Thursday, March 30, 2006

Man Without Blood

Man Without Blood at the MAC.
Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture is hosting an exhibit dedicated to the great explorer David Thompson and his visit to the Plateau Salish people. One item of the exhibit features a painting of a Spokane chief by the name of Tum-sen-a-ho; 'Man Without Blood.'

I once showed this picture to my ya-ya Norma and asked her about the name. She is one of the last fluent speakers of the Spokane language. As best as I could tell, the true name should have been pronounced 'tam-sn-whul,' but she disagreed. If his name means 'Man Without Blood,' then it should be pronounced 'tap-sn-whul.' I was grateful to the lesson in language and our cultural history.

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