Arthur Ballard records and translates the Snoqualmie Tribe's legend of origin of the Humpback Salmon beginning in 1916.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 8/02/2000
  • Essay 2589

Beginning in 1916, Anthropologist Arthur C. Ballard (1876-1962) records and translates the Snoqualmie tribe's legend regarding the origin of the Humpback Salmon. Ballard interviews Snuqualmie Charlie (sia'txted) (ca. 1850-?) who relates the following:

If Hado, the humpback salmon, is angry as he comes up the river, he brings a sickness, smallpox or something, upon the people.

Hado at his first coming was somewhat afraid of the Indians. He did not wish to meet with ridicule from anyone. In coming up the river he did not wish anyone to catch him and throw him on the bank carelessly. He wanted to be dried and kept for food.

Hado came up the river singing, "I do not want the young people to make sport of me." Coming up he sang, "The Snuqualmi young people are going to laugh at me, coming up the river. They laugh at me because I have a hump back, coming up the river."

Hado came up the river to die. He likes that, lying along the bank. His soul always goes back home. He goes down-river, saying, "Good-bye," to the people of Snuqualmi.

"It will be another year before I come up the river again," he says.


Arthur C. Ballard, "Mythology of Puget Sound," University of Washington Publications in Anthropology, Vol. 3, No. 2 (December 1929), pp. 134-135.

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