The Upper Cowlitz River area around Packwood and Randle was home of the Taitnapam. The most famous on them was Mary Kiona. Mary was an expert basket maker, and it is estimated that she lived to be 115 years old. Other Indians living in the area were Jim and Annie Yoke, Bat Kiona, and the Satanus family. The Indians of the upper Cowlitz were of a peaceful nature and many of the adopted the ways of the white man.
The Native American Exhibit includes information on the foods they ate and how they acquired them, along with photos and information on their way of life.
The First Residents of the Area
The local Natives were somewhat of a nomadic people (wintering down river near Nesika, and summering toward the mountains at Packwood) they had never settled on claims. Many later claimed homesteads right alongside the whites, and some claimed two smaller homesteads to cover their summer nd winter areas.
They were called the Tai’t na-pam tribe, sometimes the Upper Cowlitz. They are related to both the Cowlitz Tribe and the tribes of the Yakima Nation. They spoke the Sahaptin language of the Yakamas, but likely were bilingual and could speak both Sahaptin and Salish, the language of the Cowlitz. Some, such as Mary Yoke, were Yakama Indian. Mary Suterlick, the youngest wife of Indian Henry, was very likely a Meshal or Nisqually Indian.
It was nearly impossible to understand or translate Indian names, so R.T. Siler assigned them each an English name. Even then the names evolved. Yowok became Yoke, Ki-way-ah became Kiona and Tumwater became Satanas. When Indian Henry was first asked his name, the pioneers heard So to-lick, which also evolved into Suterlick. Most of the original native names are lost in antiquity.
Mary Kiona, niece of Jim Yoke, and arguably the most famous of all the Tai’t na-pam Indians, lived in the Randle area until her death in 1970. She still has some blood relation living near Randle, but unfortunately there are no native families remaining in this area.
Thomas Santanas Family
In 1900, Thomas Satanas received a patent to a 139 acre homestead. This homestead was located near the Cowlitz Falls. His family were members of the Tai’t na-pam or Upper Cowlitz Tribe. The Thomas Satanas family consisted of wife, Lucy; daughters Ida (1891) and Talis (1893); son, Harvey (1895) and an unnamed daughter (1898). In the 1887 census, the family name was registered as Tumwater. That was changed to Santanas by the time of the 1900 census. Tumwater Mountain is located due south of Cowlitz Falls. Tumwater means “waterfall” in chinook Jargon.
The brothers, William & Jim Yoke, were fishing in Skate Creek when they spotted strangers coming down the trail. Ghosts with beards! Alarmed, they ran as fast as they could back to their camp and their mother. The men were James Longmire and Billy Packwood. The boys’ mother was familiar with “Boston men” or “Men with hair on their faces”. Thus “Yok-che-not” and No-wak-ish” (or Willian and Jim Yoke) were introduced to white men.
Little is known of William Yoke but he did homestead 80 acres south of Uden Road in Glenoma and another 80 acres near Nesika. He and his wife, Lucy (Wuill-i-nute), were the parents of the famous basket maker, Mary Kiona.
Location: Room 5 & 6
Very Important to the area.
Age: Some of the items are 200 years old.