|Native American Stories and Songs||
Linda Yamane / Rumsian Ohlone from Monterey, California
Linda Yamane is a Rumsian Ohlone native, a tribe that was impacted by the Mission San Carlos near Carmel in California. The tribe was scattered and their history nearly lost and today they have no land base or federal recognition. There is very little historical information on them but they lived along the coast and were hunters, fishers and gatherers.
When we met Linda, she was wearing an amazing collection of abalone shells around her neck that rattled and added to her music. Abilone, she explains, were not only a food but the shells were used as knives, digging tools, for ceremonial purposes, and also as adornment.
Linda has spent many years painstakingly tracing the history of her people and resurrecting the music from old wax cylinders that were recorded as early as 1902 and other archival material. Reconstructing this ancient music has become a life challenge for Linda, and she has begun to bring the songs back out into the public and teach them to others. Ironically, it is the missions that are considered responsible for both the extreme loss of culture, and the fact that there are records and old cylinders, which make it possible to retrace and resurrect the history and music.
Throughout the recording session, she uses a wide variety of rattles including one made out of moth cocoons and a small instrument called a "clapper." Although so much of the history has been lost, Linda has managed to identify many songs as gambling, dance or ceremonial or "charm" songs that would protect the people from misfortune.
Linda lives in a pretty little house in Monterey, California surrounded by the elements of her study and her crafts. She also makes traditional baskets and has put much energy into tracing the basketmaking history of her people. Her baskets are woven from willow and a fiber called sedge. They are beautiful and intricate.
Currently, there are at least 500 Ohlone people in California. At the end of the session, Linda jokingly tells us the story of a presentation she did where she sang a song called "Only Ohlone" to the tune of "Only the lonely." She sings the song for us before we go.
Listen to a sample of the show here.