then, is either (a) exploitation or development of a possible site by disarrangement of surface or subsurface stratigraphic matter or (b) disregarding evidence of previous habitation revealed while developing a site or as a result of natural accident (landslides, washouts, the root wells of blowdowns). Actually, experience has shown that circumspect development and some mass wasting events actually result in unexpected archaeological finds, making it clear that the emphasis is not on discouraging activities in the watershed, but on observant, responsible recognition of these resources. The indicated response to these concerns is that any development of the watershed should be attentive to evidence of archaeological deposits and responsible in reporting such findings.
4. The key fish, animal, and terrestrial plant resources are high-concern issues for the Hoh Indian Tribe. The body of this module discusses the traditional cultural beliefs and practices that account for the focal importance of these resources from a tribal perspective. Inappropriate management and destruction of habitat could deplete these resources, causal mechanisms that are carefully treated in the other modules of this watershed analysis. For example, traditional fishing sites (pools) are being lost by river gravel fill, and large trees no longer create these necessary pools. An understandable secondary tribal concern involves Hoh tribal access to those key resources. Access and permissions to continue acquiring these resources is viewed by the tribe as a critical issue for Hoh cultural continuance. As an example, the tribe needs to access cedar large enough for canoe carving, (at least 10 feet in diameter), to carry paddlers in annual intertribal events and tribal journeys.
c. Hoh Tribal Cultural Resources
1. The Hoh River (chalak’At’sit, meaning “the southern river”). The river itself is focal in Hoh tribal identity and folk-history and in traditional economic patterns. The Hoh people were created along the river. Mythic narratives called kixI’ recall the origin of Those-Who-Live-on-the-Hoh (Chalat’, as the Hoh call themselves). According to these accounts, the ancestors of the tribe were “created by transformation” at the Time of Beginnings by K’wati the shape-shifting “Changer” who went around the world making things as they are today. When K’wati got to the Hoh River he discovered that the inhabitants of the area were upside down people, who walked on their hands and handled their smelt dipnets clumsily with their feet. They weren’t very good at it, so they were famished and skinny. K’wati set them rightside up and showed them how to operate their nets with their hands. For that reason, Hoh elders still sometimes refer to themselves as p’ip’isodat’sili, which means “Upside down people”. After he had set the Hoh upright, then, the Transformer told the Ancestors, You shall use your feet to walk… Go and fish smelt. You shall catch much fish when you fish smelt.” Ever since then there is much smelt at Hoh. (Andrade, p. 85) So important is the river in tribal lifeways that there is also, not surprisingly, a mythic narrative for the origin of the river. The Hoh River and the headlands along the beaches (Toleak Point and Hoh Head) were created by K’wati, as well. According to the story, K’wati killed the chief of the wolves, and then tried to escape from the other wolves, who were bent on revenge. The wily Transformer had grabbed his carved comb and a container of oil when he fled from his house, even though the wolves were in hot pursuit. According to the story, Then K’wati ran down the beach. Then the wolves followed K’wati intending to kill him. As soon as the wolves were about to overtake K’wati, he used what had been hanging in the house [i.e. the comb] and struck the ground with it on the beach. No sooner had K’wati finished striking the ground on the beach with his comb and there appeared a cliff. Of course, the wolves had to swim around the cliff. Then the wolves would be left far behind. Once more the wolves were about to overtake K’wati and he spilled on the ground what he was carrying [i.e. the oil], there appeared a river. Of course the wolves had to swim across the water. Then K’wati kept on going and as soon as they would be about to overtake him, he would … make cliffs and rivers. So, he went around the country and K’wati was never overtaken by the pursuing wolves. Ever since that time there are cliffs and rivers. [Andrade, p. 97-9]
The Hoh River is clearly the focal feature of Hoh tribal life and territory. In aboriginal times, there was nothing secluded about the Hoh Watershed, even its upper reaches. No less than seven permanent settlements were situated along the banks of the Hoh, most with a fishtrap. The river served not only as a riverine thoroughfare leading to their fishing sites and their hunting, trapping and foraging grounds, it was also the nursery of the salmon and home of freshwater fishes that they harvested as part of their annual cycle. The watershed included the sites of the burials of their ancestors, the hidden locations of their empowering guardian spirits, and the family campgrounds and upstream summer-homesites near resource gathering areas that were heritable family property. Besides that, there were named landmarks, sites associated with ritual and mythic occurrences, and riverside trails. The “tAlaykila pots’Okw” (Old-time People) appear to have known the watershed well and exploited it extensively, traversing up and down the river in their shovelnosed river canoes. The Hoh people thought of the river as having several sections, according to Herb Fisher: (a) the lower three miles, just above the mouth, were referred to as libIk’At’sit, ‘the strong flow of the river'; (b) the next ten miles, up to botsitswak’adAsli (“narrow throat”, which is the loop with Hell Roaring Creek entering at the top, see, #20 below). This section was referred to as lixwatsk’At’sit (‘river winding around’) because of the curves and bend in this section; (c) the middle river, from Hell Roaring Creek up to Jackson Creek, which was the location of the most upstream settlement (see 27 # below), was called kit’lak’At’sit (‘the upstream waters’). (d) the upper Hoh, from about Mr. Tom Creek, was called A’axitt’sidat (‘mountain run-off waters’) (e) there were apparently three Hoh-tributaries that were considered to drain their own regions: (i) Owl Creek (see # 24 below), called kwokwolIsdo’ti (‘Owl’s-house country’); (ii) Hoh South Fork, which, when pressed, Herb decided could be called it’it’iklO’watiyol, ‘people acting strangely place’ because of Mount Pelton (see # below); and Mt. Tom Creek called t’ist’ilal-lA’wkwol (‘Thunderbird’s trail [flyway?]).
2. The mouth of the Hoh River (kaxchapal, ‘opening of a bag or narrow basket, river mouth’). The area around the mouth of the Hoh River was important in aboriginal times. Then, there were no setnet sites at the mouth of the river, since the river was too wide to use either the pile-anchored fishtraps or the short gillnets of nettle fiber that the Old People used. The Hoh did troll and use drift nets in the tidal areas around the river mouth, and skatefish, tomcod, and sturgeon were plentiful. Frank Fisher caught a 14′ long sturgeon, 16″ thick at the river mouth.
Most families kept a commodious smokehouse near the river mouth for dip-netted surf smelt and herring, bottomfish and other saltwater catch that would be landed inside the river mouth, salmon and trout brought downriver from upriver fishing sites, clams and mussels, and the rivermouth catch. The south riverbank inside the mouth was the landing place for ocean-going canoes used in fishing, sea mammal hunting, coastal travel and inter-tribal transport of trade goods. In those days families would have several canoes. There were river canoes with lower or flat prows: t’abIl (‘three man river canoe’), la’wakalItkat (‘two man sport fishing canoe’), and the long, flat canoe for poling (t’lixIltkat); and, there were also ocean-going canoes that were high-prow and beamy: the ocean-going canoes: abIyat (‘freight or whaling canoe’), alotkat (‘hair-sealing canoe’) or yashAbalkat (the longer fur-sealing canoe). The foreshore area around the river mouth seems to have raised in the last century, and the oldest Hoh remember that there was a much longer beach at the river mouth and low tide was much further out. Helen Lee remembers that the men who hunted seals, as part of their spiritual preparation for the hunt, used to swim way out around rocks that are not visible now even at the lowest tide. Tribal members also recall collecting large crab and octopus around rocks that are no longer visible along the shore at low tide. The once prolific lingcod eggs in the kelp beds are also gone, as well as the sea birds and fish that depended on them.
3. The Lower Hoh River reservation and village. The Lower Hoh River village (chalAkw, ‘the southern village’) was the “main” village on the Hoh at the time of contact and may have had five multi-family shed-roofed cedar plank longhouses. Arthur Howeattle told Leo Frachtenberg in 1916 that the Hoh village was called by the LaPush people k’wadIc’hiyOlit (‘the little village’), so in early times it was certainly much smaller that the 12 family houses of kwo’liyOt’ (the village at the mouth of the Quillayute River). In 1900 and probably in aboriginal times the village was situated facing the ocean rather than the river and was located between 100 and 200 yards south of the road turnaround at the river mouth. The handful of multi-family longhouses were being replaced by frame hOkwat’ (whiteman-style) houses. By the 1930s the village was a semicircle of homes and shacks at the turnaround with a few homes elsewhere and on the north side of the river. Then, after the road was finished, community members started building houses further inland until today the traditional site at the river mouth has been abandoned, probably for the first time in more than a millennium. The Hoh people refer to both their traditional lands and their reservation as chalAt’i’lo t’sikAti, (‘the land belonging to the people who live at the Hoh River’). Their assumption of ownership to their traditional territory is based on specific reasons: (1) their having been created in the watershed, and (2) traditionally recognized rights to the use of heritable hunting and foraging grounds, fishing sites and beach salvage areas within the watershed — rights which carried not only use privileges, but the obligation to reaffirm the rights by announcing the continuance of the claim at potlatches [Pettitt, p.3 describes this tradition at LaPush). The Hoh people were signatory to a treaty that would have required them to reside on the Quinault Reservation, established in 1863. However, they preferred to stay in their homeland, and consequently the Hoh Reservation was established in 1893 by Executive Order of Grover Cleveland. Thirty-seven years earlier, representatives of the people of the Hoh (along with the Quileute and members of other tribes) had signed a treaty which declared that all tribal lands and village sites along the Hoh were ceded to the United States, and that the tribal members would remove to a reservation which was to be set aside later for the signatory tribes. …the Quiliutes, Hohs, and Quits reside at different points and distances on the coast north of the (Quinault) reservation, and they say they never agreed to sell their country, nor did they, to their knowledge, sign any treaty disposing of their right to it…the paper that they signed was explained to them to be an agreement to keep the peace with the citizens of the United States, and to accord them the same rights to come in to their country and trade for furs….They therefore refuse to leave their homes and localities in which they then and still reside, and move on the reservation which they regard as the homes and property of the Quinaielts [Milroy to Walker, 1872; Indian Affairs records]. The Hoh still live on their 443 acre reservation. They had originally requested a reservation on both sides of the river, but the Indian agent from Neah Bay visited the Hoh village in 1893 and, finding 12 Indian houses on the south side of the river, recommended that the reservation be established only on the south side so that it would not affect the white settlers upriver [Ind. Claims Comm. 1974].
4. Oil City, on the north bank of the Hoh River near the mouth. Oil City arose during an epidemic of “oil fever” that broke out in the 1930s (see cultural resources section 2). The bonanza never happened and drilling was abandoned. Oil City was never more than surveyed lots along a half-mile stretch on the north side of the Hoh River [Rau, p.1-3]. Today, Oil City is non-existent, except as an entry on maps of the area and highway signs. The Hoh Indians knew that oil existed in the area. Hoh Head (yic’hIlkw, meaning not known) and Jefferson Cove (kIktal, “canoe landing place”) were both places that one went to get oily waters Created on 3/31/1999 7:10 PM DRAFT which were applied externally as a treatment for rheumatism and as a cold remedy [PH and LF]. Lena Fletcher reported that somewhere in the Hoh valley there was a lake inhabited by a whale that blew bubbles that floated to the surface. It was a dangerous site if one should linger to see the whale rise, the observer would sink to the ground dead. They told of how a tribe, harried by northern invaders, withdrew to a lake in the forests, posted sentries on trails and that when the sentries returned to the camp next morning they found the people dead. They had seen the whale that even then was agitating the waters…This legend is probably based on the fact that there are numerous active natural gas leaks in the Hoh valley. People sleeping among them could well be suffocated as the gas is practically odorless and contains elements that are anaesthetic. [1966, p.235-6; Note that a whale which causes death to anyone looking at it is a common motif in Olympic cultural narrative. Such a whale lived at yakwap, the little ocean rock south of the river mouth, and the mouth of Quillayute, as well. But the feature of blowing bubbles does seem to suggest gas emissions in the area.] Apparently there are numerous active gas seeps in the Hoh valley. People sleeping among them could suffocate as the gas is nearly odorless and is an anesthetic.
5. The first stream on the Hoh on the north side (t’idixasa’, meaning unknown). The mouth of the first small stream entering the Hoh on the north side is no longer clearly visible from the village, but older Hoh’s remember it as “Herbie’s grounds” and that “the water would shoot right out and make an eddy, you could set a net there. Humpies and dog salmon. Not many any more.” [HL]
6. Old graveyard (tatIltal, “graves place”). Early cemeteries probably include burials from the early 1870s, when the first effects of contact with Christianity resulted in abandonment of traditional tree-burial practice on the Hoh.
7. Fossil Creek (k’i’It’ot’k’At’sit, “the big stream on the other side”). This is the location of a canoe manufacture area, where early tool marks and a partially finished canoe were documented as a state archeological site.
8. The small creek in the village (t’Ac’hat, “hand”). Many Hoh place names don’t seem to mean anything. Some clearly mean something, but the referent is unclear…possibly referring to some incident that has been forgotten or some physical feature, which changed over the course of time. Billy Hudson told Daugherty that this spring-fed creek runs all the way back to the highway. This is the creek on which the Hoh hatchery operates. The Old People used to bathe and conduct rituals in this stream as it was the most opportune to the original village site. A path followed it back some distance to allow privacy and both men and women used its waters for purification and conditioning, sitting in the water with a large stone on their lap until they were numb. Especially important as a refuge for bathing of haklikwOsha’ (girls doing the rituals and confinement of first menses (HF).
9. A mile below the entrance of Braden Creek, a large round rock in the river bore resemblance to a transformed whale, known to the Old People as kwat’layaxi’ (“whale rock”). This is one of dozens of such rocks in the rivers and prairies of Quileute-speaking traditional territory. According to Hoh tradition, T’ist’ilal (“Thunderbird”), who lived in a lair beneath the Blue Glacier, loved whale meat. He would fly down to the sea and swoop down and grab a whale with the same effortlessness as an eagle snatching a salmon from the water. While flying back to his lair, sometimes he would drop the whale or it would struggle out of his grasp. When it crashed to earth and died, it would transform into the great Whale Rocks of the western slopes of the Olympics. On other occasions, T’ist’ilal would tire and set the whale down and it would thrash with its tail, fighting thunderbird until a great area of trees had been knocked down. [Reagan and Walters, p.320] Thunderbird always won, it seems, but those rumbles in which Thunderbird subdues and kills his whales, according to Hoh tradition, are what caused the prairies of the peninsula. It is a representation of this tradition of Thunderbird carrying kwAt’lathe- whale that Hoh people wear on their dance regalia and jackets and print on their stationery.
10. Just above Whale Rock, below the mouth of Braden Creek there was a stretch with trees tilting over called ha’tapislAta (“wood leans over, e.g. against a house”). It is interesting to note that, with few exceptions, Hoh names do not reflect ownership. There are few names like “Barney’s Place” or “Smith’s Farm” in Hoh usage (a notable exception is # 5 above). Names have to do with the principle activity done in a place, or some aspect of the appearance of a location or a mythic occurrence attributed to a place. Nolan Creek was sometimes called pilacha’wil, “(the stream) on the right”
11. The second settlement site on the Hoh was T’sixIlalAkwa, meaning “high bank”, which was called tse-qhilk-lay-ah-quah [in the Ind. Ct. of Claims submission] located a little below the precipitous riverbank, between Braden and Nolan Creeks. There was a fishtrap here in traditional times, spanning the river and a single multi-family longhouse located on the south shore of the Hoh. Herb Fisher thought that this was the home of his grandfather, ChabishIt’la (also called hitAdax and KilAya), who lived there with his son Frank (XiyAwad). The house-head or family chief was HidOt’a, father of HIxwatap (Charlie Cleveland) and AlaxalIshIn. Howard Wheeler (Sixwulbik or Chyu’) also lived there. This greater family group depended heavily on the fishtrap associated with the house. Billie Hudson told anthropologist Dr. Daugherty that he put up (smoke-preserved and stored) lots of smelt and 100 salmon in 1947: coho, dogs, steelhead, kings, fall silvers [NB 2, p. 35]. The fishtrap was a dependable means of assuring a good catch for subsistence and enough surplus to allow families to host others at rituals and potlatches. A fishtrap or weir was a barricade of hemlock, vine-maple and willow poles, which stretched partway or completely across the river with several platform-covered openings. Through these openings migrating fish were channelled into the scoopnets of waiting fishermen. According to Arthur Howeattle, there were fishtraps at all upriver villages of the Quileute and, presumably, of the Hoh. Although fishtraps belonged to the families that owned the sites, other families, by invitation, maintained one section and platform of the trap, which they had access to use. Family groups from elsewhere were always able to secure use of a platform by gifting the owner of the trap. Another type of fishtrap was called a fishbasket, a scoop-shaped basket made of hemlock poles and cedar limbs with the mouth facing upstream, that fish returning downstream after encountering the fishtrap barrier would be swept into. These baskets were large enough to hold as many as 300 fish and would fill with salmon, trout, and suckers. Most of the fishtraps on the Sol Duc and Calawah were dismantled during the 1880s, and the last one was taken down in 1905. On the Hoh they probably disappeared in the late 1880s, when the upriver settlements were abandoned because of homesteading in the area and reduced village populations that led families to move down to the ChalAkw, the village at the mouth of the river. Just before the turn of the century, the fishtraps stopped being used and were dismantled. The last one in the Quileute –speaking territory was on the Calawah, and was dismantled in 1906, by which time they were also long gone from the Dickey. Informed opinion agrees that the Quileute and Hoh, along with other Northwest Coast native peoples made and used gillnets in aboriginal times, but nets made of more durable materials were introduced during the 1890s, and started to be used in Hoh territory.
12. Nolan Creek had several names: kwIdoshIksa, “fishduck pool”; kwIdoc’ho’, “fishduck inside”; and lk’wItaw (the old name, meaning unknown). According to Billy Hudson, Jonah Cole’s mother had a powerful doctor spirit (called tsibtsayo’) and one time while at Nolan Creek, she decided to test her power and sat in the water until she felt the power come on her. Seeing a fishduck flying upriver, she threw her power at it and the duck fell dead [Daugherty, NB 3, p.55]. According to Nadine Watkins, there is an important and productive bog up Nolan Creek on the south fork with tilO’ot (red huckleberries), lok’way (“swamp grass” or basket sedge), sI’t’say (cattail), t’Ok’wa’ (skunk cabbage), kwoxwa’chiyil (Labrador tea), and other terrestrial plants common to Olympic wetlands.
13. A mile above the mouth of Nolan Creek, west of Anderson Creek, was an 800 foot high hill that was called kwokwolIsdo, “owl”. It was a source of irony to Herb Fisher that the Whiteman named a different place Owl Creek and Owl Mountain on the Upper Hoh, but the Hoh’s themselves had had an owl-place all along which is now almost totally forgotten. According to Quileute and Hoh tradition, this hill was Owl’s home at the Time of Beginnings. The upper South Fork of the Calawah was known as dido’os-chiyOlit, “the village of the birds”. According to Hal George, it was maybe because the Calawah S. Fk. was one of the traditional hunting areas of preference that the raptor birds would prefer to live and hunt there, too. The traditional original homes of the hunting birds were known to be in the upper reaches of the S.Fork, each with its own story. Andrade’s Quileute Texts includes versions and allusions to some of these mythic narratives; also HG and WP remembered some of the stories. Bald Eagle’s home (pixt’adaxti, “light-tail’s house) was there (see Andrade, p.100-105). Kingfisher’s home (c’hililIc’haliti, “continuous-diver’s house”) was there (see Andrade, p.110-111). Golden Eagle’s home (tsI’ikatati) and Bluejay (KwAshkwash), his slave, lived there (see Andrade, p.171-3). Hawk’s home (KalaKIdoti, “the Grabbingone’s House”) was located there, as well, and the various salmon thought hawk’s curved beak was ludicrous, so they taunted Hawk by curving their noses down when they were getting upriver by Hawk’s house and now always do it when they approach watershed headwaters to spawn (Big Bill Penn, Hal George). Finally, Day Owl’s home (hohohOsti) was there. He was a day owl because Bald Eagle, who originally had bad eyesight borrowed his eyes and ruined them, so when HohohO’s got them back he couldn’t see at night anymore (Bald Eagle finally borrowed YakwOkwadas the Slug’s eyes and never gave them back, so Eagle has good eyes and slug and his nephew Snail had no eyes at all). The ancestors of all those birds lived on the Calawah. But Night Owl, KwokwolIsdo, who was kind of shy and had found it difficult to say no to Eagle’s constant requests to borrow his eyes, moved to the Lower Hoh River, where he lived in peace (HG quoting Harold Johnson, Herb Fisher). Owl’s home was atop the hill west of Anderson’s Creek. Ghosts could turn into “night birds” (owls) and were known to call the name of someone who was about to die (Reagan and Walters, p.317). The hill called KwokwolIsdo was avoided by the Old People. The Hoh had complex mythic explanations for natural phenomena, and the stories often became associated with locations.
14. The Lacy Oil Seep was known to the Old People, and Pansy Hudson said she didn’t know a name for it, but people would understand if she called it kAtil lOkwt’lil, “medicine bogs”. Up Anderson Creek there was a cottonwood area and a bog on the north side with lacamas and cranberries and Labrador tea that is still harvested, according to Nadine Watkins. These wetlands were foraging sites for food, medicinal herbs, and weaving materials. Although wetland areas were not claimed by families as property in the way that fishing sites and hunting areas were, families apparently developed customary patterns of travel to camp in particular wetlands as part of their annual cycle.
15. The third of the aboriginal settlement sites on the Hoh, according to the submission to the Ind. Ct. of Claims, was t’sixlI’t meaning “put hands on rock and try to push it” or “(water) pushing rock”. It is one of the most generally known place names along the Hoh today. Called Tsay-klayit in the Ind. Ct. of Claims submission, the settlement was apparently a single longhouse, located just above the wetland slough by the Cassel School near the mouth of Pins Creek. This settlement was abandoned and the people who lived at t’sixlI’t moved to a new location, located 1/2 mile upstream from the mouth of the river on the south bank, just east of the present village, know also known as t’sixlI’t. This was probably the home of a large extended family headed by katxAdil and his two sons XayAladux (eldest) and IchakItuk and their families. This settlement was apparently abandoned before the turn of the century.
16. Located near the current Cottonwood Campground is chi’iyAxi’, “standing rock”. It is unclear exactly what the name refers to. The Hoh people used to enjoy camping, too, in places that were family favorites. Life in traditional times was not a continual, diligent cycle of dedicated economic activities to avoid starvation. In fact, the traditional life of hunting and gathering peoples such as the Hoh has been called “the original affluent society” because they have so much free time for leisure. Leila Fisher recalled, “There was a camping place right above the Hoh Store, right above that a bit right at the riffle, use to be a great big spruce tree. They never pass the place even though the sun was way up high. They’d stop and camp a few days, then go further up.” [Humanities Corresp., p. 17] It was not that poling and paddling a canoe up the Hoh took days and days. You could make it in a canoe from the Lower Hoh village to the Huelsdonk ranch in one day if you got an early start.
17. The Fletcher stump ranch now sits partially on land that was Toby Saux’s homestead. Toby moved from that homestead in 1919 [Smith, p.43-4]. According to their treaty, the Hoh’s were supposed to have been allotted land on the Quinault Reservation. But, by the time allotting began, the Dawes Act (the General Allotment Act of 1887) had been enacted. It provided the Indian families should receive 160 acres for agriculture or grazing. This land would be held in trust for 25 years and then a deed would be issued. Allottees who received and accepted the deed in fee patent would become citizens of the U.S. Some Hoh and Quileute Indians acquired land under the Indian Homestead Act of 1884, as well. Some of these lands were issued without restrictions on alienation (rather than as trust patents, which would not allow them to be sold or repossessed). Some of the lands were sold almost immediately to the Continental Timber company. Others passed out of Indian hands over the course of time. These parcels have the distinction of having been Indian land twice.
18. The Anderson place (originally the John Dengate claim) located a mile below the Lower Hoh fire lookout location, was called haga’yshIksa, “frog pond” by the Old People. There was a weir across the river above Anderson’s at the lower end of the D and L road constructed of vine maple which would last all season because it would wedge into the gravel and bend when the current came over instead of pulling out or breaking. They would put woven mats behind it and let the water run through, but the fish couldn’t. Then they had a channel that they centered them into and they’d take the nets and dip them (Leitka 1991). Upriver they speared them.
19. The narrow loop just above the current highway bridge is called botsitswak’wadAsli (“narrow throat”) at the end of the section of the river called lixwatsk’At’sit, “curling around water” and the beginning of kit’lak’At’sit (“upriver stream”). In this area, the fourth of the traditional Hoh settlements was situated. We know that it was called T’solop’oltal (“end place or border place”, recorded as Tohoe-poe-qwat), [meaning “end of good country before bad country begins” because when we travelled upstream our journey from this point on was more difficult. We are not sure where the settlement was located, but there was a fishtrap associated with the site and, among others, Herb Fisher and Pansy Hudson thought that this was the ancestral home of the Cole lineage: TxolIqap (Hoh Joe Cole, b. c1850.), XayalAduxw (Hoh Joe’s brother), and K’wAsuk (Joe’s daughter, Dema who married Billie Hudson, also called Chichbo’) and the other members of the Hoh Joe’s family. This narrow loop in the river was of interest to the traditional Hoh. According to William E. (Little Bill) Penn, the Kelp-haired child snatcher of Hoh culture narrative, Dask’iya, would steal children by coaxing them away from their village, and then put pitch in their eyes so they couldn’t see. Then, she popped them into her pack basket and carried them off to the narrowest part of botsitswak’wadAsli. She would take the terrified children from the basket and, standing at the narrowest place, would swing them out over the cliff and river on one side and then out over the cliff and river on the other side, back and forth, back and forth. She continued until she grew tired of her sadistic game and then she would cook and eat them. Dask’iya was one of the “monsters” that inhabited the mythic imagination of the Hoh River people. Other monsters were TAstas, a giant with long toenails who sat on the riverbank and fished with his toenailed feet.
20. Hell Roaring Creek (called lilotk’Achal, meaning unknown), which enters the botsitswak’adAsli (“narrow throat loop” at the north end) drains an area that was greatly prized by the Hoh people. Hell Roaring Creek and Alder Creek (HF didn’t know a name for it, but thought k’ak’aliya’ k’a, “alder Creek” would be appropriate) flow into the Hoh, and Dowans Creek (p’ic’hIsida k’A, “redwater creek”) and Hemphill Creek (shiphOkwat’ k’A, “Blackwhiteman Creek) flow north to the Bogachiel, leaving an area of wetlands and maintained prairies between. According to Pansy, when she was a young bride there was a path which led from t’solop’tal northward into the area of bogs and prairies and across to the Bogachiel. Among the important wetlands and bogs in this area were the following: (1) the central lower half of Sect. 27, between Hell Roaring Creek and Alder Creek. (2) the central lower half of Sect. 25, east of Alder Creek. (3) the extreme northeast corner of Sect. 15, the well-known large damp camas prairie currently southeast of Dennis the Carver’s workyard. Prairies were basic to Quileute foraging patterns. In 1916, Frachtenberg remarked, “The Quileute, men and women, are good walkers. Even today many women go for camas south of Forks (14 miles).” It is this prairie that Frachtenberg was speaking of. A source of roots and berries of various kinds and browse that drew huntable animals, the prairies were maintained by regular burning [AR,203]. These prairies were considered to be both the breadbasket and meat-larder of the people. Families would sometimes move to summer campsites on a prairie. While men hunted in the various watersheds, their families often foraged for vegetable materials and berries. At such campsites, they traditionally built 3-sided huts of wide strips of hemlock bark or mat-shacks with roof and walls made of mats. Much of a woman’s time was spent in digging roots of various kinds that provided the important carbohydrate content of the aboriginal Quileute diet. These roots were primarily fern (brake, sword, licorice, wood), clover, silverweed, horsetail, wild parsnip (pastinaca sativa), thistle, and tiger lily. The primary root staple was the rhizome of the brake fern, which was collected in quantity and then ground into a paste that was buried under the fire and baked into a bread-like loaf. When potatoes and rice became available, this part of the diet was almost immediately replaced. Albert Reagan, who was the agent for the Hoh and Quileute in l905-9, reported that he had missed “buried bread”, since they had stopped using it a decade earlier. Camas continued to be actively dug and eaten by some families until the 1920s. Today, it still remains a key resource, a traditional food of choice at Quileute community feasts and ceremonial dinners.
21. XwatsiyAbidIlxw (?) [koatse-a-bi-dilkh, meaning not known) was the fifth settlement site on the Hoh, located a mile and a half above #4, near the mouth of Winfield Creek. HF and PH felt that this was the ancestral home of Iya’ida’ (called “Jones”) and his son t’laxwOdak’w (meaning “shot in the ass”). There are wetlands in the neighbourhood of this site that were remembered by the elders in the 1960s [HF, LF, PH, p.c. to Powell] on the north side of the river across from the mouth of Winfield Creek, just east of Hoh-Oxbow Campground. It is a desirable feature to locate one’s family home close to a supply of materials for weaving and the other resources that a wetland area provides. There is another nearby wetland with cranberries and bear grass (bear grass is being exploited by commercial harvest enterprises today, which is a threat to the resource) slightly east of Elk Creek in the north central area of Sect. 36, this is an area rich in wetlands, and continues to be used by tribal members today. Also, this was a hunting site at certain times of year. Tribal tradition has it that the nearby lower Elk Creek area is a calving ground for elk, so hunters would engage in other activities while the herds were briefly at risk. Also, a V-shaped previous secondary channel that was scoured and abandoned when the river straightened has left a spruce island along lower Elk Creek. All of these environmental and possible-archaeological features make this site one of special historical and cultural interest to the Hoh Tribe.
22. Willoughby Creek is mentioned primarily because the ridge behind the creek has a good growth of wild onions (libItada). They are relatively rare in the watershed and, since they are favored as condiments in steam-pit cooking and soups, and usually grow at alpine heights, this area was and continues to be visited by Hoh foragers.
23. The creeks entering the Hoh from the north Lindner Creek, Tower Creek, Pole Creek, Dismal Creek, and Spruce Creek, were sometimes visited by hunters, gamblers, shamans, and others in need of “getting into a right relationship” with their t’axIlit (“guardian spirit power”). It may be useful at this point to briefly discuss the Quileute belief system, including the relationship of humans to spirit beings and other living things. People and animals fall into a category called “beings-withsouls”. The Hoh Old People knew that most living things have souls. At the Time of Beginnings, the ancestors of all beingswith- souls were creatures that could communicate with each other. Later, they were transformed to have their own particular characteristics. For instance, as we know (see #13 above) sharp eyed mole loaned his eyes to originally nearsighted eagle, who never got around to returning them. Some creatures are conduits between the individual and their spirit power and can be conjured with when the mood is right, allowing someone to access their spirit power to help them visualize where elk are to be found or to find things like a lost relative. So, a person might carry a medicine bag with a bone, tooth, claw or dried fetus of a living thing that had manifested itself at an auspicious time or that serves as their guardian spirit’s “conduit”. All animals are guided by the spirit world; so, elk and deer and other game submit themselves to those hunters who have the strongest spirit power and who belong to families that have not broken taboos. Thus, animals are not only vital to traditional Hoh and Quileute for the meat/hide/bone/antler/sinew that the people need, but also because they are a contact point with the spiritual elements of the world. In light of this belief system, it was important for traditional Hoh people to practice rituals and maintain cleanliness that would keep them in a relationship of communication with the spirits that enabled them as hunters, gamblers, healers, etc. Thus, they were serious about bathing and other rituals, for spirits were believed to frequent the mouths of streams. According to Billie Hudson, a spiritual man born in 1880 who explained much of this in detail to Dr. Daugherty, the line of creeks entering the Hoh from the Fisher Ranch to the Huelsdonk Ranch were spiritual (rather than sacred) places. Note that we have discussed native beliefs in the past tense.
24. Owl creek and the Huelsdonk Ranch. This farm situated at the mouth of Owl Creek is the site of the sixth of the traditional Hoh settlement sites. It was originally called DowA’ka’ [Due-whah-akah, based on the Quinault word for ‘cow parsnip or Indian rhubarb], but later came to be referred to jocularly as kaxilti’yaltal, “iron man’s place”, a new coinage. The old settlement was located on the north side of the river. There is a history of trade, work and good relations between the Hoh and settlers in the area.
25. Owl Mountain
26. South Fork, mouth, tribs, falls
27. Jackson Creek, (TayIk’, Xwobat’lit, Old Man Tom Jackson) Jackson Station, Old Hoh settlement, wetland, lake [la’wAklakw, meaning unclear (reported to Ind Ct. of Claims as klow-wuk-klulkh, meaning ‘other side of the sandbar’] above #6 at the mouth of a small unnamed creek.
28. Mt. Tom Creek, Mt. Tom, Dragon Lake (xixIxtoya’)
29. Mineral Creek
30. Cougar Creek
32. Trail to Seven Lakes area
33. Blue Glacier, Thunderbird
34. Mt. Olympus
d. Archeological Overview There are only a few documented archeological sites on the Hoh. With the number of known indigenous residence locations, the reasons for few documented sites are probably fluctuations in the river, and minimal public lands in the middle Hoh. The documented sites that fall within this watershed analysis include the Hoh River mouth area, which has a long and varied history of use. There is a cedar grove on state land that was the former site of canoe manufacture in proximity to the Barlow/Anderson residences near Coal Creek. Cedar stumps showing signs of hand tools and remains of canoes never finished have been found along the Hoh. One area for processing canoes documented, as a state archeological site is located above Missy Barlows. On the South Fork there is a rock shelter that contains some evidence of cultural use, but has not been tested. There are numerous known village, fishing and hunting locations in the ethnographic record, however, there has been no physical documentation of these places (see Hoh Cultural Resources).