Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tsagaglalal - She Who Watches

Ancient Petroglyph on the Columbia River – Edward Curtis - 1910

While the Pueblo tribes of the prehistoric Southwest experienced their sweeping epoch (see prior posts) they were not alone on the continent. This ancient petroglyph with watching eyes is located on a cliff overlooking the Columbia River. The same pattern is recognizable in round twined bags of the Wasco/Wishram on the Columbia Plateau.

The legend of Tsagaglalal, “She Who Watches” begins before Coyote came up the river and changed things. At that time a woman lived in a great house where the village of Nixluidix was later built. She was chief of the entire region. Then Coyote came up the river and warned her, “Soon the World will change”. Then he turned her into a rock. He said, “You shall stay here and watch over the people who live here.”

Beaded Bag - Yakima - 1930-35
Yakima Valley Museum, Yakima Washington