Pauline Hillaire is a widely respected elder of the Lummi Nation who holds vast amounts of knowledge regarding the arts, customs and stories of her people. The traditional Lummi legends Pauline tells on this recording were passed to her through oral tradition by her father Kwul-Kwul-tu (Joseph Hillaire). Joseph Hillaire was well known as a tribal orator and carver of totem poles.
The Lummi word for legend is sxwi am.
Pauline: "My father told stories upon stories upon stories. He chose to share special stories and legends with me because he recognized my good memory - the gift that I had been born with. The legends that I have shared on this CD are teaching stories that were usually told to a group of young people. They are best told to a group. The storyteller can sense what an audience needs to hear. If the audience needs something, the Great Spirit delivers it - a teaching, a lesson. The lesson is what will help the audience, not always what they want to hear.
These are local stories, with lessons I know need to be taught. The teaching stories and creation stories have centuries behind them. They were old in my grandfathers' day, but they still apply, just like the Bible.