Klahowyah means hello. Like Aloha, Klahowyah also means goodbye.
My name is Harvest Moon. I’m a Quinault native, storyteller, and basket weaver. My name, Harvest Moon, was given to me by my great grandfather.
Like most babies, I decided to come into this world during the middle of the night and it happened to be a night when there was a full moon. So my great grandfather realized my name would be With the Moon. He then also noticed that my tribe, which is the Quinault Tribe, had just finished harvesting a large amount of salmon from the Quinault River and it was then that he realized that my name would be Harvest Moon.
I went on a vision quest when I was in my teens to find out the meaning of my name, which is a light shining forth in the midst of darkness. It was then that the storyteller started to emerge. Storytelling has always been a part of folklife regardless of nation race or creed in fact stories and legends have served as the history books of mankind for thousands of years.
It was not different in the tribal cultures of the Pacific Northwest. Following long-held traditions, tribal legends and stories are passed down from generation to generation and placed in the hands of the storytellers. To be carried as gentle as a newborn and nurtured into full-blown lives.
The storyteller must learn to use her mind and tongue. A tongue that is as sharp as the eagle’s talons, as a tool that touches people’s minds young and old, words that have the power and convictions as the chief, shaman, elder, or even the Great Spirit. The storyteller must be focused 360 degrees just like a circle, a circle of great importance in native cultures. Not so much speaking as you might think but more of listening. Listening to stories that people tell provides storytellers with the foundation for future tales that in turn are passed on as history and they become legends in themselves. History often repeats itself gives the listener knowledge to make it right the first or as many times as it takes with every telling of the story even after hundreds of times both the teller and the listeners gain something new.
Change is fluid; like the change in the creek bed over time, the color of leaves on the trees, or the shapes of the moon. Our stories must do the same to be meaningful to all people. The many gifts a storyteller carries such as a story that is so well woven with words that people cannot stop from absorbing a vivid picture to each individual mind. To feed off by watching the listeners as they travel through a mirage of feelings and thought as a story is shaped and molded right before the listener’s ears. Then the myths and the legends will provoke an in-depth look into one’s soul. So taken aback that their travel through life they come upon a spark of light that brings words of the wisdom of the storytellers.
Storytelling was primary for entertainment during the long winter nights of the longhouse, but also the preservation of the history of tribal family and legacy of famous feats that people accomplished. It’s been said that many legends coincide with the settler’s great book of wisdom they called the Bible.
Learning the power of oneself comes if you hold a high reverence towards the plants and the animals and last and most important are morals; morals that will teach a sturdy foundation for a strong spirit, soul, and heart. All stories have a specific time, thesis, or age of one lifetime. Like a medicine woman, the storyteller carefully measures each word. The mighty raven has the power to change herself into anything. With the use of good acting, tones, and gestures, adding even some magic transforms a promising performance of multiple talents out of just one person.
When I learned that storytelling was in the program a hesitation came upon me. In this day and age with movies, special effects, and video games what generation would have any interest in the art of storytelling, but to my surprise, as years went by I started polishing the short legends. It takes me aback at how many people come up afterward wondering if that story is true. A slow process that takes a whole lifetime to strive to be the best storyteller on this mother earth. It’s a real privilege to share among thousands of people young and old the importance and the knowledge of the Pacific Northwest storytellers.
Harvest Moon is a Quinault Ambassador, historian, basket weaver, and storyteller. Her combined talents and many skills help her create educational lectures for people of all ages.
In her presentations, she describes in-depth programs of the Coastal Salish Natives. Harvest Moon brings in hands-on artifacts, which deliver a clearer perspective of how things were done. She will speak of the abundance of life amongst the Northwest Coast Tribes, whose rich culture has been handed down from generation to generation. Discover the unique heritage that they hold close to their hearts.
Native basket weavers, once close to extinction in most tribes, are now experiencing a rebirth of their traditions and skills. Harvest Moon delves into the history of Native American basket weaving, explaining the rituals of gathering materials and the place of skilled basket weavers within traditional society. She sees each basket as an expressive vehicle of the weaver, embodying her traditions and spiritual aspirations. Her talk is enhanced by examples of traditional baskets. Celebrating over 25 years of weaving baskets allowing her to be known as a Master Basket Weaver; teaching and displaying her work at festivals, museum gift shops, and Art in Public Places and drumming and singing songs of the basket weavers of the Quinault Tribe.
Occupations of the Long House
Harvest Moon will describe an in-depth look at the occupations of the longhouse. Discover the world of the carver and the rituals of the whale hunters. The class structure began from chiefs down through the slaves. Share the secrets of why the expert basket weaver would marry the most respected man of the tribe, in most cases this would be the chief son. Even careers that many people had no idea existed, for example, the weatherman predicting the weather. How tree fallers conquer Cedars 14 feet in diameter. This program is suitable for kindergarten grades up. Having the finishing touch of a legend that will fascinate and intrigue people young and old, then translating the hidden meaning of the legend.
Mother Earth, Games and Legends
This program will attract a new audience whose interest is in the high concern for the natural environment. Focusing on the richness of the indigenous uses of plants. Plants that people find in their own back yard. Various tribes in the Pacific Northwest area have a diversity of characteristics. The use of plants in ways, which more than 150 species serve as food, medicinal, uses charms as well as clothing and other objects. The many hours that can’t be counted were Harvest Moon spent in the woods as a child, bringing the mysteries of the plants to life.
Connecting with our natural environment based on the spirit of sharing, caring, and communicating brings us to games, games in the social and spiritual life of the tribe. The Bone Game, Dice, and Boulder Carry Contest.
The legend will accent the program as if it’s the end of the day in the Long House. A legend that will influence one’s character of young and old. The story is told quickly from a full heart, drawn from a store of thoughts and lore gatherings through half a lifetime of intimate contact with Mother Nature. A legend, that when it’s told absorbs into Body and Soul. Harvest Moon’s belief is in the spirit of nature’s fantasy of the animal people and the concept of right and wrong.
Harvest Moon has been storytelling over half her lifetime. Stories that will make you laugh, cry, and will move you. Why does it rains so much in the Pacific Northwest, Why Heron is always standing in water. Why the settlers were so taken aback by the help of a tribe to this day they placed signs along the road that say Watch for Rolling Rocks. The last story will be a story Harvest Moon wrote a couple of years called The Double Vision.
Harvest Moon has served two terms for “The Washington Commission for the Humanities”. Grants from the Seattle Arts Commission, Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities, and Heritage Arts Council for “Artist in Residency” throughout Washington Schools. Her interest in History and her vast amount of research give her the title of a professional speaker and artist.
Harvest Moon means “A light shining forth in the midst of darkness”. She speaks from her heart and spirit, leaving people looking at a different perspective of the Northwest Coast Native Americans. Receiving the “Peace and Friendship Award”, from the Washington State Historical Society in recognition of significant contributions to the understanding of N.W. Indian Heritage.
Past Presentations: Microsoft Corporation, Hewlett Packard, State Farm, J.C. Penney, Stanford University Professors alumni. Along with Universities, Colleges, Schools, Libraries, and Historical Societies.