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