The Heritage Network

The Heritage Network

Fort Colvile Bicentennial

In The Stream

In The Stream: An Indian Story by Nancy Perkins Wynecoop and N. Wynecoop Clark. It is about the life of Nancy’s Sinixt (Lakes Indian) grandmother, Able-One.  Her tribe lived across the river from present day Bossburg. In 1815, when Able-One was born, her band had little or no contact with fur traders. By the end of her life, Able-One was given a place to live near Angus McDonald, the last chief fur trader of Fort Colvile.  So her life corresponds very closely with the period of the fort’s existence.  As such it mirrors the changes that took place in just one lifetime.

Since receiving and reading this book, a lot more material has come to light or been created. Since this topic may continue to expand. This Post and Forum entry were created to try and keep up.

The Original In the Stream Book is 103 page PDF. It cannot be reprinted for sale but can be downloaded and printed for your own use or research. It has three parts. The first recounts the birth and education of Able-One as recounted by Able-One herself to her granddaughter in Salish. Although interpreting may lose some of the original meaning, it is a tender, amazing and enlightening account of her early life.

The second part of the book is a series of Coyote stories in which Coyote attempts to convince other animals to stop eating each other. It is unique in that respect and entertaining – as all Coyote stories are – with lessons in the telling.

The third part of the book recounts stories from the lives of Able-Ones descendants. They include stories of Sophia, AKA Green Blanket Feet. The name refers to her escape from a jealous chief who had kidnapped Sophia during which she only had parts of a green blanket to cover her feet. Today there are family reunions of her descendants and an image of the family tree is available. It is helpful in understanding the third part of the book.

A wonderful little poem has been submitted by Christine Wynecoop that embodies the In-The-Stream theme:

Cabin Poem

I’ve decided to make up my mind

about nothing, to assume the water mask,

to continue my life disguised as a creek,

an eddy, joining at night the full,

sweet flow, to absorb the sky,

to swallow the heat and cold, the moon

and the stars, to allow myself to be

in ceaseless flow.

~Jim Harrison~

Recognizing the value to the Salish language and culture of Nancy Perkins Wynecoop’s personal knowledge, anthropologist William W. Elmendorf conducted extensive interviews with her and her relatives. Christina Wynecoop has recovered the hand-written notes from these interviews and made them available as PDF files: Original description and links; Elmendorf Field Notes 1, Elmendorf Field Notes 2, Elmendorf Field Notes 3 and Elmendorf Field Notes 4. The field notes include Salish words written in the International Phonetic Alphabet. It would be wonderful if someone familiar with Salish and phonetic script could transcribe these documents (100s of pages) so they would be searchable.

This document has been used as an introduction to the bicentennial of Hudson’s Bay Fort Colvile in the initial article submitted to the Silverado Magazine, which is distributed for free in Northeast Washington.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>