As told by: Tony Johnson, Gary Johnson, and K.C. Johnson
in Memories of Our Past, 1994
This is the story of our first people. It occurred before Changer came and made things the way they are today. This story is told to honor our ancestors and that Thunderbird.
A long time ago Too-Lux, that old man South Wind, traveled up our coast. As he traveled he became very hungry. When he reached our Great River, old man South Wind saw an old Ogress walking on the beach. South Wind asked the Ogress for some food, as he had not eaten for five days. In her miserly way, the Ogress answered “no.” She offered him a large net so that he could fish. Too-Lux cast the net into the water five times. When he pulled the net in the fifth time he had caught a small whale.
In his hunger, South Wind took out his knife and started to cut the whale across its back. The Ogress shouted, “No, don’t do that! Take a sharp knife and cut the whale lengthwise along its back.”
In his need for food, South Wind ignored the Ogress’ warning. He took his knife and began cutting the whale across its back. He was startled when whale turned into our grandfather transformed. Thunderbird took flight toward the sun. He blocked out the light and day became night. As he flew the noise from his wings shook the earth. Thunderbird flew toward the East and landed on his mountain. He tended a nest with five eggs.
The Ogress followed Thunderbird. She watched and waited for him to leave the nest. On the fifth day, Thunderbird flew west to hunt for whales. The Ogress came out of hiding and climbed to the next. She took the first egg, and thinking it was bad, pushed it from the nest. She did the same with each of the eggs. As the eggs rolled down the mountainside they cracked open, and out came our grandmothers and grandfathers. They were the first Chinook people.
When Thunderbird returned to his nest and saw the mischief that the Ogress had caused, he went in pursuit. He followed her trail to the North; there he met South Wind and they searched together.
And even to this day, at this time of year, Thunderbird and South Wind traveled up the coast in search of that Ogress. And when they travel North it reminds us to honor our ancestors and that Thunderbird.
Used by permission of Gary and Tony Johnson, 2012