Red Wind Over Nisqually
Written by Cecilia Svinth Carpenter
Nisqually Elder, Historian, and Author
Today it’s a red wind that blows over Nisqually land, the home of the Red Man . The wind is called La-liad. It blows over the land of the Nisqually Indian people bringing the gentle rains in its path and spreading sunshine over the prairies, meadows, and showering blessings on the people who continue to live here. And like magic, the blue camas blooms, the berries ripen, the cedar trees grow taller, and the eagle spreads its wings to soar aloft on the early morning breeze.
In the "old days" the Squally-absch depended wholly on the warm wet climate of the Nisqually River Basin to nurture and ripen the foods of the earth, to feed the deer in the woodlands, to attract the salmon to the streams, and to entice the shellfish to bed down on the sandy beaches.
La-liad, the spirit of the wind, was but one of the many spirits left by the Creator to care for his people on the Nisqually prairies. It is said that when the Indian children would hear the sharp rhythmical sound of the wind at night as it played over their cedar-plank homes, they knew it was La-liad, the wind spirit who hovered there. When the trees danced to the musical breezes, it was La-liad. La-liad was honored, respected and at times, feared. For the Nisquallies knew a strong wind could uproot even the sturdiest fir or cedar tree. They knew that soft breezes could suddenly turn into swift cold torrents of air, a warning to them to go inside, that Wha-quoddie, the storm king, was on his way.
Some Nisquallies accepted La-liad as their tamanous, their personal guide through life. Old Luke, a Nisqually shaman, was one of those, who once questioned as to his powers, called upon La-liad to send a strong wind to prove his powers. A wind blew so fiercely that it blew boards off of the roof of the home in which the group was sitting. Old Luke then proceeded to hold a conversation with his guide through the opening in the roof while his doubting friends looked on speechless. Needless to say, Old Luke’s powers were never doubted again.
La-liad has not deserted the Nisqually people for today the breezes continue to blow over Nisqually land to shower the people with sunshine and rain. May the spirits of the ancients, such as Old Luke and those of his time, continue to share the land of the Nisqually. May the Casino which shall bear the name of Red Wind prosper and enrich the community in which it shall serve.
(Main theme taken from James Wichersham’s Nisqually Mythology)