Duwamish/Snoqualmie Story Sites
"North Wind and Storm Wind"and "The Five Brothers and the Beaver". Duwamish/Green River. Four nearby sites, the first three relating to the "North Wind and Storm Wind" story--the first is called s'BAH-bah-teel (‘little mountain’), the site of the ancient village of North Wind (STOH-bluh). On a hillside on the west side of the Duwamish River, in the present-day Rainier Golf and Country Club, it is a finger-like projection from the adjacent highlands. Nearby, in the river at low water, rocks can sometimes be seen near the east bank. They are the second site--all that remains of North Wind’s ice weir, destruction of which enabled salmon to go upstream from this point. The third site is also nearby--skwuh-LAHTS (‘tear tracks’). It is an isolated rocky hill with a mottled appearance, some of the remains of which still stand in the Riverton neighborhood with the Duwamish River at its base. This is where the aged grandmother of South Wind lived...The second story tells of the efforts of five brothers to kill a Beaver Monster who lived at a site called skee-UH’kw, ‘beaver house’--now a rocky knoll on the east bank of the Duwamish. [Click here to read the complete story of "North Wind and Storm Wind".]
"The Contest in the North". Puyallup. Here, at Dash Point was, "possibly", the home of Chinook Wind. On the beach in front of the village Chinook Wind’s daughter bathed to cleanse herself and to have intercourse with the spirit of the son of North Wind. "Each time a wave lapped against her body it was he."
"Moon the Transformer"and "The Origin of Tolt River". Snoqualmie. In the first story TOHLT’wh, the village located here at the mouth of the Tolt River, was the home of Moon’s mother, from where she set out with her sister to dig roots in the prairie above Snoqualmie Falls, thence to be taken up into the Sky Country where Moon was conceived and born...In the second story, five human brothers born of the Wolf People hunted elk in this area. They made tallow from the elk they killed, and from the tallow they made a river. They called the river t’whoh-DAHT-stleeb, ‘elk tallow’, which they later shortened to the name the river now bears--TOHLT’wh. Nearby sites are also featured in one or both of these stories. [Click here to read the complete story of "Moon the Transformer".]
"Moon the Transformer". Snoqualmie. Moon’s mother escaped with her child from the Sky Country on a ladder. Just west of the town of Snoqualmie is the spot where the ladder touched ground. Rat gnawed the rope ladder so it fell and, coiled, turned to rock. A present-day quarry operation here has demolished nearly all of that rock, the remains of which can easily be seen on the south side of the Snoqualmie-North Bend road. Nearby sites are also featured in this story. [Click here to read the complete story of "Moon the Transformer".]
"Moon the Transformer"and "The Origin of Tolt River". Snoqualmie. In the first story, after Moon’s mother came down from the Sky Country the people used the ladder, on which she had escaped, for entertainment. They would swing from this place they called KEHLBTS (‘camping place’), which is our present-day Mount Si, clear across the valley to DAHK-shdibsh (‘footprint’), which we call Rattlesnake Ridge...In the second story, we see how this place got its name--it was the camping place (KEHLBTS) the five brothers used during their elk hunt. Nearby sites are also featured in one or both of these stories. [Click here to read the complete story of "Moon the Transformer".]
"Moon the Transformer". Snoqualmie. After Moon’s mother came down from the Sky Country, the people used the ladder on which she escaped for entertainment. They would swing from this place they called DAHK-shdibsh (‘footprint’), which is our present-day Rattlesnake Ridge, clear across the valley to KEHLBTS (‘camping place’), which we call Mount Si. Nearby sites are also featured in this story. [Click here to read the complete story of "Moon the Transformer".]
"Xode and the Woman Who Spoke Improprieties"and "The Menstruating Rock". Puyullup, Green River. Here, at Brown’s Point, is the remains of a foul-tongued woman who was turned to stone by kh’OHD, the Transformer. The rock has a hole in it as if for a mouth. It is said that if one puts a stick in the hole and rattles it around rain will come...In the latter story, evidently about the same woman, the rock has much blood and water coming from this hole.
"Blanket Rock". Puyullup, Green River. Present-day Three Tree Point. This place was called SKAY-lehb which means ‘loading things into a canoe’. In several versions of this story a loaded canoe or raft setting out for Vashon Island was turned into this point of land at the time of transformation, or change of worlds. In one of these versions, a young woman, running from her husband, fell exhausted to the ground and was turned into a white rock along the shore as she called to this canoe full of her people to return for her. For a continuation of this version, see other sites south along the shore.
"Blanket Rock". Duwamish. In this version of the popular story it was here at Woodmont, called TSAH-kah-gwehs, that the young woman was turned into a rock along the shore as she called to the canoe full of her people to return for her. For a continuation of this version, see a nearby site.
"Blanket Rock". Duwamish, Green River. In four versions of this popular story it was here at Buenna that the young woman’s husband was turned into the eponymous rock as he chased his wife at the time of transformation. The rock, which had (has?) the appearance of a wrinkled blanket, was called koy-KWEEL-tseh, derived from the word meaning ‘marmot’, since it was the skin of this animal from which the young man’s blanket was made. Read also about this story at nearby sites along the shore.
"Blanket Rock"and "The Attack of the Snakes". Green River, Duwamish. At present-day town of Des Moines there was (is?) a large white rock on the shore. According to one version of the first story this was the place where a young woman running from her husband fell to the ground, exhausted, and was turned into a white rock as she called to a canoe full of her people to return for her...In the second story (has this been a B movie title?) this same white rock was the departure point for the Snake-people who were traveling from their home nearby on the White (now Green) River to a Vashon Island village (see island site) for revenge. In another version of this same story Lizard-woman basked on the white rock.
"The Attack of the Snakes". Green River, Duwamish. Near present-day Vashon Island town of Burton, on Quartermaster Harbor. This was the site of a S(kh)WAH-bahbsh or Hommamish village called kwee-LOOT (meaning ‘over there’). This was the place attacked by the Snake-people to avenge the death of one of their nobility at the hands of a man from this village. See also nearby sites along the mainland shore.
"The Attack of the Snakes". Green River, Duwamish. On the Green (formerly White) River inland from the present-day town of Des Moines. This was a village site called STOOK where the young man who offended the snakes either looked for a wife (Green River version) or took a wife (Duwamish). While he was at the village he killed one of the Snake-people who lived nearby. See also island and nearby shore sites.
"The Young Man Who Blocked Up Steel’s Lake". Duwamish. At Steel(e) Lake in present-day town of Federal Way. A young man going out alone to seek spiritual powers dove to the bottom of Steel Lake and blocked an underwater entrance through which whales swam into the lake from Puget Sound. In the old days present-day Redondo Creek was called toh-OHL-koh-beed, meaning "undergound stream’, because it drained out of Steel Lake through an underground channel.
"Elk Woman and the Flea People". White River/Green River. On the Green (formerly White) River inland from the present-day town of Des Moines and south of the village of STOOK. This was a village site called tshoo-tuhb-AHLT’w which means ‘flea’s house’. The place got that name because in the Old Days it was home to the Flea-people who were the size of cougars, bloodthirsty and very dangerous. Elk Woman, who was married to one of the Flea-people, was attacked by them but gained supernatural powers and was able to kill them all. The Flea-people were tough, though, and revived, but only to become the tiny size we know them as today.
"The Man Beheaded While Diving". White River. At Bow Lake near present-day SeaTac Airport terminal. A young man who had illicit relations with his sister-in-law was sent diving in Bow Lake. His headless body was later discovered off Three Tree Point near where Bow Lake has its outlet. Other versions of this story have a man disappearing in an unnamed lake under a variety of different circumstances; his headless body is later found faraway in saltwater. A different, unreferenced, legend credits adjacent Angle Lake with being the home of some sort of monster.
"The Brothers Killed by a Monster". Duwamish. This place, called sheh-BAHL-lohp, means ‘shade’. It is named for the Shadow Monster who killed four of the Wolf brothers but was killed in turn by the youngest, see-SOHB-seed. After killing the Monster see-SOHB-seed cut it up, flung the pieces of its body in all directions and said, "There will be no more Shadow Monster. Where there is shade, it will be a good place to camp, now that people are coming into existence."
"Rabbit and Grizzly Have a Contest". Puyallup, Green River. At Lake Keechelus which was formerly about half the size it is now. This is where Rabbit tricked Grizzly in the course of a gambling match. Grizzly drowned and turned into the stone mountain we see today on the south shore. Rabbit jumped into the woods and transformed into the animal we know.
[name of story unknown]. Probably Duwamish. A great boulder, LUHP-luhp’l or tchk’LEHT-lah (‘boulder’), now topped with a navigation beacon, standing several hundred yards off the beach below present-day Magnolia Bluff. A myth recounts that an ancient hero named STAH-koob could take a huge dragnet made of cedar and hazel branches and throw it over this rock while himself standing on the shore.
[legend of unknown association] Possibly Duwamish, Green River. The promontory now called Brace Point was believed to be the home of one of the monsters known as ‘horned snake’, psah-ee-YAH-hoos, which take the form of an enormous snake sometimes having the antlers and forelegs of a deer. In the water at the base of the promontory is still a big reddish boulder which was believed to change its form. Certain people had this boulder for a supernatural helper, others, if they looked at it, would become twisted into a knot.
[legend of unknown association] Probably Lake Washington/Duwamish. A place on the lake shore at the edge of a bluff, at about present-day NE 110th St, called ‘thunderbird’s house’, kwee-yahk-WAH-dee-AHLT. Mythical birds supposed to cause thunderstorms by clapping their wings and winking their eyes were believed to nest in the trees around here.
[legend of unknown association]. Probably Lake Washington/Duwamish. This area of the lakeshore, referred to as stlehk-UP’ks (‘deep promontory’), was considered very dangerous because people swimming here were "taken away" by something supernatural. Writer David Buerge mentions an unconfirmed report that in recent times 25 percent of all drownings reported in Lake Washington have taken place in this area.
[legend of unknown association]. Probably Lake Washington/Duwamish. A channel (tch’kah-AHL-koh) which drains a pond formerly located just south of Sand Point. The channel figures in a myth, possibly similar to others which describe how a once-subterranean stream was plowed open by whales or other powerful beings at the end of Myth Time. Such sites, according to writer David Buerge, were usually regarded as openings to the underworld and the land of the dead.
[legend of unknown association]. Probably Lake Washington/Duwamish. This place, off present-day Martha Washington Park, was called (kh)ah-(kh)ah-OO-lehtsh ('taboo'). Some supernatural monster lived in the water off this point.
[legend of unknown association]. Probably Lake Washington/Duwamish. An enormous supernatural monster called sah-ee-YAH-hohs (‘horned snake’) lived on the shore at this point opposite the north end of Mercer Island. Several other sites in the area serve as the abode of a similar monster.
[legend of unknown association]. Probably Lake Washington/Duwamish. This place at the south tip of Mercer Island was called LAH-gweet-sah-tub (‘stripping off’). The story goes that a man went here to strip bark from some dead trees. However, there were supernatural "earth beings"called SWAH-wah-tee-oo’teed living in the old stumps. Removing the bark was like removing their clothing. They punished the man by making him go crazy. Ever-after this spot was avoided.
[legend of unknown association]. Possibly Snoqualmie or Duwamish. On a broad, flat promontory into Lake Sammamish (possibly Greenwood Point) opposite the lakeside village of Monohon. This place was called ahb-shoost-SEHK (‘tree sticking up") from a story about some Yakama warriors who came across the mountains and were changed into trees which stood in the water and appeared to be decorated with red war paint.
[names of stories unknown]. Probably Duwamish. A spot on the west bank of the Duwamish River, now just S of the Hwy 99 bridge, which used to be called hootsh-SAHT-shee (‘hand cut in two’). This was considered a "bad place" where supernatural beings reside. One story goes that some people were once passing by here in a canoe, going up river. They were speculating how this spot got its name. Suddenly, right next to the canoe, the bloody stump of a hand rose up out of the river. A being from below the water spoke: "That is why!" (Sounds like a modern-day urban legend)...Another story tells about the time when Transformer came upon two men fighting here. He turned one of them into a large cottonwood tree on the west bank which still occasionally shot sparks across the river at its ancient enemy--now turned into a big white fir. One of the people who passed on this story tells that once, on a pitch-dark night, she actually saw sparks passing back and forth across the river.
[legend of unknown association]. Probably Duwamish. An isolated knoll next to the Duwamish River just south of its old confluence with the Black River. Its Lushootseed place name is lost but means ‘piles of snakes here’, apparently referring to water snakes which were sometimes found here in yard-high heaps. This place would not submit to the Transformation, so was considered part of the "old" world, as it was before the Transformer came.
[name of story unknown]. Possibly Green River. On the west bank of the lower White (now Green) River below the mouth of Mill Creek at the place historically known as Langston’s Ferry. This place was called b’SKWUHD, ‘where there is a waterfall’. The story is told that at the time of Transformation Mink was coming up the river carrying his lunch of mussels. The lunch was changed to the fossil mussels which could (can?) be dug out of the river bank.
[legend of unknown association]. Possibly Green River. At present-day Doloff Lake, called bs’KWAH-dees, ‘where there are whales’. This is one of those lake or pond sites, similar to one near Sand Point on Lake Washington, and another at nearby Bow Lake, once connected to an underground channel through which whales swam.
[legend of unknown association]. Possibly Green River. On the west bank of the lower White (now Green) River just above Kent. Called chah-KWAH-beed, in the Old Days elk would gather here and the Transformer, by pointing at them, could make all of them drop dead.
[legend of unknown association]. Probably Green River. Near present-day town of Auburn. Midway up a hillside east of the (old) White River, just below its (old) confluence with the Green River, was a rock in the form of a crouching wolf. This spot was called bs’kah-EE-yoo, "wolf’. When the Wolf-people heard that kh’OHD the Transformer was coming they ran away, all but one wof who lingered, watched for kh-OHD, and ‘hollered’ across the river until he was turned to stone. In historic times, this rock was dislodged and rolled downhill when the hillside was blasted to clear way for a road.
[name of story unknown]. Probably Green River. On the Green River less than a mile above the mouth of Big Soos Creek. This place--a steep cliff from the plateau north of the river--was called skh’wuh-yook-t’sah-DEE-oh, meaning ‘snail’s sliding place’. Snail, swee-YUHKS, was an ogress who was tricked and killed by Chipmunk. Her sisters, watching see-YUHKS slide down the hill, thought she was having fun and followed her. They were also killed. Just below this spot on the river, by an old channel, was a spot where a water monster used to emerge at night and call.
[legend of unknown association]. Probably Green River. On the Green River just above the mouth of Newaukum Creek. This place was called KLAH-khahd, ‘fence, weir’, a place in the river where the Transformer left his canoe pole sticking up so salmon could not pass and were easily caught.
[legend of unknown association]. Probably Green River. On the Green River, probably in the Gorge, at a narrow bend where the river has cut a rocky defile, undercutting the rocky west bank to form a deep hole in which salmon were plentiful. This was called SKHWAHP, ‘jumping place’, in reference to a contest that Wolf and Mountain Lion once had here, jumping back and forth across the river.
[legend of unknown association]. Probably Green River. At Black Diamond Lake, called ahb-sai-YAH-ohs, ‘where there is an ai-yah-HOOS, a powerful, supernatural horned snake’. A similar monster lived at a site in West Seattle and another site on Lake Washington.
[name of story unknown]. Probably Green River. At the head of a streamlet from the old Annie Jack place which runs into the upper White River. This place was called p’kh-OHB meaning ‘to fart’. The story goes that an old slave woman went for water from the spring here. Bending over the pool, she noticed faces reflected in the water. She wanted to make sure they were really people and not some trick of her eyes, but she did not dare look at them directly for if they were enemies that would let them know they had been discovered. With her mouth she made a noise like passing gas. The reflected faces smiled and she thus knew they were real. Calmly taking the water back to her village she told the people what she had seen. Nobody believed her, so she took a few of the children she especially loved and hid with them in the woods. That same night all the villagers were killed in an attack.
[legend of unknown association]. Probably Puyullup. Present-day Wapato Creek was once called STOH-lah-gwah-lee, ‘where the river used to be’, referring to an old story that the valley above this point used to be a vast lake, of which a much larger Wapato Creek was the outlet. Some whales who lived in the lake came plowing through the land, forming the Puyallup River. When the lake water drained Wapato Creek shrunk to the size it is today.