Thursday, January 2, 2014

Garrett B. Hunt, from Indian Wars of the Inland Empire

Smohalla and His Cult
Appearing at intervals in the body of American history,
are to be discerned individual Indians, usually of the non-
combatant class, who have left their imprint on the warpath
as it leads down among the struggles of the natives and the
whites. The mission of these men has been to urge their fel
lows on to war with a religious zeal not incomparable to the
holy wars which have punctuated the history of all mankind.
From Powhatten and Massasoit down to Sitting Bull and
Joseph, not all the bloody wars with the natives can be at
tributed solely to superficial race antagonism.

One should not be surprised at finding a deeper ethnolog
ical antipathy. The friction has not been a clash of mere
churlishness of the surface of racial life, but originated in
the very stripes of the commnal interests of the opposing
factors. The transition from resentment in the Indian breast
at the early visits of Europeans to this side of the Atlantic
on through years of antagonism on to bloody hatred can be
accounted for by the mere superficies of the situation.

Such terms as "Great Spirit", "Feast of the Green Corn"
and the "Totem of the Snake" have found their way into liter
ature. But to the Aryan mind it has not been given to compre
hend all that the Indian understood perfectly and assimilated
easily and readily. It mightbe remarked that we modern Indo-
Europeans have not been able to understand each other of to
day on religious topics. Some smile when others go to Simla
in the hope of catching some inspiration of that elusive idea
which held sway when the Aryan was young.

What then, can be alleged of the strength of the type of re
ligious belief in a race which has been sequestered from the
"modern nation" for so many ages of the world's develop
ment that our polished civilization has not yet dared to as
sert the place or the time when the American aborigine sev
ered relations with the rest of human kind ?

It has been the fancy to credit to a rude military prowess
and physical skill the selection of the dominating personal
ities among the Indians, but ithasnotbeen the fashion to re
gard Indian stoicism as separate and apart from Indian as
ceticism. Nor has there been attributed to the Indian any
thing of mysticism, beyond the outward form of queer cere
monial rites.

Looking back over the pages of American history, it may
be no ted that be hind Pontiac in his conspiracy lay his brother,
known as the Delaware prophet. Before Tecumseh precipa-
tated himself into the conflict which resulted disastruosly for
him at Tippecanoe, he consulted his brother, Tenskwatawa,
known as the Shawano prophet, and claiming himself to be
the direct lineal inspired successor of the Delaware prophet.

It is not to the purpose of these pages to enter upon a dis
quisition touching the whole line of Indian prophets which have
held sway over their kind and urged chief and brave alike on
to battle. The United States ethnological bureau has estab
lished the fact that Indian warchief and Indian mystic stalk
through the field of events hand in hand; and it is not sur
prising to learn that Kamiahkin had his Smohalla and Joseph
his Toothulhulsote. These mystics have been the Hermit
Peters, the fanatics, the frenzied, the paranoiacs; but in their
day and generation they were active, living issues, and their
theories and teachings were potent.

The known facts of Smohalla's life are not numerous, and
those which have been learned are the result of investigations
pursued by Maj. Junius W. MacMurray, acting under instruc
tion of General Nelson A. Miles. Major MacMurray passed
many months with Smohalla and his followers and the results
of his labors are preserved in the reports of the Bureau of

Smohalla was born about 1815 or 1820 in the Columbia
valley in Central Washington. His tribe was a comparatively
insignificant one of only a few hundred souls, called the
Wanapum. The remnant of them is found to be of the same
stock as the YakimasandNezPerces.Whilea comparatively
young man Smohalla visited the Roman Catholic mission of
the Ahtanum river, in the Yakima valley, and became more
or less familiar with the religious forms there seen, learning
somewhat of the French language spoken by the priests. Al
ready well on the road to selection as a war chief and being
regarded by the Columbia river Indians as a personage of
importance, he suddenly altered the course of his life in
1850 and began to preach his peculiar doctrine. That his
missionary work among the various tribes contributed to
the facility with which Kamiakin framed his scheme of con
federation in 1856, cannot be doubted. Filled with the enthu
siasm of a zealot, he nearly forgot his doctrines and aspired
to military leadership. He called a council of various tribes
at his village of Pna on the Columbia in the vicinity of Priest
Rapids, but Kamiahkin and the main band of the Yakimas
failed to join the movement, and the laurels of leadership in
the few bright months when the star of Kamiahkin was in the
ascendant were not on the brow of Smohalla. Yet the war
chief and the fanatical agitator found it convenient to work in

It was shortly after the war of 1858 that an incident
occurred which completely upset Somhalla's temporal am
bition For ten years he had been becoming less and less a
warrior and more and more a medicine man. While the
fighting spirit still burned he became embrioled with Moses,
a well known chief, farther up the Columbia and a man of
commanding character even among the early white settlers.
But Smohalla did not fight with weapons in open warfare. He
"made bad medicine" against Moses and his great tribe, and
the latter after a period of wild frenzy at the prospect of
being taken off in a mysterious way, ultimately discovered
that Smohalla seemed powerless to harm them by his threats
and incantation. Duing one of these buoyant periods, they
engaged the Wanapum in battle. Smohalla was left upon the
bank of the Columbia for dead.

It was years before Smohalla appeared in his old haunts.
On his return he told a story which smacks of what he might
have remembered of the finding of the leader of the Israe-
lities in a boat by the daughter of the Egyptain king.

However Smohalla came by the idea, there was a Moses
and a boat in the story of his miraculous escape from death.

Major MacMurray was of the opinion that Smohalla was
chagrined at the defeat he had suffered and feared the loss of
prestige among his own people if he returned at once. During
his stay at Pna the officer learned the following story of
Smohalla's claim to knowledge.

Recovering on the battlefield sufficiently to crawl to the
river, he found a canoe and on it floated away. Returning
consciousness found him installed under the fostering care
of a strange tribe. Upon his complete recovery, he left his
benefactors and set out to visit unknown places of the earth.
How many years he was absent is not stated, but his people
had given him up as dead for a number of years.

The story he told on reaching Pna is a wonderfully curious
thing. He announced that he had been dead, and the people
beleived it; they had plenty of witnesses to his death in the
battle with Moses years before. He had been raised to life
again; his people believed this, for they recognized him in
the flesh and blood. During his absence he had been made
the recipient of a divine revelation; that was believed be
cause the people of the spirit world had cared for him and
sent him back to them, and such a seer as Smohalla had been
in his previous life on earth was sure to add to his store of
knowledge which he obtained while sojourning among those
who live beyond the confines of terrestrial life. Smohalla's
reappearance among his chosen people was, to the ocular,
demonstration of the power of the spirits to take a favored
being bodily from among them and after giving him a course
of study in their extra-undane school, return him safely as
a teacher among them.

Major MacMurray put the old fellow through a severe
cross-examination as to his wanderings. The officer exhibited
to him a map, and Smohalla satisfied with this pointed out
the location of points he had visited. The major was satisfied
with this. He himself had traveled over the Rocky mountains
and coast region and was familiar with landscape features of
many of the places claimed by Smohalla to have been visited
by him. But Smohalla mentioned natural features of certain
localities with such minute detail that Major MacMurray was
satisfied that he had seen the things described. The officer
in his report, maintains that the old prophet must have visited
in person certain localities in California, Mexico, Arizona,
Utah and Nevada. Smohalla acknowledged that he had been in
Utah, though he denied that he had visited Salt Lake City. He
told how he had seen Mormon Priests receiving commands
direct from heaven.

Whatever may be left in the alembic of the white man's
mind concerning Smohalla and his teachings, the residuum
in the Indian scheme of things was indispu table. Smohallism
became a gospel and Smohalla a demi-god, not a demagogue.
At the proper moment Smohalla boldly proclaimed himself to
be a special messenger of the "Saghala Tyee," the spirit
above which controlled the destinies of the Indians, who had
long been angry with his people because they had departed
from the ways and customs of their fathers. He declared that
the race was doomed, because it had forsaken primitive
things; that it had violated precepts of nature. On this basis
was the religious system placed before them; a strange
mixture of aboriginal ideas and ancient Indian mythology, in
which were curiously interwoven elements which appear to
have been suggested from white sources.

This revamped Smohallism was abreast of the age. It has
an elaborate ritual, in whichwere mingled some forms which
might have been taken from the Catholic missionaries or
suggested by Mormon ceremonies. Smohalla had carried
things vastly farther than he had done in the decade between
1850 and 1860; and improvement which was perfectly natural
to one who had made great strides in knowledge while in the
tutelage of the savants of another world. Previously, he had
contented himself with preaching the gospel of a coming
Indian redeemer and urging the necessity of preparation for
his arrival by uniting all the Indians and driving out all the

There was one other feature yet to be developed before
Smohallism came to be colloquially known among the whites
of the region as "Dreamerism." Smohalla turned trance
artist and thus again established the divine origin of his mis
sion. By the time Major MacMurray had reached Pna, Smo
halla had become an adept in the practices usually credited
to the Hindu faker. Needles thrust into his limbs, produced
no demonstration of pain. Incisions in his body were followed
by no effusion of blood. The Indians called this death, and
the demises and resurrections were looked upon with awe.
It came about that whenever Smohalla wanted to create an
especially profound impression he would "die" only to be
resurrected with a new and fresh message from "Sahhala
Tyee" directly bearing upon the point that he at the moment
desired to drive home. It is stated that he often threatened to
go back to the Tyee for good and all, leaving his followers
to a dire fate, if they did not conform to his teachings.

That Smohalla was a mountebank and knowingly practiced
deception upon his people is shown in a story related by
Major MacMurray. The old fellow came into possession of
an almanac and a party of surveyors explained that on a
certain date there would be an eclipse. This information
came just at a time when the followers had begun to question
the occult powers of their leader. With all the dramatic set
ting possible he preached a sermon and uttered denunciations
and called upon the heavens to be obscured. As the eclipse
progressed, his followers became frantic; and at the proper
moment, with the greatest possible effect Smohalla ordered
the sun to reappear, not instantly, but slowly and gradually.
For a few months Smohalla's authority was supreme.

Not understanding the exact causes of an eclipse and feel
ing that the time had come when another demonstration of
his powers would have a salutary effect, Smohalla in the
succeeding year, repeated his prophecy and set the same day
and hour, and with a disastrous result. When Major Mac-
Murray visited Pna in 1884 the old fellow brought about
another eclipse. The almanac was of the year 1882 and Smo-
halla asked the officer to fix from it astronomical date for
1884. Of course, the officer was unable to supply the date for
another prediction: "This cost me much of his respect as
A wise man from the East" observed Major MacMurray.

Smohalla is described by the officer named in this lan
guage: "In person, Smohalla is peculiar short, thick-set*
bald-headed and almost hunch-backed; he is not prepossing
at first sight; but he has an almost Websterian head, with
a deep brown over bright, intelligent eyes." General Howard
also mentions the abnormally large head of the old Indian

It may not be unreasonable, by way of explanation of Smo
halla' s confessed mental powers and his remarkable control
of his fellows, that he was endowed with unusual intellectual
faculties which were at times warped andaffectedby the ab
normalities found coexistent with hydrocephalus and certain
injuries to the spinal column.

Charlatan, religious zealot or plain paranoiac, Smohalla
possessed an influence and a sway over his day and genera
tion, which cannot be gainsaid. One does not have to search
very far into bygone history, to understand that members of
the white race gravely asserted that there was merit and good
or bad, fortune to be obtained from contact with a hunchback.
These unfortunates and eccentrics have amused, and they
have terrorized the courts of Anglo-Saxon monarchs; they
have wielded an influence over both nations and religions.

That Smohalla had definite and clear-cut ideas concerning
his own cosmogony and theology, will be seen from an exam
ination of his recorded theories, teachings and ceremonies.

Forms and Ceremonies
The first recognition of the cult of Smohallism to appear
in the government records is found in a report from the
superintendent of Indian Affairs of Oregon in 1870, and even
at that time Smohalla's personality is not mentioned. The
fact had become well known that the dissatisfaction among the
Indians was closely related with the sect known and described
by the term, Dreamers, for by this time many of Smohalla's
leading disciples had developed the ability to enter into a
trance state. In his communication to the Indian bureau, the
Oregon agent made a statement concerning the sect which
constitutes a brief and clear definition of the central thought
of the Smohalla religion. He wrote:

They have a new and peculiar religion, by the doctrines
of which they are taught that a new god is coming to their
rescue that all the Indians who have died heretofore, and
who shall die hereafter, are to be resurrected; that, as
they will then be very numerous and powerful, they will be
able to conquer the whites, recover their lands and live as
free and unrestrained as their fathers lived in the olden
times. Their model of a man is an Indian. They aspire to
be Indians, and nothing else.

As the doomed victim of a fatal malady longs for the
strength and independence which was once his with such a
longing that the visions become almost realities so in the
breast of the already stricken native of the Pacific Northwest
there clung and thrived the inspiriting dream of an ultimate
racial sovereignty. The result was a strong undercurrent, at
first invisible to the white comprehension, which fomented
opposition to setting the Indians off on reservations.
Smohalla seized the opportunity to foster this longing of
the Indian heart. If he did not invent forms and cermonies
which could fix the attention of the hopeful native, he appro
priated and revamped them. He took from ancient Indian
mythology, as it has been understood by the whites ever
since they crossed the Atlantic and he adapted from the forms
of modern white civilization. From elements of varied origin
he braided a bond which was most attractive for uniting the
natives in a common cause.

Major Mac Murray, in his efforts to get at the root of
opposition plan of land grants to the natives, induced Smo
halla to recite to him the prophet's scheme of cosmogony as
he understood it. The officer makes no attempt to dissect the
tenets or ascribe any origin whatever to the different ideas.
Some of it is as old as the twilight of recognized history, and
some of it indicates a very circumscribed and material out
look. This ex-cathedral utterance of the old chief is as fol

Once the world was all water and God lived alone. He
was lonesome, he had no place to put his foot; so he
scratched the sand up from the bottom and made the land,
and he made the rocks, and he made the trees and he made
man; and the man had wings and could go anywhere. The
man was lonesome, and God made a woman. They ate fish
from the water, and God made the deer and other animals,
and he sent the man to hunt, and told the woman to cook
the meat and dress the skins.

Many more men and women grew up, and they lived on
the banks of the great river whose waters were full of
salmon. The mountains contained much game, and there
were buffalo on the plains. There were so many people that
the stronger ones sometimes oppressed the weak and
drove them from the best fisheries, which they claimed as
their own. They fought, and nearly all were killed, and
their bones are to be seen in the hills yet.

God was very angry at this, and took away their wings
and commanded that the lands and fisheries should be
common to all who lived upon them, they were never to be
marked off or divided, but that the people should enjoy the
fruits that God planted in the land, and the animals that
lived upon it, and the fishes in the water. God said that he
was law; that the animals, fish and plants obeyed nature,
and that man only was sinful. This is the old law.
I know all kinds of men. First there were my people God
made them first. Then he made a Frenchman, and then he
made a priest. A long time after that came Boston men,
then King George men. Later came black men and last
God made a Chinaman with a tail. He is of no account and
has to work all the time like a woman. All these are new
people. After a while, when God is ready, he will drive
away all the people except those who have obeyed his laws.
One must admit that Smohalla is somewhat egocentric
when it comes to assigning order of precedence of the var
ious kinds of men who came within the purview of his obser
vations. He seems not to have known of the accredited antiq
uity of the Chinese race. It will be seen at a glance that the
order of procession in which they appeared in the Columbia
valley and came within range of the native observations. It
is historic fact that the French-Canadian voyageurs were the
first whites to enter the Columbia valley, spying out the land
for their great employer, the Hudson Bay Company, which
after deciding to occupy the land, allowed priests to accom
pany the organized expedition.

Assuming that Smohalla did not understand that the French
Canadians were employees of an English corporation and had
never heard of the visits of the English vessels to Puget
Sound, he was right in placing the Boston men in advance of
the English, for Captain Gray entered the mouth of the Co
lumbia in 1794.

In such expoundings of his tenets regarding land and na
ture, chiefly those made to Major Mac Murray and to General
Howard, Smohalla made direct and ocgent application of them
in arguing against going on a reservation. After Moses, the
antagonist of Smohalla in his younger days, had agreed to be
come a reservation Indian and during the weeks of Mac Mur
ray's diplomatic stay a P. Na, Smohalla expressed himself

"Those who cut up the lands or sign papers for lands
will be defrauded of their rights and will be punished by
God's anger. Moses was bad. God did not love him. He
sold his people's houses and the graves of their dead. It
is bad word that comes from Washington. It is not a good
law that would take my people away from me to make them
sin against the laws of God.

"You ask me to plow the ground! Shall I take a knife
and tear my mother's bosom? Then when I die she will
not take me to her bosom to rest.

"You ask me to dig for stone! Shall I dig under skin for
her bones? Then when I die I cannot enter into her body
to be born again.

"You ask me to cut grass and make hay and sell it, and
be rich like white men! But how dare I cut off my mother's

"It is a bad law, and my people cannot obey it. I want
my people to stay with me here. All the dead men will
come to life again. Their spirits will come to their bodies
again. We must wait here in the homes of our fathers and
be ready to meet them in the bosom of our mother."

In this instance Smohalla's argument was consistent with
his religion. It needs no imagination and no reasoning to un
derstand how such tenets as these principles and theories
which strummed the heart strings of ages of mankindand
hundreds of races in primitive times - appealed to the rea
son and to the fancy on the Columbia Indian crowded into a
narrow place and girdled by white settlements.

The ceremonies of the Smohalla ritual seem to have been
conceived with the very same idea for which ritualism seems
to have been designed in the very first instance to create in
tangible and visible form a character typifying an ideal. It
will not be denied that herein lies one of the most powerful
of the magnetic forces which draws men to the modern lodge-
room. It is innate in human nature that the neophyte enjoys
the protrayal of an historical character or a legendary hero
with a keener, more personal interest and with a more in
dividual and spiritual view, than that with which he attends a
play at a theater. To be chosen by his fellows of a lodge to
enact one of these typifying characters during an initiation
invests the lodge member with a different kind of nerve than
that which urges on the professional man of the stage.

Smohalla understood all this. He blended a church and a
lodge. He provided a ceremonial part for every attendant
upon the service. He saw to it that each was in regalia, and
was properly in his proper station. His attempts at creation
may have been crude and his lodge room may not have been
imposing, but they answered their purpose. From Major Mac
Murray's work:

When I awoke the next morning the sound of drums was
again heard, and for days it continued. I do not remember
that there was any intermission, except for a few minutes
at a time. Seven bass drums were used for the purpose.
I was invited to be present, and took great interest in the
ceremonies, which I shall endeavor to describe.

There was a small open space to the north of the larger
house, which was Smohalla's residence and the village
assembly room as well. This space was enclosed by a
whitewashed fence, made of boards which had drifted down
the river. In the middle was a flagstaff, with a rectangular
flag, suggesting a target. In the center of the flag was a
round red patch. The field was yellow, representing grass
which is more of a yellow hue in summer. A green border
indicated the boundary of the world. The hills being moist
and green near the top. At the top of the flag was a small
extension of blue color, with a white star in the center,
Smohalla explained:

"This is my flag, and it represents the world. God told
me to look after my people all are my people. There are
four ways in the world north, south, east and west. I have
been all these ways. This is the center. I live here. The
red spot is my heart everybody can see it. The yellow
grass grows everywhere around this place. The green
mountains are tar away all around the world. There is
only water beyond, salt water. The blue (referring to the
blue cloth strip) is the sky, and the star is the north star.
I never change."

There are frequent services, a sort of processional
around the outside of the fence, the prophet and a small
boy with a bell, entering the enclosure, where, after
hoisting the flag, he deli versa sort of a sermon. Captains,
or class leaders, give instructions to the people, who are
arranged according to stature, the men and women in
different classes, marching in single file to the sound of
drums. There seems to be a regular system of signals, at
command of the prophet, by the boy with the bell, upon
which the people chant loud or low, quick or slow, or
remain silent. These outdoor services occured several
times each day.

Smohalla invited me to participate in what he considered
a grand service within the larger house. The house was
built with a framework of stout logs placed upright in the
ground and roofed over with brush, or with canvas in
rainy weather. The sides consisted of bark and rush
matting. It was about 75 feet long by 25 feet wide.

Singing and drumming had been going on for sometime
when I arrived. The air resounded with the voices of hun
dreds of Indians, male and female, and with the banging
of drums. Within, the room was dimly lighted. Smoke
curled from a fire on the floor at the farther end and pre-
vaded the atmosphere. The ceiling was hung with hundreds
of salmon, split and drying in the smoke.

The scene was a strange one. On either side of the room
was a row of twelve women standing erect with arms
crossed and hands extended with finger tips at the shoul
ders. They kept time to the drums and their voices by
balancing on the balls of their feet and tapping with their
heels on the floor, while they chanted with varing pitch
and time. The excitment and persistent repetition wore
them out, and I heard that others than Smohalla had seen
visions in their trances, but I saw none who would admit
it or explain anything of it. I fancied they feared their own
action, and that real death might come to them in this
simulated death.

Those on the right hand were dressed in garments of a
red color, with an attempt at uniformity. Those on the left
wore costumes of white buckskin, said to be very ancient
ceremonial costumes, with red and blue trimmings. All
wore large round silver plates or such other glittering
ornaments which they possessed. A canvas covered the
floor and on it knelt the men and boys in lines of seven.
Each seven as a rule had shirts of the same color. Chil
dren and ancient hags filled any spare space. In front on a
mattress knelt Smohalla, his left hand covering his heart.
On his right was the boy bellringer in similar posture.
Smohalla wore a white array which he was pleased to call
a priests gown. But it was simply awhite cloth shirt with
a colored stripe down the back.

May one see a suggestion of the acolyte in that boy attend
ant? Was that an attempt to imitate a processional? Does the
"excitement" and its attendant physical exertion parallel
"having the power" often seen at the old fashioned camp
meeting of some sects?

But speculation as to the meaning of all that ceremony is
idle to the Anglo-Saxon mind. To the eye the spectacle is
mere balderdash, which can give nothing of any esoteric
meaning, if such meaning at all the ceremony had. It is
impossible to note that the ceremony described by Major Mac
Murray had any direct connection by way of interpreting, the
story of the Smohalla cosmogony, as related by the same
officer. There is apparently no connection whatever between
the Smohalla scheme of the creation, the symbolism of the
Smohalla flag and the Smohalla "grand ceremonial service."
Yet that crude trinity, uninterpretable in the Anglo-Saxon
mind except as a trio of absurdities merely, possessed a
powerful influence over their votaries.

It is not to the purpose of these pages to set forth the
results of the investigations of Major Mac Murray and others
by which they established a direct connection between the so-
called "ghost dances" of the Indian tribes and the sullen
opposition encountered by the federal government to the plan
of reservation. It is sufficient to note that the ghost dance and
the Indian outbreak went hand in hand. The mysterious bond
between them has not been discovered. The actuating throb
comes from some point back in the distant past, and there
are some things which for an Indian to tell to a white con
cerning his own race is what passes for sacrilege. The In
dian may talk about it or around it, but they protect it.
Doubtless, traditions of the Indian past are interwoven in
their beliefs and their theories. The fantastic vagaries of
nature, everywhere discernible in the country of the Col
umbia, furnished endless food for Indian rumination, as it
has done for scientific examination. Modern scientific inves
tigation has never given a categorical account of the manner
in which the Cplumbia river thrust itself through the Cascade
range; but Indian mysticism and legend tell exactly how it was
done. One illustration of this facility of adjustment of natural
fact to prehistoric cataclyism, is related by Major Mac
Murray in connection with the explanation of the cosmos by
Kotaiquan, son of the old Yakima chief, Kamaiahkin.
Referring to the time, ages ago, when the inhabitants of
the earth were not living in brotherly peace, Kotaiquan said:
"There was quarreling among the people, and the earth-
mother was angry. The mountains that overhung the river at
the Cascades were thrown down and damned the stream and
destroyed the forests and the whole tribes, and buried them
under the rocks." The army officer's comment follows:

The Cascade Range, where it crosses the Columbia
river, exhibits enormous crossections of lava, and at its
base are petrified trunks of trees, which have been
covered and hidden from view except where the wash of
the mighty stream has exposed them.

Indians have told me of their own knowledge that, buried
deep, under these outpours of basalt or volcanic tufa, are
bones of animals of "the Siah," or long ago.

Traditions of the great landslide at the Cascades are
many, but vary little in form. According to one account,
the mountains tops fell together and formed a kind of arch,
under which the water flowed until the overhanging rocks
fell into the stream and made a gorge. As the rock is
columnar basalt, very friable and easily disintegrated,
that was not impossible; and the landscape suggests some
such giant avalanche, the submerged trees are plainly
visible in this locality.

The foregoing glimpses of Smohalla, his methods and
his teachings have been included here, not with the purpose
of presenting a study of the principles of the cult, but with
a view to pointing out briefly the attractions which it pre
sented to the Indian mind in spite of its queer irregu
larities and nonsequiturs. It also serves to illustrate that
the Indian mind at least that of one Indian grew in
thought and works as he grew in years. Starting with the
simple message of an Indian "Redeemer," Smohalla was
so unimportant in personality as to have attracted no
attention as an individual. The nearest reference to any
such a personality made in the records of 1858 was that
of George Gibbs, the geologist and ethnologist of the
exploring party of Governor Stevens, and Mr. Gibbs
allusion is impersonal and only by the most liberal in
terpretation can be construed as a reference to Smohalla.

At the present time there are few Indians in the Pacific
Northwest who follow the teachings and practices of Smo
halla. The nearest approach to a survival of the cult is to
be found among the so called Shakers of Mud Bay an arm
of Puget Sound. Kataiaquan at one time held together a
congregation of several hundred in his meeting house at
Union Gay in the Yakima valley, but Smohalla himself was
the essence of Smohallism, and with the going down of his
sun his cult paled away. He snatched a bit from mysti
cism, took something from tradition's story of his world,
adapted scenes and forms from his contemporaries of
another race, interwove something of his own charla-
nism and thus created a drama which was exceedingly
attractive to the Indians of his day and generation. Today
its conception seems farcial; in its period it was realism.

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