Thursday, October 19, 2006

An American Indian legend from Montana


Her silver hair Posted by Picasa

Photos taken 6/27/06.
This video caught my eye was because of the woman's long silver hair. I walked over and took a picture, then I listened to a famous legend about how the bitterroot flower came to be.

Once, while living in what is now known as the Bitterroot Valley, the Flatheads suffered from a great famine. One old woman who had no meat or fish to feed her grandchildren, no longer able to look at their starving faces, went down the bank of the river. There she sat alone, weeping, and began to chant her death song for she believed her grandchildren to be dying of hunger. The Sun, hearing the woman's song, took pity on this good mother. The Sun instructed a Red Bird to fly to the woman and to provide her with food to nourish her starving people and with beauty to nourish their spirits. "Grandmother," announced the Red Bird, "A new plant will be formed from your sorrowful tears which have fallen to the ground. Its flowers will wear the red of my wing feathers and the white of your hair. Your people will eat the roots of this plant. Though it will be bitter from the tears of your sorrow, it will be good for them and nourish them." And so the Sun caused the bitterroot to grow from the seeds of the good grandmother's tears.

After this, I looked for a flower to photograph. It was the right time of year, June, but I found not a one. Then I dreamt I found one. It was a great dream! But then I woke up. Bitterroot is Montana's state flower (photo).

Lewis and Clark and the expedition men were basically starving by the time they made Lolo Pass. The bitterroot tastes, well bitter, and the Indians mixed it with other food to make it edible. It was a staple. Don't quote me, but if I recall correctly it made the all the men in Lewis and Clark's group deathly ill. They ate too much of it on empty stomachs and it was a food their bodies were unaccustomed to.

2 comments:

Jacob said...

Thanks for the comment on mine. I like your blog, too.

I noticed you mentioned "Mere Christianity" a little while ago. I'm a big C.S. Lewis fan myself.

"A Grief Observed" is a powerful work of his that's not like the rest of what he wrote. "The Four Loves" is another good one.

You might also like G.K. Chesterton. He was cut from the same fabric.

Christina said...

I have always wanted to go to Montana. Lucky!

Great story. Thanks for sharing it! :)

Do you guys have a "travel plan", or do you just go where the wind takes you???