Saturday, July 20, 2013

Stone Pile in California

Curtis Hoffman writes:
I’ve been reading Richard Burrill’s “Ishi’s Untold Story in His First World”.  This is an extraordinarily meticulous and detailed account of the famous Yahi Indian who spent his last years as a museum display in San Francisco.  It contains an account by Bryan Beavers, a member of the Konkow band of the Maidu tribe, concerning the persons Burrill thinks are likely Ishi’s mother and father.  The mother was captured as a girl during a Yahi raid, and when she came of age was married to a Yahi man.  The account, from an unpublished Masters thesis by John Duncan III, “How to Catch a Sleeping Fish”, reads as follows:
“And she told this man she was married to, ‘I been with your people long time’ and she said ‘I’d like to go back to my people for a while.’
“And so evidently he was a pretty good one, ‘cause he told her, he said, ‘All right, you been my people for a long time.  I’ll go back and be your people.’  So they came through near Butte Meadows and above Stirling City, and come through walkin’.  And come up here to Dogwood.  That big camp there.
“But they come there, and there were lots of Indians then, you know, oh, lots of ‘em.  Soon as he got there, why he told ’em, he said, ‘I want to be your people.’
“And they said, ‘No. You gotta go back. She’s gonna stay but you gotta go back.’
“He didn’t want to , but they took him.  They took him up on top of the hill there, pretty near the top of that hill on the old Indian trail.  And there’s a big flat rock that only projects up out ‘a the ground a foot and a half or so and it’s flat on top.  And quite big.  They laid him on there and they took rocks and pounded his fingers and his toes and just kept poundin him like that until they killed him.  Mashed him.  Broke his arms.  Until they mashed him.  And they throwed him down the hill and they throwed some rocks on him, you know.
“Until everybody that came along by that place on the trail would always pick up a rock and throw it on there.
“And someday I’m going to go back over there and see if I can find that place and see if the skeleton is in there.  Something in there, see.  I know everybody throw a rock on there until late years.  He’s by the trail, but I don’t know if I can find the trail anymore.  It’s all grown over, you see.”


pwax said...

Readers should know that the kind of "monument" pile described here is NOT the type of pile we are dealing with when seeing multiple piles in a cluster. Please see this discussion:

Menotomy Maps said...

That 2006 post is consistent with my beliefs regarding rock piles and similar places where people have rearranged the landscape.
As you say: “places of natural energy and aesthetics”

Tim MacSweeney said...

Kind of an "anti-donation pile." It's usually a story about honoring a person, respectfully adding a stone that connected to stone heaps and mounds and piles etc.

pwax said...

One more comment: donation piles are not that common. Occasionally I see something that makes me think it is one but usually not.