When the mountains and stars and rocks were living things on earth, long before people and animals, a tale from the Klallam Tribe takes place. In this story, mountains can marry and travel at will, and nearly everything had powers beyond our comprehension. This is a creation story for the land, and is pretty awesome to know.
Dosewallips was a mountain near the Hood Canal who had two wives. It seemed like his two wives were always fighting. After one really large fight, a wife known as Takkobad crossed the Puget Sound to the present day Skokomish River. While she was there, she dropped a piece of salmon into the water, and the Klallam legend claims that this is why there is salmon in the river today.
Continuing south, Takkobad stopped in what is now Olympia and scattered the wildflowers she was carrying. This caused the large prairie sections of the Mima regions and spread throughout the lowland. As the day was ending, Takkobad did one last deed that would forever change the landscape of the region. She grabbed a handful of fire and threw it at the head of the other wife. The fire connected and burnt all the trees off the top of the mountain, leaving her bald, as it is today. The Mountain was Mount Rainier. After throwing fire at the other wife, Takkobad returned to her husband and became what is now Mount Constance.
In another telling of the tale, part of Hood Canal was carved from Takkobad scratching at her husband for taking the other wife’s side in a disagreement. The other tale also says that the other wife had a son, and that Takkobad turned the other wife and her son into stone, forming Mount Rainier (known as Mount Tahoma) and Little Tahoma.
Next time you are standing on the top of a summit, overlooking the Hood Canal, take a look around the region with new perspective. Expanding out over the horizon, envision the story playing out over the land below you. What we once viewed as geographical upheaval now becomes more human, and we can connect further with the land around us.
To understand the culture and history of any idea is needed, and that is why we are sharing these stories as we find them. We want everyone to connect with the people, the land and the history of the Olympic Peninsula.