Hi! Han! or Oki! (Depending on the tribe.) The second is Lakota and the third “hello” is Blackfeet.
I love a good mystery. Do you? I hope so because I’m about to tell you a story that is true, but it’s also a mystery — it’s about a people that the tribe of Salish people call “the mystery people.”
I thought it might be fun to try to guess who these people were — remember that the Salish people are in the northern part of this country and farther west than even the Blackfeet. So they are not too far away from the Pacific. Here we go: This is the story of the mystery people.
In the days of long ago — what would be our grandfather’s grandfathers, a mystery people came to Flathead lake. They were a small, fine featured people, and they brought with them their wives and children who had flattened their heads, which was the style of the coastal Indians at this time. These strange people came in strong canoes and they came from the direction of what the Salish people called the Great Salt Water (most likely the Pacific Ocean).
They were very few people and they troubled no one. The Grandfathers say that they were neither white nor Indian. Their skin color was as dark as an Indian’s, but their features were not those of the American Indian — and they were much smaller in size and structure from the American Indian.
These mystery people — the men — didn’t flatten their heads — only their wives and children did, again, which was the style of different Pacific Coast Indians. When these people went west, they were gone a very long time, usually, and when they returned, they brought with them dried salmon, which was much prized amongst the Salish.
These people were skilled in the healing arts and knew how to use roots and different barks and teas to cure many illnesses. They once helped the natives along the coast when illness struck them by telling them not to use the sweat baths and then plunge into cold water — they said that this would kill them. They saved a great many people by their wise words.
Who were these people? The only clues given were that these people came from a land beyond the Great Salt Water and that strong winds had blown them so far off course that they were lost. Finally they saw the lake and land and came toward it, but another storm broke their great canoe. The Indians along the shore treated them kindly and they lived with them. Who were these people?
Here’s a little more about them — they were the same color as the Indians but not Indian. They were a kind people — kind to women and children and they loved to laugh and to play. They knew many things that they taught the people — one was about fire — they taught the people the exact right stones to use to get dry kindle to light. What happened to them?
There weren’t many of them and their sons and daughters eventually married Salish people and over time the mystery people vanished. Who were they?
I honestly don’t know, but I’m willing to make a guess. The legend says that they were smaller and fine-feathered — but it says nothing about their eye-shape nor their difference in color of skin — so I would rule out the orient. This was long before the white man ever came to Flathead country. (The picture to the right, by the way is of Flathead Lake — where the mystery people came to live.)
My guess would be Malaysian or perhaps even India Indians. Because the Malaysians were close to the water, it’s possible that they might have been blown off course. But I could be very far off.
Do you have a guess?
So come on in an let’s make a guess about this together. By the way all those who guess will be eligible to win a free copy of the ebook, THE LAST WARRIOR — all rules for give-aways here at Petticoats and Pistols applies. Oh, please do come back tomorrow — Wednesday — evening — that’s when I usually post the winners.
Do come on in — leave a comment and let’s chat!