American guide. Cowlitz tribe. Mary Kiona.


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The mural is located on the side of a market in Packwood, WA. The woman depicted is Mary Kinoa of the Cowlitz Tribe. She lived to be 107 years old. I became interested in her life after seeing the mural. History is all around us. Rather than succumbing to the foolishness of online propaganda that permeates Facebook and other sites. I encourage you to seek out the rich and interesting history that surrounds you at every turn.

The excerpt is from a local news paper from 1962.

Excerpt-Mary Kiona, a resident of Lewis County for more than 100 years, recalled her early years. She was born at Silver Brook, near Randle, before Lincoln became the 18th President of the United States. She said she was a descendant from the Cowlitz and Yakima tribes.

“Mary remembers when the Cowlitz and Yakima tribes used to meet at Packwood and trade goods,” The Daily Chronicle wrote. “She says an uncle of hers was the first man to discover the hot springs at Ohanapecosh.

“This woman, who seems ageless, can also recall the times she has lain upon a hill and watched covered wagons move through the Chehalis Valley.

“Mention of the Cowlitz river reminds Mary of the year of the big flood — in the late 1800s. ‘The big water came,’ she said, ‘and swept everything away. A neighbor found his bull in a tree the next day, still alive and bellowing at the tops of his lungs.’

“Mary, who is regarded as something of a soothsayer by her family, obtains advance warning on ‘big water’ from an animal at Randle that is part squirrel and part fish. ‘I heard it speak and I knew a flood was coming.’ …

“Mary doesn’t resent the white man. She just wishes he had settled in fewer numbers and not tampered with nature.

“Mary has another conviction about the Cowlitz dams. She doesn’t think they’re going to last. She believes sooner or later that another ‘big water’ will thunder out of the hills and roll over the dams. She feels sorry for the people who live below them.”

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