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Agnes Vanderburg’s Salish Indian School on the Folklife Today Podcast

Episode eight of the Folklife Today Podcast is ready for listening! Find it at this page on the Library’s website, or on iTunes, or with your usual podcatcher.

 

Agnes Vanderburg sits on a log next to a pit from which smoke is rising. A large woodpile is behind her, and the forest and mountains visible in the background.

Agnes Vanderburg sits beside the outdoor oven she used for roasting camas root at her camp near Arlee, Montana, in 1979. This photo was taken by Michael Crummett. The archival scan was adjusted as to color, brightness, contrast, and other qualities for the purposes of online presentation.  See the original in its online home at this link.

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Agnes Vanderburg tastes roasted camas bulb at her camp near Arlee, Montana, in 1979. The photo is by Carl Fleischhauer.  The archival scan was adjusted as to color, brightness, contrast, and other qualities for the purposes of online presentation. See the original in its online home at this link.

In this episode. John Fenn and I discuss the work of Agnes Vanderburg, a Salish elder from Montana who began an outdoor school to teach traditional Native American ways, including Salish language, food preparation, crafting with porcupine quills, making tipis, and traditional medicine.  Our interviewees in this episode were:

We also play and discuss some of Kay Young’s interviews from 1979 with Agnes Vanderburg and Vanderburg’s student Rachel Bowers. Vanderburg stands out as an important example of the passing of traditions between generations and between members of different communities.

Although I could embed all the audio and pictures relating to Agnes Vanderburg in this blog, it’s probably easiest to send you over to the online collection, where all of them are available to view, hear, and download.  Find all the Agnes Vanderburg material hereFind the entire Montana Folklife Survey collection here.

Finally, I should mention that the incidental music in the podcast is provided by the fiddling of Mary Louise Trotchie, also recorded in Montana in 1979. She too was a Native American elder, describing herself to the fieldworkers as “part Chippewa, part French Canadian.” As she mentions in the interview, her people came from the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota. My research indicates members of her family are also affiliated with the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians, a group based in Montana.

Mary Louise Trotchie plays the fiddle

Mary Louise Trotchie plays the fiddle In Havre, Montana, in 1979. The photo is by Paula Johnson. The archival scan was adjusted as to brightness, contrast, and other qualities for the purposes of online presentation. See the original in its online home at this link.

In addition to fiddling, Trotchie made ribbon shirts, which are part of several styles of dance regalia worn at pow wows; she talks in the interviews about selling the shirts at a booth at local events. She was a talented clothing designer and fiddler, and we’re happy to have documentation of her in the collection. You can hear her interviews and see her photos at this link.

Enjoy the podcast!

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