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Inventory of the Roberts Photograph Collection, ca. 1915-1933
HUMCO E78 C15 R62  
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Materials

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Roberts Photograph Collection,
    Date (inclusive): ca. 1915-1933
    Collection number: HUMCO E78 C15 R62
    Creator: Roberts, Ruth K.

    Pilling, Arnold R.
    Extent: 536 photographic prints and descriptive catalog
    Repository: Humboldt State University Library.
    Arcata, CA 95521
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Transferred to the Humboldt State University Library in 1969 by Dr. Arnold R. Pilling, Professor of Anthropology at Wayne State University.


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has been assigned to the Humboldt State University Library. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Special Collections Librarian. Copyright restrictions also apply to digitial representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Roberts Photograph Collection, Humboldt State University Library

    Scope and Content

    The Roberts Photograph Collection documents life on the Yurok Indian Reservation along the lower Klamath River in northwestern California, primarily during the period of 1915 to 1933. It is the private collection of Mrs. Ruth Kellet Roberts, containing 536 photographs, many of them taken by Mrs. Roberts herself as an amateur photographer. They include photographs of her many friends in the Yurok Indian community and their daily activities and ceremonies, early photographs of the town of Requa, of the Pecwan-Johnsons area, and various landscape features of the surrounding area.
    Mrs. Ruth Roberts lived in Requa, at the mouth of the Klamath River, during the fishing season, roughly May through September, each year from 1915 to 1933. She lived in Piedmont (near Oakland) the rest of the year. Her husband, Harry C. Roberts, worked as the accountant for the Klamath River Packers Association, which operated a fish cannery in the estuary near the mouth of the Klamath River. Requa and the cannery site are near the old Yurok village of Rek'woy on the Yurok Reservation, along the north shore of the river. Mrs. Roberts became friends with a number of Yurok families in the area and took an active interest in their lives and customs. For many years she served as a liaison between the Yurok community and the San Francisco Bay area, making arrangements for young Yurok women to work for families in Oakland and Piedmont. She became a champion of local Indian causes for the rest of her life. After 1933, when the cannery closed, she no longer lived in Requa. She returned to the area in 1955 when she moved to Crescent City, and became curator of the Del Norte County Historical Society Museum and the McNulty Pioneer Home where she lived until she died on November 15, 1967.
    Anthropologist Dr. Arnold R. Pilling of Wayne State University met Mrs. Roberts in the late summer of 1967 when he came to the area with his family to study the Yurok legal system under a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. They became friends and she introduced him to elders of the Yurok community. With her introductions, he began a long and productive study of Yurok history and culture that continued until his death in 1994.
    After Mrs. Roberts' death, her son Harry Roberts gave the photograph collection to Arnold Pilling. Both men recognized the historical and ethnographic value of the collection and wanted to preserve and make it available to the public. Dr. Pilling carefully compiled a handwritten list of the photographs along with the location where each one was taken, the subject of the photograph if known, a detailed physical description of the prints and negatives, including size, paper, markings, etc., and any comments written on the back. He also made cross references to a second set of the photographs which Harry Roberts kept for his own use, as he had access to both sets in compiling his notes. References to this other set of prints appear in the index in notations that refer to earlier existing prints; location of this set of prints is not known.
    The collection is divided into six series: RB, RC, RL, RM, RS, and RX. Although in some cases it is not entirely clear what the rationale for these divisions might be, they reflect Mrs. Roberts' organization of the collection. Note that in some cases photographs from the same roll of film ended up in different series. The series are generally organized around subject matter. The RM series includes, in square brackets, notes by Jerry Wylie of Six Rivers National Forest on locations in the Red Mountain vicinity; they are part of Dr. Pilling's notes and are included here verbatim.
    Dr. Pilling donated a set of negatives and copy prints of the photographs along with a photocopy of his index to the Humboldt State University Library in 1969. Another set of the copy prints and his original manuscript notes are located in the unprocessed Arnold R. Pilling Collection at Wayne State University Archives, Detroit, Michigan.
    This version of the finding aid was edited and produced by Jean Perry, a linguist who was a friend and colleague of Dr. Pilling from 1985 until his death in 1994. This work included editing for consistency and completeness and the regularization of some spellings, except for cases where notations on the back of the photographs are quoted. The physical descriptions are included only when they relate to the dating of the photographs and their relationships to each other (eg. which photographs might be from the same roll of film).
    Jean Perry

    May, 1999

    Related Materials

    Palmquist, Peter E. / The Roberts Collection of California Indian Photographs: A Brief Review

    Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology

    Vol. 5, Nos. 1 and 2, pp. 3-32 (1983)
    Some of our most interesting collections of native American photographs are virtually unknown outside the region of their origin. The collection of photographs taken by Mrs. Ruth K. Roberts and now in the Humboldt Room, Library, Humboldt State University, Arcata, California, is an example. The collection consists of 536 images and contains a large number of original negatives of the northern California coast from Crescent City southward to the mouth of the Klamath River. These, together with copy negatives of original photographs collected by Mrs. Roberts, form a remarkable document of Indian life in the region from about World War I into the 1950s.
    Twenty-nine photographs from the collection are shown here. The captions are based on notes originally written by Mrs. Roberts, many of which were made at the close of her life when she suffered greatly from failing eyesight, and include additions by her son, Harry, "whose memory of events some fifty years before was not necessarily very good." Dr. Pilling has continued to investigate the accuracy of these notes and has clarified some (Arnold Pilling, personal communication 1983). All captions are quoted from Pilling (1969).
    The unifying trait which separates this collection from similar ones rests with Mrs. Roberts herself; she photographed her special friends, an extended family of northcoast Indians. The images are personal and, for the most part, wonderfully natural. They avoid the stilted and graceless artificiality so often observed in native American photographs made by photographers less intimately involved with their subjects.
    Mrs. Roberts was an amateur photographer. She used simple roll-film cameras in at least four different formats over the years that she visited the region. Many of her photographs are out-of-focus or poorly exposed. Yet, despite her lack of camera expertise, she also made images of lasting beauty. Mostly they are remarkable documents of people, places, and events which meant so much to her. Her images of the lower Klamath River are particularly important records of the veritable twilight of traditional native life. Her photographs include individuals and families who were primarily of Yurok ancestry.
    Dr. Arnold Pilling, Department of Anthropology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, deserves all credit for recognizing the unique nature of Mrs. Roberts' photographs. In the fall of 1967, he took a short sabbatical leave and traveled to Crescent City where he met Mrs. Roberts. Together, they visited Hoopa to observe the Jump Dance which was the finale of the 1967 ceremonial season, and to see Dewey George, one of the great Yurok dancers. When they returned, Mrs. Roberts became critically ill; it was her final season among the people she had come to love and cherish.
    The Roberts collection was given to Dr. Pilling by Harry Roberts, the only heir and child of Ruth Roberts. This transfer was in recognition of Dr. Pilling's special interest in the material, and there were no stipulations connected with the gift. It was Dr. Pilling's decision to give the Roberts photograph collection to Humboldt State University, although he still retains the original copies of manuscript material and some original photographs from negatives for which only copy negatives are known.
    Struggling to preserve Mrs. Roberts' special knowledge, Dr. Pilling immediately worked to assemble her notes and photographs into the collection now known as the "Roberts" collection. He also eulogized her in an article in the Del Norte County Historical Society Bulletin. Mrs. Roberts was past president of the historical society and past curator of both the McNulty Pioneer Home and the society's museum. Dr. Pilling's article clearly reveals his great respect for her:
    Long before I met Mrs. Roberts, nearly twenty years [ago], I knew her, not her name. I had even referred to her in lectures on cultural change. Those who were familiar with the details of Yurok culture history in the first half of the 20th century knew that there had been a society lady from Piedmont [California], who had for years arranged for young Yurok women to work in Piedmont homes. There, these "girls" could learn of the world outside, beyond the land of lumbering and salmon-fishing, which since the 1860's had been the life of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, the homeland of the Yurok. That legend was Mrs. Roberts. Shortly after 1915, she began her one-woman battle for California Indians' rights, using as one her approaches this exposure of Yurok young ladies to the wealthy homes of the East Bay of the San Francisco area. In 1927, she also worked for the law to guarantee California Indians the right to vote [Pilling 1979:4].
    That first conversation with Mrs. Roberts was awesome. I left feeling as though I had gone for a shower and found myself beneath Niagara Falls. Her command of Yurok and their trouble-cases spanned in detail the era from 1915 through 1933, when she had spent the late spring through fall of each year at the mouth of the Klamath River, where her husband was chief bookkeeper for a major commercial salmon cannery. She knew less well the era from 1933 to 1955; for in those years she had not lived on the Klamath River among the Yurok, but she had opened her Piedmont home to them, [and] thereby, kept in touch with her Indian friends. Since 1955, she had lived as resident curator of each of the three museums maintained in Crescent City by the Del Norte County Historical Society, as well as having supervised the reconstruction of its fourth installation, the restored Yurok family house at Requa, at the mouth of the Klamath [Pilling 1979:3].
    When Mrs. Roberts and I talked, [the] familiar names from the past came forth, names that had first made the Department of Anthropology at Berkeley famous. She seemed to have known nearly everyone associated with anthropology at Berkeley in the early era; she referred to 'Dr. Kroeber, Mr. Gifford, Dr. Barrett, and T.T. Waterman.' She spoke with reverence of Robert Spott, Kroeber's chief informant. She talked of Alice Spott--Robert's sister and Mrs. Roberts' closest friend, and of George Flounder--the last medicine man of the Capel fish rite. By 1967, they were all gone. Yet they were not. For me, entering Yurok field work during the fall of 1967, they still lived--in stories, in photography. The culture they had known among the Yurok was still vivid in Mrs. Roberts' memory; her snapshots from the late teens and early 1920s showed a way-of-life which has now disappeared [Pilling 1979:4].
    During the assembly of the Roberts collection, Dr. Pilling made a careful and thorough assessment of any, and all, notes associated with the material. Dr. Pilling has long been a champion of photographs as documents and his interest dates from about 1935 when he began collecting photographic postcards. (Pilling 1974). His avid interest in collecting Indian photos began in 1949. A xerox copy of his notes, together with additional supportive materials, is available with the Roberts collection at Humboldt State University (Dr. Arnold R. Pilling, compiler, Pilling Catalogue and Miscellaneous Materials Relating to the Roberts Collection).
    "Requa: Indian Woman Paddling a 'Double-ender'" (RS-28). The image is of Alice Spott (Taylor) paddling a pre-World War I ocean-going canoe. Such a canoe was also used for travelling on the Klamath River. The paddle which Alice is using is a "wide paddle," which was used to paddle, rather than pole, a canoe on the river.
    "Wilson Creek Beach: A Partly Worked Canoe, Drifted in as a Log" (RB-6).
    "Requa: Yurok Indian Woman" (RM-33).
    "Pecwan: Jump Dance Leader" (RB-10). The man pictured is Waukel Harry. He is holding "white eagle" feathers, actually the feathers of the Gyr Falcon, from the Arctic.
    "Pecwan: Dance Outside the Dance House" (RB-25). This is the first part of the Jump Dance; this dancing is not for the public, but a sort of prayer dance before the dancers dance in the pit, in public. Yurok and Hupa women do not look at this part of the dance. The Roberts photos are the only known [photographs] of this most sacred part of the Jump Dance.
    Dancers entering, single file, the dance pit at the 1926 Pecwan Jump Dance. Note one of the "dance masters," i.e., regalia custodians, adjusting the feathers of a dancer before the dancer enters the pit (RL-41).
    "Pecwan: Jump Dance, Probably in 1926. Dancing in Pit" (RB-40).
    "Johnsons: A Street Scene" (RM-17). This is the view, about 1926 of the main corner in Johnsons, the road descending towards the right goes down onto the river bar. Note the clothes hanging from a grave in the right center of the image.
    "Johnsons: A Street Scene" (RM-16). [Pilling notes that this label is incorrect]. The old trail in the foreground is that between Oregos, or Tucker's Rock, and Rekwoi. The buildings are, from left to right: the Spott House; behind the bushes and barely visible, the Spott family house; the Spott wagon house; the Brook's house, the "Great House" of Rekwoi, which still survived, now much modified; behind the Brook's House is the old Spott cemetery; and the Brook's old barn.
    "Johnsons: One of the Sweathouses" (RB-46)
    "Johnsons: The Yurok Cemetery with 'White Man' Dwelling at Rear" (RL-71). Note clothes hanging from a rod over one of the graves.
    "Requa(?): Harry Roberts and Indian Woman Holding a Good Fish Catch" (RS-53). Photograph of Alice Spott (Taylor) and young Harry Roberts about 1917. Note that Alice Spott, who had made "medicine for the strong" has her hair done in the top knot of a warrior, as is appropriate for a woman who was a fisherman, only "medicine trained" female being able to fish. The notch at the left of the image is that marking the canyon of Blue Creek; the bluffs are to the left. The foreground is the "lower Knapp Place" on the Klamath River bar. The Spott family had fishing rights from the rocks at the river bank on the opposite shore. Alice Spott brought her fishing net with her when she travelled. When this photograph was taken about 1917, the "old law" was still in effect and she would not use another's fishing spot.
    "Requa: Yurok Grandmother in 'Double-ender' Canoe" (RB-59). Susie Crutchfield, probably with her son, the late Ed Crutchfield, at the stern.
    "Howinquit: Surf Fish Drying, in Smith River Pattern" (RS-59). Tolowa territory.
    "Klamath River: Double-ender, Loaded, on River" (RS-31). [Pilling notes caption incorrect.] The canoe is an "old-fashioned" one. Note baby basket on woman's back, also the "fancy" basketry cap being worn.
    "Requa: Ter' -per Rock on the North Shore of Klamath River" (RL-64).
    "In the Redwoods, the 'Redwood Highway'" (RL-62).
    "Johnsons: Nora John, Sister of Lucy Thompson" (RM-76). Nora John is the biological mother of Bertha and Allen Thompson; Lucy Thompson was their step-mother, as well as their mother's sister. James Thompson first was married to Nora, and was then abandoned by her when she married a full-blooded male. Jim kept the children and next wed Nora's childless sister.
    "Indian Woman and Tame Deer" (RL-15). The image is of Alice Spott (Taylor) and her pet deer.
    "Johnsons: The Stone-ended Sweathouse with Puppy on It" (RS-74).
    "Wilson's Creek: The Site of Omen from Southwest Looking Across 'Plywood Mill Creek'" (RB-56).
    "Klamath River: Mrs. Ruth Roberts by Main Entrance to Sweathouse" (RS-50). Photograph taken in the early 1920s. Note the elkhorn wedge marks on the board above the entrance.
    "Pecwan: Group of Indian Children at Jump Dance; or, Requa: Group of Indian Children, Probably at Safford Island Indian Day" (RL-12).
    "Requa: Group of Children in Front of Brook's House" (RL-51). The baskets are, left to right, acorn holding basket, hopper mortar basket, acorn flour sifter.
    "Johnsons: Stick Game in 1926" (RB-44).
    "Requa: Brush Dance" (RM-35).
    "Requa: Mary Ann Frank, Standing Before Brook's House" (RL-54).
    "Requa: Captain Jack Beating a Gambling Drum" (RL-13). Taken adjacent to a building owned by the Gensaws, at Requa.
    (RL-48) [ See caption for RL-13; reproduced in Wallace (1978: Fig.8)].

    Pilling, Arnold R. / Mrs. Ruth K. Roberts: In Memory

    Del Norte County Historical Society Bulletin

    January 15, 1979, pp.3-5
    In the fall of 1967, I took a one-term sabbatical leave from Wayne State University to collect what I could of Yurok trouble-cases in order to understand how the legal patterns of this hunting and gathering group had changed from their pre-European Contact form to the present day. In my attempt to find the community where Yurok law could best be studied, my family and I stopped at Crescent City, north of the traditional Yurok territory by about ten miles, but long a center of urbanized Yurok.
    The kind hostess of our motel by the second day informed us that I should talk to Mrs. Roberts, as she knew about local Indians.
    That first conversation with Mrs. Roberts was awesome. I left feeling as though I had gone for a shower and found myself beneath Niagara Falls. Her command of Yurok and their trouble-cases spanned in detail the era from 1915 through 1933, when she had spent the late spring through fall of each year at the mouth of the Klamath River, where her husband was chief bookkeeper for a major commercial salmon cannery. She knew less well the era from 1933 to 1955; for in those years she had not lived on the Klamath River among the Yurok, but she had opened her Piedmont home to them and, thereby, kept in touch with her Indian friends. Since 1955, she had lived as resident curator of each of the three museums maintained in Crescent City by the Del Norte County Historical Society, as well as having supervised the reconstruction of its fourth installation, the restored Yurok family house at Requa, at the mouth of the Klamath.
    Reflecting back now on September and October afternoons in 1967, when we talked, Mrs. Roberts and I, at the main Del Norte County Historical Museum, I realize that her body must have been wearing out. Her balance was no longer steady, and her vision was limited. But the spirit, the drive, the desire to help her fellow man, especially her Indian friends, were still so strong that to a new acquaintance she conveyed the impression that the little problems of aging were but the commonplace sort of challenge that were easily met and always passed over - no more than the irritations of the moment.
    When I could convince her to rest herself, to stop even momentarily from working on displays, on the cataloguing of the ever-increasing collection of specimens which rarely lay as long as a week without being totally processed, she sat on the polished oak bench, which was like a great church pew, to the left of the entrance of the museum. It was her Museum - not that she ever referred to it as "hers" - that old County Hall of Records and Jail. She had cajoled and pleaded with officials to turn it over to the Historical Society when it became otherwise unwanted surplus. Here in the Indian Room she met the tourist who paused momentarily to look more deeply at Crescent city, than at the beautiful coastline and the towering redwoods nearby. Here, too, she told the tale of the Del Norte County history to nearly every class of school children in the county. Her talk to each class started the same:
    The first White Man to enter Del Norte county was Jedediah Smith...But long before Smith came, the Indians owned this country....
    For in some fashion, the real way, the true way of life in Del Norte County was the old Yurok and Tolowa way: of salmon roasting on sticks on the beach; of poling up "The River" (the Klamath River) in the old smooth-bottomed, flat ended Yurok dugouts; of the walks over the gravel bars on The River to lighten the load when the boat had to be towed upriver through the riffles; of the great old First Salmon Rite at Requa.
    Long before I met Mrs. Roberts, nearly twenty years [ago], I knew her, not her name. I had even referred to her in lectures on cultural change. Those who were familiar with the details of Yurok culture history in the first half of the 20th century knew that there had been a society lady from Piedmont, who had for years arranged for young Yurok women to work in Piedmont homes. There, these "girls" could learn of the world outside, beyond the land of lumbering and salmon-fishing, which since the 1860's had been the life of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, the homeland of the Yurok. That legend was Mrs. Roberts. Shortly after 1915, she began her one-woman battle for California Indian rights, using as one her approaches this exposure of Yurok young ladies to the wealthy homes of the East Bay of the San Francisco area. In 1927, she also worked for the law to guarantee California Indians the right to vote.
    When Mrs. Roberts and I talked, a [flood of] familiar names from the past came forth, names that had first made the Department of Anthropology at Berkeley famous. She seemed to have known nearly everyone associated with anthropology at Berkeley in the early era; she referred to "Dr. Kroeber, Mr. Gifford, Dr. Barrett, and (T.T.) Waterman." She spoke with reverence of Robert Spott, Kroeber's chief informant. She talked of Alice Spott - Robert's sister and Mrs. Roberts' closest friend, and of George Flounder - the last medicine man of the Capel fish rite. By 1967, they were all gone. Yet they were not. For me, entering Yurok field work during the fall of 1967, they still lived - in stories, in photography. The culture they had known among the Yurok was still vivid in Mrs. Roberts' memory; her snapshots from the late teens and early 1920s showed a way-of-life which has now disappeared.
    Mrs. Roberts made it obvious. It was essential that my wife and I had to go to Hoopa to see the white Deerskin Dance. We went twice. A few weeks later, Mrs. Roberts intimated we had to see the Jump Dance; we must not miss that. We knew that the Yurok did not perform it any more on the Klamath, but some Yurok participated at Hoopa. We went one week-end and saw it.
    Then I sensed some way, Mrs. Roberts would like to see the Jump Dance; there was only one last week end - the finale of the 1967 ceremonial season. I called Mrs. Roberts: "Would you and Teresa (her housekeeper, one of the Indian "girls" of years ago in Piedmont) come up to Hoopa with us?"
    The answer was rapid. "Nothing could mean more. Of course. I have gone up the river when I was so sick, I was sure I would die. But I wouldn't miss it - no matter what!"
    I think we both knew it was her last Jump Dance. I might add it was probably her first in over forty years since a Yurok one about 1927 which she had attended with Alice Spott. One of the greatest dancers danced. His heart was bad; he was never supposed to dance again. She had not seen him dance since he was about 25, when Mrs. Roberts and her husband were very close to him. He danced and it was a great dance, the last dance, when the old Hupa and Yurok cry in memory of all the great dancers and singers who are now dead, but once performed so magnificently.
    There were only a few days left after we returned from the Jump Dance. I did not feel this, but Mrs. Roberts must have known. There was a rush about the way she felt she should be showing me the many things which she had not previously. She artfully arranged her time so she could introduce us to the best surviving Yurok informants, to show us each of the old village sites.
    She was too weak to go to the Tolowa Indian Cultural Society meeting jointly with the Smith River Women's Club. The next day she was hospitalized. Indian friends came in streams, the Tolowa from Smith River; the Yurok from Crescent city, from Starwen, from Elk Valley, and from Martin's Ferry; even a Chetco friend. Mrs. Roberts was the gracious hostess; she would not be critically ill.
    Mrs. Roberts will be sorely missed in Del Norte County. The Historical Museum cannot readily find her replacement. Her genteel, but persuasive, approach is no more easily duplicated than her broad command of local history, both European and Indian. A memorial fund has been established in the Historical Society, to be used for the purchase of rare Indian heirlooms. The Indian Room is now the Ruth K. Roberts Indian Room.
    To her Indian friends, there can, of course, be no equal. Each elderly Yurok seemed, most personally, to speak of her in the same way: "She was my friend." One lady said of a project which Mrs. Roberts did not finish, the only one of her attempts at the preservation of Indian history which she left incomplete: "But who will do it now?"
    Like the great departed singers and dancers of the Yurok and Hupa ceremonies, each was unique. Each had his own style. The old Yurok cry in memory of a great performer.

    By A.R. Pilling

    Detroit, Michigan

    January 1968

    Roberts, Ruth Kellet / Conservation as Formerly Practiced by the Indians in the Klamath River Region

    California Fish and Game

    Sacramento, October, 1932

    Volume 18, No. 4, pp. 283-290
    The Indians subsisted on the resources which nature provided. Where natural resources were bountiful, the population was most numerous. Streams and areas that abounded in food supplies became, naturally, the permanent abodes of the Indian.
    The lower Klamath River region supplied all the necessities of food, shelter, clothing, and materials for utensils, which their mode of life required. Through its entire length the Klamath River drainage area was supplied with foods in great abundance and variety. The waters of the river teemed with fish and the neighboring forests abounded in deer and other game. A rich supply of acorns was furnished by the oaks; and grass seeds, pine nuts, and berries were easily obtained. The Indian name for the river itself is said to have meant "abundance," and it naturally followed that this locality supported many thriving Indian settlements. The density of the pre-white population of this region was noted and commented upon in the early investigations of Stephen Powers, 1 and in the later studies of A.L. Kroeber. 2
    During the acorn gathering season, the population migrated to areas where the oak trees were most numerous and frequently established camps there. Similar excursions were made for the purpose of gathering grass seeds, pine nuts, sea weed, berries, and other necessities.
    Regard for property rights among them was very mich higher than it is among some of our more civilized people. They were not obliged, upon their return to their established homes, to make an inventory of the depredations committed upon their property during their absence.
    An exchange of products among the Klamath River Indians amounted to a commerce which provided all groups with such supplies as they were in need of. Sea weed and other ocean foods were exchanged by the Indians living near the mouth of the river for such necessities as were more plentiful along the upper stretches of the stream.
    The Indians, of necessity, avoided diminution of any natural resources upon which their life depended. Public opinion and community law disapproved of any waste. Trees were felled only for construction of canoes and houses, and dry brush and sticks were used for firewood. Seasonal burning over of certain areas was related to their mode of farming, as it served to produce grass seeds for food, and hazel twigs and grass for basket weaving. This was done every two years. It also protected their game by destroying the underbrush shelters of predatory animals. Systematic burning did much to rid the immediate neighborhood of rattlesnakes, mountain lion and bear, and to check the increase of insect life.
    To destroy wild life for any other reason than to meet his need of food would have been as ridiculous a procedure to the Indian as if we entered our own gardens or went among our own herds and destroyed for the sheer enjoyment of our prowess as destroyers.
    This "happy hunting ground" of the Indian showed no depletion of its remarkable resources of fish and game until after the advent of the whites.
    In contrast to the white man's idea of sportsmanship, the Indian killed only what he needed for food, and he wasted no edible parts of the game taken by him. Even the entrails of animals were dried for winter food for the dogs. Any one who caught more fish or killed more game than he and his family could use shared it with others who were less fortunate. To the Indian, hunting was not a sport; it was a means of obtaining his food supply, and the killing of wild life was limited to his necessity for sustenance. To destroy this supply meant nothing short of self-destruction.
    The white pioneers of this region killed off great herds of elk and deer for their hides and left the carcasses to be devoured by the buzzards. The modern "sportsman" catches steelhead and salmon for the "sport," and in many cases takes a quantity far greater than he has nay use for and leaves them on the shore to rot. Prowess as a killer of wild life is still mistaken by many as an indication of superior sportsmanship. This notion is very largely an inheritance from early days in the West, when wild life was plentiful and when boastful satisfaction was proportionate to the killer's skill in destroying it.
    A Yurok legend tells that woman held the hidden knowledge of the source of food supply and guarded this secret jealously. In this respect Indian tradition agrees closely with the belief that prevailed generally among other races at the dawn of history.
    The origin of the most important food supplies, such as salmon and acorns, is accounted for by legend. According to the Indians, the Klamath River at one time emptied at the site of the old Indian village of "Omen," at the mouth of Wilson Creek, four or five miles north of the present outlet, but no fish entered there and the Indians were hungry. The Creator, seeing their plight, shifted the river mouth to it's present location and brought "Oregos" (a tall rock shaped like a woman) from "Omen" to "Rekwoi," the Yurok village at the present mouth, and placed this rock for "luck," and as guardian of the river. Still there were not fish/ and so "Oregos," at the suggestion of an Indian boy who had been prompted in a dream, went across the ocean by canoe to another land, and brought back a charmed fishing rock. This was divided by "Oregos" into two sister rocks, with identical names. One was placed at the base of "Oregos" on the north side of the river, and the other near the foot of the hills on the opposite side of the stream, marking the limits within which the river at various times shifts its outlet. After the placing of these rocks, fish came into the stream, and the annual runs have continued ever since.
    The food supply was regarded as the gift of the Creator, and the taking of fish was a solemn and prayerful undertaking, governed by very strict formulae. The first salmon to enter the Klamath in the spring was permitted, with elaborate ceremony, to pass up the river, as the Indians believed this fish acted as a leader for the run to follow. It was thought that this salmon in its ascent to the spawning grounds left scales on the rocks to indicate the route which the salmon entering later should follow, so that the Indians up river would be assured of a food supply. Other leaders, and then the whole run of salmon, followed, leaving their scales; and by the time they reached the spawning grounds they were battered and exhausted.
    One of the earliest, if not the earliest, observations to be made of the condition of the salmon in the spawning stream, is that recorded in the diary of the overland party of the Wilkes' Exploring Expedition, early in October, 1841. According to this record these explorers purchased two salmon which the Indians had taken from the Shasta River. Their description of the fish is: "The Salmon were of whitish color, and not at all delicate to the taste; their tails were worn off, and the fish otherwise bruised and injured."
    References are made in Indian lore to seasons when there was a limited run of fish. One tale, antedating the coming of the white man, tells of a war between the Tolowa Indians of Smith River and the Karok Indians of the Klamath, brought on as a result of the fact that the fish, in this particular year, had entered the Klamath, but not the Smith River. The Tolowas blamed the Karoks for this calamity. About 1200 warriors from Smith River crossed over by the trail that later became known as the Kelsey trail, and descended upon the village at what is now Happy Camp, burned the houses, killed as many of the inhabitants as they could, took the Karok food supplies and canoes, and started down the river. News of this attack reached the Indians down stream, who closed in upon the marauders in the gorge at Ishipishi Falls, and killed all but three of them.
    Another legend tells of a great famine that spread among the Indians along the entire lower stretches of the Klamath River, when no fish or eels came in. Other food sources had also failed. Even the mussels were blasted, and there were no acorns. In the belief that three sisters who resided at the Yurok village of "Rekwoi" had secret knowledge with which they had prevented the entrance of the fish, the Karoks and Hoopas descended upon the village before the inhabitants were awake, and set fire to the houses. Many Yuroks, both men and women, were killed, and a great war involving the whole region from Smith River to Orleans and Hoopa resulted.
    The food supply sources were not in all cases common property. Many of the acorn producing groves and grass seed and brodea patches were owned by individuals and by family groups. Since salmon was an important part of the food supply of the Indians on the river, individual and family ownership of fishing places developed and was scrupulously respected. A single fishing place was sometimes held in joint ownership by several individuals or families. The women and girls did not fish, but assumed responsibility for smoking and drying the catch. Persons who did not own a fishing place, or who were not allowed dipping privileges, by the owners of such places, were given fish in payment for assistance rendered to those who had such rights.
    Ownership of these fishing places could be transferred by will for care in old age or during illness, and could be sold. Ownership was sometimes staked in gambling and lost, and was sometimes given in advance payment to an Indian doctor. Good doctors became very rich, both in possession of fishing places and in Indian money and flints. Among some Indian groups there was a law against a doctor exacting mortgage on a fishing place, or acquiring a fishing place in advance payment for "doctoring."
    Besides the individual ownership of fishing place, there were community projects, such as at the mouth of the Salmon, in the pools below Ishipishi Falls, and the fish weirs at "Lo-olego" (an Indian village just above Weitchpec, now extinct) and at Kepel. Jedediah S. Smith's party of American trappers recorded the presence of a "fishing establishment" in the vicinity of Weitchpec, in May 1828, which was probably the one at "Lo-olego." 3
    Frequent mention is made throughout Smith's diary of the volume of water observed in all of the streams of this area, which would indicated that in 1828 a very much larger flow existed than at present.
    A fish weir was put in at Kepel in September, and was allowed to remain until carried away by high water, about a month later. The weir consisted of a series of traps extending across the river with space at either end, near the banks, wide enough to allow canoes to pass. This space also permitted the passage of fish. Many fish jumped over the weir, which projected about three feet above the surface of the river, and made their way up stream.
    The several important family who sponsored the construction of the weir had prior dipping rights. They took what fish they wished each morning, and were followed by those who possessed no fishing places or privileges. 4
    At the height of the run, when there was danger of the dam being broken by the crowding of fish against it, the traps were opened after the day's fishing, and the fish allowed to pass through until the next morning. Indians in great numbers from a considerable distance up and down the river gathered here for the annual fishing event and for the merrymaking that accompanied it.
    At the mouth of the Salmon, and in the pools below Ishipishi Falls, quantities of salmon were taken in dip nets. In the fall, Indians came here from great distances to fish. It has been reported that the salmon were so numerous that thirty or forty people at one time were taken in a net, and that several men were required to drag the catch to shore.
    Another instance of the recognition of established community rights with respect to a food source is mentioned by Kroeber. 5 This was in the case of whales that were occasionally washed up along the Humboldt and Del Norte coast. The tribal boundaries determined the group ownership of the whale carcass. Each man took a cut a half fathom wide, and the rich man, a full fathom.
    In describing methods of fishing, Kroeber states: 6
    "The dip net, or lifting net, as it may be called to distinguish it from a smaller instrument on an oval frame occasionally used by the Karok and other tribes to scoop boiling riffles and rapids (Pl.6), was let down from a scaffolding built out over the water, almost invariably at some eddy or backwater. Here the fisherman sat on a block or little stool, holding the bone button of the string which closed the entrance to the pyramidal net stretched out in the current. This net was hung from the bottom of a long A-shaped frame with a bottom crossbar. The whole was hauled out as soon as a pull on the cord had inclosed a salmon, which was then struck on the head with a club. A single night's vigil sometimes produced a hundred salmon, it is stated--a winter's supply, as the Yurok say. At other times a man will sit for half a day without a stir. The old men are much inclined to this pursuit, which would be trying to our restless patience, but gives them opportunity for undisturbed meditation or dreaming or mental idleness along with a sense of profitable occupation. (Pls. 4, 7)
    "Lampreys, customarily known as eels, much prized by the Yurok for their rich greasiness, also ascend the river in great numbers, and sturgeon are not rare. Both species are taken much like the salmon, though of course with a net of different mesh. In the lower river eelpots were also set. Trout in the affluent creeks are too small to be much considered by a people frequently netting 20-pound salmon.
    "Both salmon and lampreys were split for drying--the former with a wooden-handled knife (Pl. 16) of 'whale-colored' flint, as the Yurok called it; the latter with a bone awl. A steel knife probably involves a different and perhaps a more precise handling, so that until a few year ago the old women clung to the aboriginal tools. Most of the fish was somewhat smoked and put away in old baskets as strips or slabs. The pulverized form convenient for packing, known also on the Columbia, was probably more prevalent among interior and less settled tribes like the Shasta. Surf fish were often only sun dried whole and kept hung from poles in rows. They make a palatable food in this condition. Dried salmon is very hard and nearly tasteless, but rather satisfying and, of course, highly nourishing.
    "A long net was sometimes set for sturgeon. One that was measured had a 6-inch mesh, a width of 3 feet, and a length of 85 feet, but in use was doubled to half the length and double the width.
    "A measured salmon seine had a scant 3-inch mesh, a width of 3 1/2 feet, and a length of over 60 feet.
    "Nets were made of a splendid two-ply cordage rolled without tools from fibers of the Iris macrosiphon leaf. The gathering of the leaves and extraction of two fine silky fibers from each by means of an artificial thumb-nail of mussel shell was the work of women. The string was usually twisted and the nets always knotted by men. The mesh spacer and netting shuttles were of elk antler; net weights were grooved, pierced, or naturally perforated stones. (Fig. 7)
    "The salmon harpoon, which could be more frequently used in the aboriginal period than now when mining renders the river opaque, had a slender shaft, sometimes more than 20 feet long. To this were attached two slightly diverging fore-shafts, one a few inches the longer, on which were set the loose barbs of pitched and wrapped bone or horn. The lines were short and fastened to the main shaft, a pay line being unnecessary for prey the size of a salmon. In fact, an untoggled barbed spear would have sufficed but for the opportunity its resistance offers a heavy fish to tear itself free. This harpoon was made with no essential variation in practically all fishable parts of California, and it is the only harpoon known, except for a heavier implement driven by the Yurok and Chumash into sea lions."
    In small streams fish dams were made of green poles with a fill of brush and rocks, but always with one end of the barrier free from the shore, which permitted the passage of fish.
    Trout were caught in a V-shaped set basket which looked like a dip net. Set baskets were also used for trapping eel. These were set in the river and emptied at intervals.
    The Indian fished practically throughout the entire year. No limit to the catch was imposed other than that determined by the needs of the person or family fishing. Fishing rights were determined by ownership (or lack of ownership) of a fishing place, possession of extended fishing privileges, or accessibility to a common fishing place.
    Salmon were permitted to pass up the river for a half moon before any were caught. Most of the spring salmon were allowed to pass, except what was wanted for immediate use. This run was so rich in oil that the fish did not keep when smoked. The summer and fall salmon were preferred for drying. This may have been because they contained less oil and particularly for the reason that by taking the later run the winter food supply need not be carried through the warm summer.
    Open deer season was fixed at a time in the fall when wild celery seeds were ripe. Deer and elk were trapped in pits or snares, or were taken with the aid of dogs. If bucks could be found, does were not killed. Each family killed as many as it could use. All surplus meat was jerked for winter use. Quail and grouse were not taken during the nesting period unless a family was starving. There were not restrictions upon the taking of eels.
    It was an established belief among the Indians of the lower Klamath River region that any person who violated accepted fish and game regulations would "loose his luck" as a hunter or fisherman, or would not live to hunt or fish another season. This belief had a very restraining effect. The conservation of fish and game on the Klamath River, as elsewhere, is very largely a struggle to restrain the white man in his delight in killing.

    Fig. 65. Trolling at the mouth of the Klamath River.

    Fig. 66. Looking up the Klamath River from Requa. Red Mountain in the distance.

    Fig. 67. Eel traps used on the Klamath River.
    1"Tribes of California," Cont. N. Am. Ethnology, vol. III, Washington, 1877, Stephen Powers.
    2Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 78, Handbook of the Indians of California, A.L. Kroeber.
    3Dale, The Ashley-Smith Explorations.
    4Originally the weir was equipped with eight traps, but with the decrease of Indian population the number of traps diminished to four.
    5Kroeber, op. cit., p. 14.
    6Kroeber, op. cit., p. 85-85.

    Roberts, Ruth Kellet / "Rekwoi"

    Part I

    Pacific Sportsman

    March, 1934

    Vol 14, No. 8, pp. 3-4, 31-32
    Seventeen years ago I stood one day with an old Yurok Indian woman in the Indian village of "Rekwoi" at the mouth of the Klamath River. The name Yurok has been incorrectly applied to the branch of the Algonquin Indians living from Weitchpec to Requa. Sa-atch is the Indian's own name for this group. Yurok is the Karok (Orleans Indians) name for this group.
    The glorious stream, the Klamath River, has its source in Klamath Lakes, Southern Oregon, and flows for approximately two hundred miles through a narrow gorge to the Pacific Ocean, and empties at a point in Del Norte county, California, twenty-two miles south of Crescent City, and seventy miles north of Eureka. The Indians themselves called it O-meg-waw, meaning Big River.
    The steep slope where we stood above the river, had once been a populous Indian community. All that now remained was one old family house, several caved-in sweat-houses, an equally caved-in ceremonial house, graves, and scattered pits overgrown with nettles where houses had once stood. Four Indian families, living in weather-beaten frame houses, were all that remained of the numerous inhabitants of the once thriving village.
    We had stood for several minutes without speaking, looking across the tidewater lagoon toward the extinct Indian settlement on the opposite hill slope, the site of which was marked only by graves. Above the graves a conical hill, the "Mount Ararat" of Indian legend, stood guard. Suddenly my companion clutched my hand. Quick tears blinded her dim eyes as she exclaimed: "Too bad white man find this place! He never would, if old woman who lived right there hadn't let fire go out. She made a fog over fire. Hide this place! For long time no one found us! Oh, too bad!"
    Again there was silence. In my heart I too, felt it was "Too bad."
    The first white man to look out across the river and ocean from this same hillside slope was "Big John" Turner of the Jedediah S. Smith overland exploration party.
    The Smith party, the first white "tourists" to invade this now popular fisherman's paradise, descended the Trinity and lower Klamath River canyons in 1828 and encamped on a flat on Hunter Creek, at a point somewhere near the junction of the Redwood Highway and the country road into Requa. This junction is one and one-half miles in from the mouth of the river.
    In Smith's diary he states that during the short encampment of his party here, he saw no Indians. An Indian informant, however, related to me the fact that many Indians were hiding in the bushes near Smith's camp and observed, both day and night, every move made by the explorers.
    "Big John" Turner, a man of enormous stature, was evidently the only member of the Smith party to go to the actual mouth of the Klamath River. Smith's diary does not recount this fact, but the Indians do. They have given me a complete description of Turner and the effect upon the Indians of the sudden appearance of this huge bewhiskered white man, who came alone into the Indian village at "Rekwoi" and stood quietly looking out across the Klamath River mouth and the Pacific Ocean.
    The first impulse of the Indians, I am told, was to kill this intruder. His huge size and calm fearlessness, however, were so disconcerting to the Indians, that they concluded this stranger must have a "medicine" or "power", and that it might not be safe to kill him. And so, the first white tourist, who came "just to look around", "looked", and returned to camp, quite unconscious of his imminent danger.
    The next arrivals at "Rekwoi" came by boat. In 1850 a small bark, the Laura Virginia, anchored just outside the mouth of the Klamath River. This boat was one of several boats outfitted in San Francisco, carrying miners seeking a water route to the Trinity goldfields.
    Maps in use at the time indicated a large navigable stream, identified as the Trinity River, emptying into Trinidad Bay. It was believed that this river was a direct route to the Trinity gold fields.
    The Laura Virginia, failing to find this river at Trinidad Bay, sailed on up the coast, and discovering the Klamath River, concluded it must be the sought for water route. Therefore, some of the miners and their supplies were put on shore at the mouth of the Klamath, where a temporary camp was set up on the north beach.
    The dismayed Indians watched the Laura Virginia sail off up the coast and viewed with apprehension the camp preparations of the miners. The intent of these white trespassers was unknown to the Indians, but after observing the unwelcome immigrants for a time, decided they were not hostile, and so indicated the desired trails in order to rid the community of an undesirable foreign element.
    The Indians called these new people the "Wa-gay", because they had sprung up from nowhere, and were "smart". The "Way-gay", a prehistoric people, were, according to an old Indian legend, the first people to inhabit this region, and "knew everything".
    One inquisitive small boy, "Billie" Brooks, and his sister, bolder then the rest, went down to the camp fires of the miners and were treated to baked potatoes. "God, but they tasted good," Billie, the oldest surviving Indian living at "Rekwoi", said, in recounting the story to me, eighty-one years after the incident had transpired.
    It was these miners from the Laura Virginia who first followed the course of the Klamath River for about one hundred and fifty miles to the Shasta River and made known the fact that the Klamath did not empty into the ocean at the mouth of the Rogue, as all maps up to that time had represented its course, but was a continuation of the stream which was known as the "Klamet" above the Shasta River, and had been frequently visited by trappers and settlers who journeyed between Oregon and the bay region of California.
    For a period of years, miners and a few prospective settlers struggled through the lower Klamath River region, but made no settlement near the mouth of the river. The first and only building erected in the Indian village of "Rekwoi" by a white man was a store built and conducted by a man by the name of Weigle. The building housed the trader's family, a post office, a general merchandise store, a saloon and a community dance hall. Another man named Tucker succeeded the first occupant and the house, and it became known as "Tucker House." The woman-shaped rock at the river mouth became known as "Tucker Rock."
    Several years ago an enterprising young Indian, Hathaway Stevens, acquired the property on which the old house stood, razed it and established himself and family in a modern bungalow. He "put in garden," leveled off a parking place for automobiles and prepared to harvest his share of profit from the ever-increasing tourist crop.
    The town of Requa, the Mecca for salmon trollers from July until November, snuggling on the hillside about a mile in from the ocean, had a saloon as a nucleus of settlement, and from all reports outrivaled the frontier towns of the movies in local color. The name Requa is the white man's attempt at the use of the unfamiliar Indian name "Rekwoi", which in Indian means "river mouth."
    Requa flourished as a prosperous center of business activity and boasted several saloons, two dance halls, two general merchandise stores, a post office, livery stable, cannery and shake mill, until a few years ago when most of the business activity, the fights and the dust of the tourist moved three miles out to the new town of Klamath, near the Douglas Memorial Bridge on the Redwood Highway. The old town of Requa, clinging to the hillside, with its comfortable inn, church, quaint cabins and cottages surrounded by gorgeously hued dahlias and sweet peas, seems more like a fishing hamlet in Europe than a California town.
    Fishing has always been the consuming occupation of this community from the days of the unmolested aborigines who fished with every manner of net, spear, bone hook and trap, to the familiar commercial net fisherman, and the tourist sportsman with troll and casting rod.
    Commercial fishing was introduced on the Klamath River by Mr. A. Bomhoff in 1887, who by agreement with the soldiers in charge of Indian affairs for this district, built a salmon cannery at the present site of the Klamath River Packers Association plant, with the understanding that only Indians were to be employed as fisherman and for unskilled labor. It was because of this agreement that the Indians and the Hoopa Indian agent permitted the cannery to be built on Indian land. Some of the Indians who started work in the cannery in 1887 were in 1933 employed there, and opening day each season found them knife in hand in their accustomed places ready for work. Commercial fishing was made illegal by action of the State Legislature of 1933 and the law became effective January 1st, 1934.
    The commercial cannery during its six weeks of operation was the center of community activity. Indian families came down from "up river" in dugout-canoes, skiffs, and motor boats and established themselves for the fishing season in the cannery cabins near the plant. With their arrival, the sleeping hillside slope became alive with babies, dogs, white washings and men busy at their net racks putting their nets in order.
    Young and old Indians of both sexes fished and worked in the cannery. Gossiping old women, too old to work, took care of the babies and busied themselves gathering and smoking salmon heads and tails salvaged from the cannery for winter food.
    In the evening, Indians, local whites, and tourists gathered at the cannery platform or perched on points of vantage above the river, from which good view could be had, and watched the fishermen "lay out."
    At the signal whistle from the cannery the fishing boats pulled out from both shores of the lagoon, the gill-nets stretching out behind with the "corks" bobbing on the surface as the boats raced toward the center of the stream. It was a thrilling sight.
    Gill-net fishing on the Klamath River in recent years was legally confined to the two mile stretch between the mouth and Douglas Memorial Bridge, and was done only at night, six nights a week, over an actual period of about six weeks.
    At the end of the commercial season, September 6th, the Indians had a grand finale in the way of a "brush dance", a "white man's dance", and a general holiday from all restraint. They "settled up", bought their winter food supplies and clothing, and returned to their homes up the river. Here they harvested their beans, potatoes and corn, gathered acorns, went hunting, and dried salmon. To the tourist salmon means sport fishing, to the Indian his staff of life.
    Gill-net fishing was a game of chance. The salmon enter the river only during the daytime. If the fish come in on a morning tide, they are apt to move on up the river without delay. They may, however, go out again to return on the next incoming tide, or may move about or lay in pockets in the lagoon.
    The net fisherman might or might not have been lucky enough to "lay out" in the place where the salmon happened to be, or, as is often the case, the salmon either did not come in or else went straight up the river. One boat might be "skunked" and another came in with five hundred pounds or more of salmon.
    The sportsman's chance at the salmon is by casting from the shore, anchoring in the channel at the mouth of the river on an incoming or outgoing tide so that the current works the spinners, or trolling about in the lagoon. This past season "snagging", by throwing a line with a series of hooks attached, into the channel and drawing it quickly to shore was resorted to when the temperamental salmon refused to take the spinner. This can scarcely be called good sportsmanship. The anchoring method is the most popular, but there is better sport in casting from the shore or trolling in the lagoon, as this affords better opportunity for playing the fish. Anglers casting into the channel at the mouth of the Klamath are quite outspoken in their belief that this method of fishing for salmon is the most sportsmanlike, and look with utter contempt upon the fellow sitting in boats anchored in the channel, with either the outgoing or the incoming tide turning their spinners. Both groups rail loudly at the "sportsmen" cruising about the shallow tidewater-lagoon frightening the fish with the noisy "kickers" on their boats.
    Where Dreams Come True


    Klamath River

    American's premier trout stream, with fighting fish anxious for combat.

    Yurok Indian girl wearing ancient tribal costume. Courtesy of Jones Studio, Crescent City, Calif.

    The author with a 47-pound Chinook salmon caught in the Klamath.

    Yurok Indian child in "trunk basket."

    Looking at Klamath River from mouth.

    A Yurok Indian wearing Brush Dance headdress.
    The author, Ruth Kellett Roberts, a graduate of Mills College, Oakland, has spent seventeen summers at Requa, Del Norte County, California; has camped and fished with an Indian woman guide along the Klamath River, and in the back country of both the Klamath and Trinity River regions. She is thoroughly informed concerning the life and habits of the Indians of this area, as well as being an expert angler.
    An article by Mrs. Roberts, "Conservation as Formerly Practiced by the Indians in the Klamath River Region," appeared in the California Fish and Game Magazine for October, 1932.

    Part II

    Pacific Sportsman

    April, 1934

    Vol 14, No. 9, pp. 2, 5, 25, 29, 31, 32
    Indian boat pullers are always available for trollers, and it is much safer for an inexperienced boatman or one unfamiliar with the currents of the river to employ a native boat puller than to venture forth alone. During the trolling season it often occurs that some boat in "suicide row" (the boats anchored in the mouth nearest the breakers) is carried out by the current and overturned. The Indians have made some very spectacular rescues of these tourists.
    Besides the one commercial fish cannery, which is now closed, several small Salmon canneries operate at Requa as a convenience to anglers who are thus enabled to have their catch canned, labeled with their own name and date of catching, and the cans either shipped or taken home as souvenirs.
    The lower Klamath River region was thrown open to homesteaders in 1892 and white men wedged their way into the fishing industry, first as partners to Indian fishermen, and later, as regular fishermen. The entry of the whites as independent competitors was not accomplished, however, without battles on the river between Indians and whites. The management of the canning company at Requa always gave preference to Indians both as fisherman and as cannery workers.
    The site of the present cannery is just below the old Indian village called Temeri, which was occupied by several families, including Annie Hodge, Kitty Gensaw, and the late Captain Jack, who until his death several year ago, was a familiar figure about town. He is said to have been a scout for General Grant.
    Another distinctive personage in pioneer history in this region was Captain Spott, who was head man of "Rekwoi." His acquisition of the title of Captain came about in an interesting way. The Indians observed that there was a "head man" on the boat that brought freight to and from the cannery, and that he was called Captain Scott. The Indians explained that they too had a "head man," a captain and thinking that the name Captain Scott was the English word used to designate the leader, tried to call their "head man" Captain Scott, but their actual pronunciation was Spott. His son, Robert Spott, who was intrusted with the lore and legends of his people by the old captain, was recently called to the University of California as an informant in the Department of Anthropology by Dr. A. L. Kroeber. Robert Spott is a most unique figure and stands out as an aristocrat in the culture of his own race, yet taking his place with perfect poise in the white man's civilization.
    Commercial fishing until recent years occupied the local stage on the lower Klamath River and sport fishing for Salmon and Steelhead Trout had not been thought of. Dr. J. O. Snyder of Stanford University and Chief of the Bureau of Fish Culture for the State Fish and Game Commission, who in 1919 started his biological survey of the Salmon and Trout run on the Klamath River, was the first to attempt casting for Salmon. He was convinced that there was every reason to expect results, but inasmuch as no one had previously attempted it, allowed himself to be laughed out of continuing the experiment. To the late George Field, then manager of the Klamath River Packers Association, is conceded the honor, in 1920, of taking the first Salmon with a spinner.
    For years the lower Klamath River was so muddied by suspended silt from hydraulic mining on the upper Klamath, Trinity and other tributaries of the Klamath, that casting and trolling for Steelhead and Salmon were practically impossible. Because of a cessation of this type of mining the river has cleared, and this fact, coupled with the construction of the Redwood Highway which crosses the Klamath near its mouth, has brought thousands of tourists and sportsmen to this region, particularly in the last four years, for trolling for Salmon in the lagoon at the mouth of the river. Fly fishing for Steelhead is done on the riffles further up the river, although a few are taken at the mouth with spinners while casting and trolling for Salmon. Some fishermen have better success in taking Steelhead on the riffles with a spinner. The spoon type of spinner is the only one that is successfully used for taking Salmon or Steelhead on this stream. Salmon do not take any food after entering fresh water and therefore the use or inclusion of bait in any form in the angler's equipment only impairs the effectiveness of the lure.
    Two different species of Salmon are native to the Klamath River, the Chinook, also known as King and Tyee, and the Silverside or Cohoe. The Chinook, the largest of the five species of Salmon caught on the Pacific Coast enter the river in the early Spring and continue into November. This is larger than the Silverside run. Salmon and Steelhead are most plentiful during the months of August, September and October, and it is during this time that the disciples of Isaac Walton are in their glory.
    The Chinook enter the river to spawn at from two to six years of age. The greater part of the run, however are four year old fish. The two year old fish entering are practically all males, fully developed, and they go on up the river to spawn and die as do the older Salmon. Chinook Salmon caught by the tourists run from four to fifty pounds in weight, the average being around fifteen pounds.
    Silverside Salmon start running the first of September and continue to enter the river until January. These fish spawn at two to three years of age, and are a much smaller fish than the Chinook. The average Silverside weighs between eight and ten pounds.
    Both the Chinook and the Silverside Salmon are considered game fish, and put up a furious fight when hooked.
    The Steelhead, the famous sport fish in the Pacific Coast streams, a sea run trout, is also native to the Klamath River and can be found throughout the entire year. There are, however, two large Steelhead runs. One, called the summer run, starts in August and continues until spring. Steelhead caught by the tourists average from one to ten pounds. Occasionally a larger one is taken and net fishermen have in past years caught Steelhead weighing over thirty pounds.
    It is claimed that Salmon taken at Requa are very much finer in color and flavor than those taken further up the Klamath River. As already stated, Salmon do not eat after entering the stream to spawn and, as the eggs develop, the intestinal tract becomes almost entirely absorbed. Salmon deteriorate very rapidly as they ascend to the spawning grounds, where, their life cycle completed, they spawn and die in the stream in which they were born. The Steelhead on the contrary, remain in good condition and spawn and return to the sea, to return again and again to spawn.
    Fish and game regulation and enforcement of laws designed for conservation of natural resources have not been as effective in this region as the old Indian customs and law enforcement. The Indian took fish and game for food only and never for the sport of killing. He never took more than could be used and no edible parts were wasted. Even the entrails were dried for winter food for dogs. No Indian of the old civilization was other than reverent in the taking of a food supply and in careful observation of all the laws governing it, as laid down by the "Creator."
    The "Creator," according to Indian legend, designed the topography of this country, making many changes in it, as indicated by shell deposits on mountain tops, and other nautral [sic] phenomena, and working on it until "it looked nice to Him." Then "He" made the fish and observed them as they came into the river from the ocean; next "He" devised all the ways of fishing, by net, spear and traps; made the laws governing the taking of fish; and fixed the time of seasonal entrance into the river for the various kinds of fish. After the "Creator" worked out all the habits of the fish, devised all the methods of catching them, and made the laws governing the taking of all fish and game, "He" taught these laws to the Indians. Violation of any of these laws, it was believed, would be followed by "loss of luck" or death within a year.
    The entrance to the Klamath River is marked by two sister rocks. The one standing on the north shore looks like a woman with a burden on her back. The other is a large biscuit-shaped rock at the base of the opposite slope on the south side of the flood plain. At their bases the "Creator" placed fishing rocks with identical names, Ah-lee-erk, as guides to the entering fish. These rocks mark the extremes of the shift of the river in its course at the mouth. Two sand-spits stretch between the lagoon and the ocean, and the river mouth cuts through at changing points. The sand-spits, the Indians believe, are really the legs of the sisters, and the shift of the mouth is caused by the drawing up of one or the other pairs of legs, thus changing the length of the sand-spits between the lagoon and the ocean.
    Sometimes in the fall of the year when the river is low the legs meet, thus closing the mouth. In the old days when this occurred, an Indian virgin about ten years of age, dressed in a beautiful buckskin costume, trimmed with shells, "trotted" across the sand bar and the river broke through and allowed the fish to enter.
    The impatient white man, not understanding the "laws of the Creator" (nature), seeks by artificial means to open the mouth. The Indian regards this effort as an affront to the "Creator." "For," an Indian friend remarked, "He is not dead, but living and working all the time. It is against the laws of creation to tamper with the river or with the country. The Creator worked a long time to make this a beautiful and a good country to live in and only He should change it."
    An Indian informant pointed out the rocks and told me their names; showed me where the sea lion was born; the "Creator's" couch in the rock where "He" rested; the flat rock where the dancer for the Jump Dance dressed before crossing to the other side of the river to continue the dance; the praying rock, A-Chwee-gee, where the Indians prayed before starting up the river for a "doctor"; the places where women must not pass; and where one must not eat; where the sea-birds nested; and told me how to pray to Oregos, if one were drowning so that she would bring a big wave to carry one to shore or a wave to keep enemy boats from landing. I learned to respect the laws of these places and to observe the age old taboos. Once in my early picnicking days I ate lunch on the wrong beach and the whole community was deluged in rain as a result. Old Indian women kindly reproved me for having brought on the rain which drenched their snow-white washings hung everywhere on the neighboring hillsides.
    The Indians are disturbed over many liberties that are now taken with nature; over the noisy motor-boats which they declare, scare the fish; and over the ever increasing intruders who swarm over and defile the sacred places.
    There is a name and a legend for every spot in this river region and many evidences of "The Creator's" presence here. It is a pity that some organization does not mark with their respective and appropriate Indian names some of the places rich in Indian lore while it is still possible to learn from the living Indians the names.
    Perhaps it is too much to hope that glaring advertisements of merchandise may be removed from fine old rocks that they now deface.
    I wondered how the Spanish name "Pacheco" found its way into this region into which Spanish settlers had not penetrated, in the name given to a rock inside the month [sic] of the river, called "Terper" by the Indians, and gleaned this explanation: Years ago a Spaniard, by the name Pacheco, seeking his way to the coast from the Trinity gold fields, became lost, and was befriended at Weitchpec by an Indian by the name of Weitchpec Frank. His wife, Mary Ann, had just finished baking some acorn bread on hot rocks on the sand bar, when her husband brought in the unexpected white guest. She was quite properly annoyed and upbraided her thoughtless spouse for inviting the white man to a meal she though he couldn't possibly eat. But he did, and remained, as a member of the family.
    The next time Weitchpec Frank went to "Rekwoi" to visit his brother Captain Spott, he told him of the white man Pacheco. Captain Spott was quick to recognize the possible usefulness this man could be to him as a scribe. So Witchpec [sic] Frank brought him down to Captain Spott and until the time of Pacheco's death he lived in the Indian village of "Rekwoi," as a retainer of the old Captain, in a cabin on the river bank just opposite Pacheco Rock. The irony of the situation was that when the Captain wished a letter written to Washington protesting the encroachment of the whites upon his land, he discovered to his consternation that Pacheco could neither read nor write.
    There is a charm about this quiet place that is indiscribably [sic] subtle, and a thing quite apart from the lure of sport fishing. True, there are hot dog stands on the sand spit; floating lunch counter "arks"; auto camps; improvised sport attire, fishing and camping equipment; evidences of both the crudity and refinements of the white man's vices; pretty, well dressed Indian flappers and well groomed youthful Indian Lotharios; but there is also a pure Indian culture here of a remnant of Algonquin Indians, who represent all that is left of the highest aboriginal civilization in California.
    When the end of summer comes, I make a pilgrimage to Oregos, where I stood years ago with my good friend Mary Ann. I look out across the quiet lagoon with the pelicans and seagulls circling above, the fresh sea air in my face, and I know that I shall always return. For, did I not that first year eat eels and drink river water?