Judge Arthur Griffin, compiled; Trenholme J. Griffin, edited; Margaret Chodos-Irvine, illustrated, Ah Mo: Indian Legends from the Northwest (Surrey, B.C., Canada:Hancock House, 1990)
We have made it a practice to collect and read the stories and legends of indigenous people when we travel. This summer’s visit to the San Juan Islands in the Puget Sound has given us another opportunity to learn more about people with whom we have had relatively little contact. Although there are some legends and stories that we recognize from our time with plains tribes and with indigenous people in Australia, these stories are mostly unique to the region. Characters such as the Orca and Salmon are very important in these tales and they exist to explain some of the natural phenomena of the area. Plains tribes have seen Ravens, but Raven doesn’t play a similar role in their stories.
Pioneer merchant and judge, Arthur E. Griffin collected native legends and stories from Washington State and British Columbia tribal peoples beginning in 1984. Because these legends were collected relatively early in the time of contact between non native and indigenous people in the Pacific Northwest, they provide a unique window on the people who told the stories. These are the kind of stories that were told over and over again during long winter nights and through the process of group memorization were preserved for long periods of time, perhaps centuries before they were translated into English and recorded for us to use.
This little volume provides unique onsite and gives some stories that are perhaps best read aloud.