Bluejay was a trickster who enjoyed playing clever tricks on everyone, especially his sister Ioi. As she was the eldest sister, Bluejay was suppose to
But he deliberately misinterpreted what she said, excusing himself by saying, "Ioi always tells lies."
Ioi decided that it was high time for Bluejay to quit his playful life of trickery and settle down with a wife. She told him that he must select a wife from
the people of the land of the dead, who were called the "Supernatural People". Ioi recommended that Bluejay choose an old woma for a wife and
suggested the recently deceased wife of a chief.
But Bluejay balked; he wanted a beautiful young and attractive woman. He found the corpse of a beautiful young girl and took it to Ioi, who advised
him to take the body to the land of the dead to be revived.
Bluejay set out on his journey and arrived at the first village of the Supernatural People.
They asked him, "How long has she been dead?"
"Only a day," he answered.
The Supernatural People of the first village then informed him that there was nothing they could do to help him; he must go to the village where people
who were dead for exactly one day were revived.
Bluejay arrived at the next village the next day and asked the people to revive his wife. The people here too asked him how long she had been dead.
"Two days now," he replied. "There is nothing we can do; we only revive those who were dead exactly one day." So Bluejay went on.
He reached the third village on the day after that and asked the people to revive his wife.
"How long has she been dead?" they asked.
"Exactly three days now."
"Most unfortunate," they replied. "We can only revive those who have been dead exactly two days."
And so it went on from village to village until Bluejay finally came to the fifth village, where the people could at last help him. The people of the fifth
village liked Bluejay and made him a chief. But the trickster tired of the Underworld and wanted to take his newly revived wife back to the land of the
When Bluejay arrived at home with his wife, her brother saw she was alive once more and ran to tell their father, an old chief, who demanded that
Bluejay cut off all of his hair as a gift to his new in-laws.
When there was no response from Bluejay, the chief became angry and led a party of male relatives to find him. Just as they nearly caught him,
Bluejay assumed the form of a bird and flew off again to the land of the dead.
At this, his wife's body fell to the ground lifeless. She went to meet her husband in the land where he was now an exile.
|Bluejay Finds A Wife
A Chinook Legend
Music: The Painted Cave by AH-NEE-MAH
Chinook oral legend has it that the first men of the tribe came from the sky because they were the offspring of Thunderbird. The men then found and
plucked women (who were in various stages of development) from the valley floor. This was the first Chinook tribe.
Also, the rock where the first Chinook woman was plucked still exists. It has a hole all the way through it where her arms passed right through the
middle of the rock. I've never seen it but have been told how to get there and where it is. Very few people know about this place (until now), and I'm
not at liberty to tell of its whereabouts.
The Chinook creation story center in Oregon, on Saddle Mountain. That's where Thunderbird laid its eggs. Thunderbird was part man, part spirit
being. An Ogress rolled five of Thunderbird's eggs down Saddle Mountain, and five men, each of different color, were born. They found their women
growing in various states of development in the valley below. The chief man plucked his wife from a rock. Her arms went through the rock, as if she
was hugging it. There is a rock with this feature in the Pacific Northwest.
This group formed the first tribe, split up as they kept moving further and further along the Columbia River.
|Chinook Creation Story
A Chinook Legend
Coyote came to a place near Oregon City and found the people there very hungry. The river was full of salmon, but they had no way to spear them in
the deep water. Coyote decided he would build a big waterfall, so that the salmon would come to the surface for spearing. Then he would build a fish
trap there too.
First he tried at the mouth of Pudding River, but it was no good, and all he made was a gravel bar there. So he went on down the river to Rock Island,
and it was better, but after making the rapids there he gave up again and went farther down still. Where the Willamette Falls are now, he found just
the right place, and he made the Falls high and wide. All the Indians came and began to fish.
Now Coyote made his magic fish trap. He made it so it would speak and say Noseepsk! when it was full. Because he was pretty hungry, Coyote
decided to try it first himself. He set the trap by the Falls, and then ran back up the shore to prepare to make a cooking fire. But he had only begun
when the trap called out, "Noseepsk!"
He hurried back; indeed the trap was full of salmon. Running back with them, he started his fire again, but again the fish trap cried "Noseepsk!
Noseepsk!" He went again and found the trap full of salmon. Again he ran to the shore with them; again he had hardly gotten to his fire when the
trap called out, "Noseepsk! Noseepsk!" It happened again, and again; the fifth time Coyote became angry and said to the trap, "What, can't you wait
with your fish catching until I've built a fire?" The trap was very offended by Coyote's impatience and stopped working right then. So after that the
people had to spear their salmon as best they could.
|Coyote Builds Willamette Falls and the Magic Fish Trap
A Chinook Legend
|Ioi and the Ghost Husband
A Chinook Legend
The ghosts went in search of a wife and one of them fell in love with Blue Jay's sister Ioi. They brought animal teeth as gifts and the night after the
wedding feast they disappeared, taking Ioi with them.
Blue Jay did not hear from Ioi for an entire year. He then decided to visit the land of ghosts in order to see her again. He went about the villages and
among the animals asking for directions, but none would answer him. Finally, he found someone who would guide him there in return for payment.
In the land of ghosts, he found Ioi standing amid piles of bones that were introduced to him as Ioi's in-laws. At times the bones would leap into
normal human form, but they would return to piles of bones when a loud noise was made.
Ioi asked Blue Jay to take her young brother-in-law fishing. The boats of the ghost people looked terrible; they were full of holes and covered with
moss. Finding that a shout would turn his fishing companion into a pile of bones, Blue Jay had great fun.
Among his many pranks, Blue Jay took the bones and mixed them up, placing the skull of a child on an adult torso, then laughing when the strange
thing came to life.
The next time Blue Jay went fishing with Ioi's young brother-in-law, they kept what they caught, which looked to Blue Jay like branches but were
actually fine salmon in the ghost world.
Another time the ghost people became very excited: A "whale" had been found beached. But to Blue Jay's eyes it did not look like a whale, but rather
like a large log. The ghost people began stripping the bark off the log, praising it as the richest whale blubber they had ever had.
Knowing that by shouting he could reduce them all to bones, he did so, and then took the blubber for himself, but in his hands it still looked like tree
The ghost people tired of Blue Jay's pranks at their expense, and Ioi's husband begged her to send the trickster home. So Ioi sent her brother up to the
world of the living to put out five prairie fires.
She gave him five pots of water, but -as usual- he ignored his sisters instructions, claiming, "Ioi always tells lies." So he poured the water on the fires
without taking care to see how much was needed for the job.
By the time Blue Jay reached the fifth fire, there was no water left. The fire consumed him and he died. But the dead don't know that they are dead
Upon arriving in the land of the dead, Blue Jay did not believe that he was dead. When Ioi sent her canoe to greet him -a canoe that had looked before
to Blue Jay as miserable and full of holes.
He said, "What a fine canoe! I have never seen one this fine."
When the people brought him fine salmon, which had seemed before to Blue Jay to be mere tree branches -he said, "What excellent salmon; I have
never seen any so fine."
The people in the land of the dead tried to convince Blue Jay that he was actually dead, but he refused to believe it, saying, "Ioi always tells lies."
Remembering his tricks with the ghost people, Blue Jay shouted. However, now the ghosts did not reduce to piles of bones; in fact, nothing happened.
Still not convinced that he was actually dead, Blue Jay went to pester the medicine men in the land of the ghosts. They became annoyed with him and
made him insane. When Ioi found him, he was dancing on his head.
Ioi told the people, "My brother is now very dead, he has lost his mind."