“For much of his life, Howie has assembled the lore and language of his native people, supplementing his own copious writings (more than a million words) with tape recordings and his own drawings of the personalities he knew in the tribe, and depictions of the serene coastal village where they lived, La Push. He is a terrific artist, and for years he has been an art instructor in Seattle.
Some of Howie’s written documentation has involved the language of the Quileute, which has many complex sounds, such as one that requires putting the tongue up against the back of the teeth and blowing, like trying to say “L” in English. Anthropologists say the Quileute language is thousands of years old, going back farther than any native tongue in the Pacific Northwest. It was in that remarkable mode of communication that stories and lessons were passed on orally for thousands of years, an unwritten tradition going from tribal member to tribal member – a practice that is fading away with the passage of time.
Now, with the Quileute nation assimilating into western culture, and the traditional ways of cKulell’s people vanishing (including their language), Howie feels an urgency to tell the story of his people, so that it will not be lost to the young men and women of his tribe.
Here is a portion of that immense chronicle, written by an elder who knows his subject well…” ~From the Introduction.