The Legends of the Quileute Native Americans
The Quileutes are a very fascinating tribe. They have many customs, languages, stories and a fascinating history. Their customs have
also affected people today. People have written books about the people and have even included them into stories. Their legends are ornate
and very descriptive. They have legends to tell where they came from and why they did things. The stories of the Quileutes are some of
the most remarkable and can often be linked to real life.
The Quileutes reside on the Washington coast on the La Push fishing village. They are known as the best sealers on the coast. They are
also known because of their skill in building canoes. They built them from cedar trees and they could carry up to three tons. The Quileute
tribe is one of the oldest on the west coast, dating back to the Ice Age. They were very devoted to the Great Spirits and believed that they
were the higher power. Their stories frequently have a figure that represents a spirit.
"According to their ancient creation story, the Quileutes were changed from wolves by a wandering Transformer." ("Quileute
History" 1) This legend has inspired many other stories including Stephenie Meyer's Twilight. In Twilight, the main character's
friend is a young Quileute boy. He tells her many stories about their history including that one. He also tells her that their legend
says that their ancestors could transform form
human to wolf, and become werewolves. (haha, I couldn't resist!!)
Another Quileute legend is the legend of the Thunderbird. The story says that long ago, there was a sad time for the Quileutes. There
was bad weather all the time and there were hailstones that killed many people. The hailstones also destroyed the crops and made fishing
impossible, leaving the Quileutes weak and hungry. They prayed to the Great Spirit, but still nothing changed. The wise Chief decided
that they would pray to the Great Spirit one last time. "We will call again upon the Great Spirit for help. If no help comes, then we will
know it is His will that we die. If it is not His will that we live, then we will die bravely, as brave Quillayute have always died. Let us talk
with the Great Spirit." (Clark 3) After they prayed, they all waited for the Great Spirit to answer. Suddenly, a giant bird flew out of the
ocean. It was the biggest bird the people had ever seen, and it held a whale in its claws. The Thunderbird left the whale for the people to
eat, and then flew away. The Quileutes knew that the Great Spirit had sent the Thunderbird to save them and they never forgot it. "For on
the prairie near their village are big, round stones that the grandfathers say are the hardened hailstones of that storm long ago." (Clark 9)
The Quileutes came up with stories to explain why things were the way they were. One such story is the legend of the Killer Whale.
Long ago, Thunderbird was a strong giant who fed on whales. The bird would fly out of his cave, quickly catch a whale, and hurry back
to eat it. "At the time of the Great Flood, Thunderbird fought a long, long battle with Killer Whale." (Clark 14) They fought all over the
mountains, but each time Killer Whale would escape. Finally, after the biggest fight of all, Killer Whale escaped to the middle of the
ocean and Thunderbird gave up. The Quileute people say that this is why Killer Whales live in the deepest parts of the ocean.
The Quileute Native Americans are a smaller part of the Quinalt nation and aren't well known, especially in southern areas. Their
history is notable and they excelled in hunting sea mammals. Their legends are extraordinary and are occasionally portrayed in books.
They have stories about why Killer Whales live in the ocean and stories about a bird that brought them out of a time of famine. They
relied on the Great Spirits and they believed that they helped them when they were loyal and punished them when they did wrong. Their
lives were very similar to the lives of people today and their legends can be applied to modern life.
Well, whaddya think? I think we did pretty good. Is it 'A' material?? Review and tell me, even though I don't expect to get many review for this one:-p