The Strange History and Legend of the Moran Moor
Extract Fourteen. Generations
Two Moons gave birth to a beautiful baby girl just before the first day of autumn. Her daughter was perfect in every way, a bonnie child with her mother’s large oval shaped hazel eyes and her father’s mop of jet black curly hair. The birthing lodge was filled with all of Čəse’lqeel’č’ closest and dearest friends gathered from all the nearby longhouses for celebrate such a fortuitous occasion. Two moons father, the local chieftain never thought to enquire the sire of this precious bundle, happy in his heart that his beloved daughter had produced a new generation. By family tradition the child was named Łixwlqeel’č’ or Three Moons, the infants grandmother but so recently passed having been named Nəth’əlqeel’č or One Moon.
Plans were set in motion for a trip to the sacred islands, an occasion when proper thanks could be paid to the great spirit for this precious gift, and of course in Two Moons mind an opportunity to introduce the bundle of joy to her father whom as yet was totally unaware of even her conception. Much preparation was needed for such a ceremony, invitations being sent to all the many long longhouses, chieftains and worthies of the loose confederation that made up the Samish peoples, known in their own tongue as the lsʔémǝšl.
At the time of Three Moons birth the Samish people probably numbered around two thousand souls. Within but a few years their numbers would dwindle dramatically through the combined effects of epidemics of measles, smallpox and ague courtesy of the ever-encroaching white devils and repetitive raids from the northern tribes of the Haida and Tsimshian in search of slaves. By eighteen fifty-five the total tribal population was little more than one hundred and fifty, being included for all intense and purposes as part and parcel of the Lummi peoples as designated by the treaty of Point Elliot signed by Chief Chow-its-hoot in that year.
Not having sufficient numbers to warrant a reservation of their own the Samish were instructed to adjoin the reservations of either the Lummi or the Swinomish, effectively a decree of self-inflicted suicide for their independence as a people. Bravely many Samish refused such a sentence of cultural extinction, instead returning to their native homes and living outside the restrictions of the Department of Indian Affairs control and interference.
In nineteen twenty-six a constitution was finally drafted for the Salish Tribe and in nineteen seventy-one the peoples received compensation for the land stolen cruelly by the United States government through the enforcement of the Point Elliot Treaty.
How these historic factors play into the developing story of Julien, Čəse’lqeel’č’, Łixwlqeel’č’ and their later generations we shall now investigate.