Kudos to Heidi Walters for her article ("In Karuk," Oct. 27) highlighting the Albers family and their desire to teach their children Karuk. Kudos, too, to the Albers family and all the other Karuk and Yurok families trying to keep their languages alive. Languages are such an amazing part of our existence on earth. Communication is a great thing, and being able to say something to a child in the language of their great-great grandparents is a beautiful thing. Tey-wu-mehl-kok! ( I am glad)!
Simone Watts, McKinleyville
Heidi Walters has long been a gifted writer and she captures Auntie Vi perfectly. We knew Violet Super well when she was our neighbor along Salmon River.
The Indian speech always rolled out of her mouth triumphantly. I once asked her the name of the place where her cabin was after she'd moved to Orleans.
"All these places had Indian names," she said. "You know why town of Orleans is such a big flat valley when everything else is so steep. Because Coyote went up into Oregon to get these beads they call money, Indians, they call it money. They use it for money. So went up and when he got back, he was so happy to get back to Ip-sith-komen--Ip-sipt-kom is land; he was kicking all over making a big flat. Uva-Shu-Sha-Neen. They call this ranch Ivshishaneen. That's Coyote talk. We say If-thif-thanay and Coyote say ii-shiv-shaneen."
"So Coyote has a language that's a little bit different?"
"Coyote was always doing something," she announced with evident pride. "Always making trouble. He always got away, though." Always getting away might be a value especially prized by someone who's made it for 85 years.
Like all of our neighbors, we miss her and are grateful for your article.
Malcolm Terence, Somes Bar