language



   (km)

Water Potato Day

The Coeur d'Alene Language term for the month of October, (km), tells us that "darkness approaches". At this late time in the year of seasonal gathering, Coeur d'Alene families returned to the lake to take the last foods, the water potatoes or (rb). We learn from anecdotes collected in 1904 that the root diggers used at this time, the (jeh), were probably of the wide and curved kind, for digging in the soft mud of the marshy areas around the lake. The (jeh)were made of the wood from service trees, syringa, or haw. Points were hardened by charring in the fire, and elk antlers were attached for handles. Woven bags for carrying the (rb) only came into fashion after woven baskets had gone out of use.
Margaret Stensgar told us that the water potatoes were dug at Chatkolet (   (ln)), Hayden Lake, and near Harrison. Irene Lowley remembers her (rb) digging for (rb) near her cabin on Benewah Lake. She also remembers that it was not, in her family, an activity that her grandma wanted the younger children doing, because of the difficulty and potential danger of the soft mud, cold, and icy water.
Today school children, their families, caregivers, teachers, and guests are gladly invited to take part of the activities at Hawley's Landing, organized by the Coeur d'Alene Tribe's Department of Natural Resources. Tribal employees and their invited friends share in the opportunity to appreciate the knowledge, practices, and homeland of the tribe's ancestors, while engaging in the bracing fun of gathering food from the store that Nature granted the Coeur d'Alene People.
How do I say "We will celebrate Water Potato Day" in snchitsu'umshtsn (Coeur d'Alene Language)? Listen now: (rb)

Coeur d'Alene Tribe HQ | p. 208.686.1800 | 850 A street, Plummer ID 83851