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Clackamas Chinook Performance Art

Verse Form Interpretations

Victoria Howard

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: University of Nebraska Press
Published: 03/2021
Pages: 282
Subject: Social Science
eBook ISBN: 9781496225276


Published through the Recovering Languages and Literacies of the Americas initiative, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon FoundationVictoria Howard was born around 1865, a little more than ten years after the founding of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde in western Oregon. Howard?s maternal grandmother, Wagayuhlen Quiaquaty, was a successful and valued Clackamas shaman at Grand Ronde, and her maternal grandfather, Quiaquaty, was an elite Molalla chief. In the summer of 1929 the linguist Melville Jacobs, student of Franz Boas, requested to record Clackamas Chinook oral traditions with Howard, which she enthusiastically agreed to do. The result is an intricate and lively corpus of linguistic and ethnographic material, as well as rich performances of Clackamas literary heritage, as dictated by Howard and meticulously transcribed by Jacobs in his field notebooks. Ethnographical descriptions attest to the traditional lifestyle and environment in which Howard grew up, while fine details of cultural and historical events reveal the great consideration and devotion with which she recalled her past and that of her people.Catharine Mason has edited twenty-five of Howard's spoken-word performances into verse form entextualizations, along with the annotations provided by Jacobs in his publications of Howard's corpus in the late 1950s. Mason pairs performances with biographical, family, and historical content that reflects Howard?s ancestry, personal and social life, education, and worldview. Mason's study reveals strong evidence of how the artist contemplated and internalized the complex meanings and everyday lessons of her literary heritage.


Catharine Mason is an associate professor of ethnographic linguistics and English studies at Universit? de Caen Normandie, Caen, France.


"An important and delightful contribution to the study of Native American ethnopoetics and verbal art. In Mason's careful ethnopoetic renderings of the narratives of raconteur Victoria Howard?we hear her voice, as never before, as she tells the personal and cultural stories that compose this wonderful corpus of the Molalla-Clackamas narratives that emerged from her collaboration with Jacobs."?Paul V. Kroskrity, coeditor of The Legacy of Dell Hymes: Ethnopoetics, Narrative Inequality, and Voice

"The Clackamas Chinook narratives by Victoria Howard (1865-1930) evoke tribal traditions, values, and human experiences of the tribes of the Western Oregon Grande Ronde. More than sixty years following the publication of Melville Jacob's original publication, Catharine Mason's selection from Howard's Clackamas corpus, presents for republication a remarkable selection of well-crafted texts taken from an almost forgotten vocal performance artist accessible to both scholars and Chinookan descendants and members of the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde. This new and updated collection will provide a source of reading enjoyment as well as a significant contribution to American Northwest Coast oral traditions and literatures."?Gus Palmer Jr., editor of When Dream Bear Sings: Native Literatures of the Southern Plains

"Drawing on developments in ethnolinguistics, ethnopoetics, and narratology, Catharine Mason offers a beautifully presented, and fully annotated edition and verse translation of a selection of the works of Victoria Howard, one of the great North American storytellers. Mason's respectful handling of these performances gives full recognition to the necessity for reading/hearing them in consultation with the communities whose ancestors were their creators."?John Leavitt, author of Linguistic Relativities: Language Diversity and Modern Thought