Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 29

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 35

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 29

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 35

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 29

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 35

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 29

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 35

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 29

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 35

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 29

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 35

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 29

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 35

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 29

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 35

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 29

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 35

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 29

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 35

Legends and Stories of the Okanagan

When White Men Came

by Isabel Christie, from Josephine Shuttleworth who recalls a tale her father used to tell

When the white men were first sighted coming up the valley from the south, the news spread quickly. There was great excitement among the Indian people, and considerable anxiety.

The Indian tribe of which Francois (Mrs. Shuttleworth’s father, and later Chief Francois) was a brave, built a great fire and prepared themselves for a power dance around it. They painted their faces with red clay and charcoal, and put streaks of red and black over their bodies. Then they began to dance, as an appeal for power against harm from the newcomers.

Every Indian, in those days, had a personal power that would help him when in some danger. It might be power against rattlesnakes, or against drowning; it might be that he could run like a deer, or be cunning like a coyote. He received this power on a testing night when he was sent out, as a lad, to some dark and lonely place by himself. When he was out he must paint on the rocks the story of his power, to prove to them that he had received it.

One of the braves at this great dancing fire had received his power from Chopaka Mountain. Down near the foot of the mountain there was a pitchy stump. Year after year the Indians had seen the stump stand, unbroken and almost unmarked by the huge boulders that hurled themselves against it as they fell loose and tumbled down the mountain-side. The brave, knowing he had been given the power of the stump, was quite confident that no gun could kill him.

Francois had an old muzzle-loader that was held in high esteem, and he was a sure shooter. The brave went up to him with a strange request. “I’ll dance around the fire four times,” he said, “then I’ll stoop, and you hit me here.” He leaned over and pointed to the top of his head as he spoke. Then he began his dancing. Francois was willing to test the man’s power, but in the excitement of the dance he wasn’t able to shoot as straight as usual. The bullet just grazed the man’s temple, burning and leaving him shocked and dazed. He danced crazily around the fire for a moment, with the smoke of the shot still black around him. Then he went up to Francois. “I wasn’t’ ready yet, “ he said. “You should have hit me on the top of my head. It wouldn’t have hurt me then.”

The dance went on, and when the men felt that they had been given power enough, they stopped. In the meantime, the white men were making their way along, and the Indians decided to raid them. Francois’ wife didn’t want him to harm the strangers, or to touch them at all, but in spite of her pleadings he went with the rest of the party to chase them.

When the white men saw the Indians coming, apparently on no friendly mission, they cut loose their packs and galloped away, leaving some of their extra horses as they ran. Two beautiful sorrel thoroughbreds, which the Indians greatly admired, were among the spoils. Besides the horses they had several pack boards of foodstuffs, the disposing of which caused considerable amusement.

One little Indian woman put a sack of rice on to cook. When it began to boil, it swelled over the top of the bucket. In amazement, she ran for another bucket – and another, and another. Before the rice was cooked, nearly every bucket in the camp was in use, and all the people gathered around to watch it.

Another woman began to cook a small sack of coffee beans. When they had boiled almost dry she poked them with a sharp stick to see if they were soft enough to eat. Finding them still hard, she spilled on a bit more water. All day she watched them carefully, adding more water as she thought they needed it. At the end of the day, she drained them, tasted them, and then threw them out in disgust.

Meanwhile, the strange white men hurried on, and who they were, or whither they were bound, the Indians never knew.