Si.Si.Wiss / SiSiWiss
(Sacred breath, sacred life)
This web site is dedicated to the responsible sharing of the Si.Si.Wiss (sacred breath, sacred life) medicine way of the "Pacific Northwest" coast. Si.Si.Wiss is one of many ancient medicine societies in the region, and is one of the oldest. You will also find other content from the First People of these lands.

These ancient teachings are sacred. They were received by Native People of the "Northwest Coast" directly from nature, from the universe.

Please always respect and hold sacred these teachings, and remember where they came from.

To Whis.stem.men.knee (Johnny Moses), taqʷšəblu (Vi Hilbert), and all the wise teachers who have shared for thousands of years the wisdom of the earth with those of open heart and open mind:

Ee hychka / t̕igʷicid ("Thank you" in Samish / Lushootseed)

CONTENTS
Android users: After you click the "Listen" links, you may be asked to download each song when you click songs in the playlists. If so, you may find it simpler to click the "Open in app" button to download and play audio in the pCloud app. This is a current limitation of Android.

About pCloud: We pay pCloud to provide audio to our users for free. We do not receive any compensation for using it and do not have any other relationship with it. We chose pCloud because it has the best media player and privacy policies.

Privacy notice: If you appear in any of these recordings or videos and wish to be removed, please contact us (email is at bottom of this page).
A different canoe
For thousands of years, the First People of these lands transferred knowledge from elder to child. Memorizers were trained to remember songs, dances, stories, and teachings and repeat them exactly as they had heard them. But in the 19th and 20th centuries, colonization began a period of massacres, weaponized plagues, and residential schools that ripped children from their families and brutalized them. It nearly destroyed this tradition.

Yet some visionary elders found a way for the knowledge to survive. One such elder was gʷəqʷulc̀əʔ (Susie Sampson Peter) from sqaǰət (Skagit, located in modern day "Washington State, USA"). A memorizer and powerful medicine woman, she was one of the first of her people to be recorded. She did this so the ancient teachings could be heard by future generations who might not have elders to teach them.

She spoke of "transferring to a different canoe." Leon Metcalf, a white man, provided the "different canoe" in the form of a tape recorder, and gʷəqʷulc̀əʔ transferred xʷ√dikʷ (the teachings) into it.

We hope this website, too, can be a new canoe for the ancient teachings, carrying knowledge to the next generations as it was shared by traditional elders and memorizers.

It will succeed if we learn with an open heart and open mind. If we carry these beautiful teachings with humility and respect. If we realize that we are only a small part of the earth, are connected to all of nature, and that we must take care of our mother. When we learn to hear the voices of nature that teach us directly. When we pass on these teachings as we have learned them.

liłlaqəxʷ wiẁsuʔəxʷ kwi łasluud tiʔeʔ cədił sx̌ʷudx̌ʷud čəł. [gʷəł čəwatil əlgʷəʔ.]
Future youngsters will be the ones to hear our talk. [and they will learn.]
-- gʷəqʷulc̀əʔ (Susie Sampson Peter). (From Lushootseed Research)

taqʷšəblu (Vi Hilbert): A different canoe

taqʷšəblu (Aunt Vi Hilbert) speaks about preserving the ancient "Star Child" story with modern technology. She says her Aunt Susie would call this "transferring to another canoe" (often she translanted it as "a different canoe"). Seattle Nordic Center, October 22, 1992.

Jerry Kanim - Star husband story

In 1955, Snoqualmie chief Jerry Kanim recorded the "Star Husband" story (similar to "Star Child") in the Lushootseed language. The vision of taqʷšəblu is coming true.

AUDIO

Library of Congress -- Music of the American Indian (Puget Sound)

In 1950, Professor Willard Rhodes recorded Tommy Bob and family (Swinomish), Joseph Hillaire (Lummi), and George Hottowe and family (Makah). These recordings were archived at the USA Government Library of Congress. We share them with you here. You can stream or download the songs, and you can view or download the full liner notes.

Johnny Moses: Pacific Northwest Medicine Songs of the Four Seasons

In 2017, Smithsonian Folkways published a 2-CD set of recordings of Johnny Moses singing traditional songs of all four seasons. Shared with permission from his elders who were willing to share with all human beings. Use these links to stream them for free (or use links to Spotify or Apple Music).



RCC Sacred Songs (2021)

A collection of some of the best-loved sacred ceremonial songs shared by Johnny Moses with the Red Cedar Circle.

These are ancient jewels and are considered to be very sacred. During this time of great changes on our mother earth, they are being shared to help us all remember the earth and all creation, and to help us all learn to listen to nature.

Please use with respect and remember these are from the First People of the Northwest Coast. If you share, please give attribution to Johnny Moses and to the First People.

Epic story: The Medicine Clothes That Look at the People

Johnny Moses has shared several multi-night epic stories over the years. Most are told over 3, 4, 7, or 10 nights. This 4-night story is available here in audio, and also as a book (transcribed by Chalth.Si.Nah.Men Bill Cote, published by OMEC). The book is available at booksellers everywhere, including on Amazon.

Note: We're still looking for better recordings and will update this when possible.

VIDEO

Chalath Whadik: Follow the teachings. 1989.

Video from 1989 featuring tribal elders teaching the importance of educating children in their Native American culture and traditions through legend, song, and dance.

Participants include Rachel Peters, Vi Hilbert, Bruce Miller, Johnny Moses, Fred Jameson, Salena Southall, Freddie Jameson, Alaskan Heritage Dancers, Robert "Sun-Sun" Frances, Leona Miller, Skokomish Dancers. Project director: Loran Olsen, Washington State University Libraries.

Huchoosedah: Traditions of the Heart

PBS / BBC documentary. Beloved elder and teacher taqʷšəblu (Vi Hilbert) and others work to perpetuate the dx?l?əšucid (Lushootseed) language of Puget Sound. For more info, see Lushootseed Research (dx?l?əšucid)

Teachings of the Tree People

Artist and Skokomish tribal leader, Gerald Bruce Miller (subiyay) interprets the sacred teachings of the natural world to anyone who wants to learn. This gentle and generous film is the parting gift of a great teacher, artist and orator.

The film traces Bruce’s family roots on the Skokomish Reservation, young adulthood in California, Viet Nam, and Manhattan, and his return to the Hood Canal area to bring about a renaissance of art and culture in his homeland. In a four-part season structure, Bruce delivers lessons from our first teachers, the trees.

Johnny Moses: Water

Johnny shares teachings about the water.

Johnny Moses - NW Coastal Salish Medicine Teachings

A presentation by Johnny Moses at Oddfellows Hall on Orcas Island, WA. Recorded September 28, 2014.

Johnny Moses - NW Coastal Salish Medicine Teachings

Artist and Skokomish tribal leader, Gerald Bruce Miller (subiyay) interprets the sacred teachings of the natural world to anyone who wants to learn. This gentle and generous film is the parting gift of a great teacher, artist and orator.

The film traces Bruce’s family roots on the Skokomish Reservation, young adulthood in California, Viet Nam, and Manhattan, and his return to the Hood Canal area to bring about a renaissance of art and culture in his homeland. In a four-part season structure, Bruce delivers lessons from our first teachers, the trees.

Johnny Moses: Water

Johnny shares teachings about the water.

Johnny Moses - NW Coastal Salish Medicine Teachings

A presentation by Johnny Moses at Oddfellows Hall on Orcas Island, WA. Recorded September 28, 2014.

Johnny Moses - NW Coastal Salish Medicine Teachings

A presentation by Johnny Moses at Oddfellows Hall on Orcas Island, WA. Recorded September 28, 2014.

Johnny Moses interview by Wisdom of the Elders

Johnny shares teachings about many things from his upbringing.

Raising Our Children Well

Ancient teachings for us and our children. Spoken in txʷəlšucid (southern Lushootseed) and English. From Puyallup Tribal Language program.

First Contact: A journey of awakening

This website is dedicated to the ancient teachings. But we must also acknowledge the recent attempted genocide of Indigenous people of the USA and Canada. Without the First People, there would be nothing to share here. Those who came to North America as part of colonization are still learning about who was here first, what was done, and the legacy of horror. Without truth, there can be no reconciliation. This is part of understanding how the ancient medicine can help all of us to grow and heal.

North Americans' opinions about Indigenous people are formed without knowledge of the culture’s true history or firsthand experience of the present-day communities. This may explain the prevalence of racist, unsympathetic and generally prejudicial attitudes that are often directed towards Indigenous peoples.

First Contact (from APTN) takes six European-Canadians on a 28-day journey intended to challenge these attitudes and shed a light on the true Indigenous experience. The travelers, all with ignorant views about Indigenous People, have been invited to leave their everyday lives behind and embark on a unique journey, travelling deep into the Indigenous communities throughout Canada. It is a journey that will challenge their perceptions and confront their prejudices about a world they never imagined they would see.

Season 1:

Season 2:

Tulalip Salmon Ceremony (1979)

Tulalip Salmon Ceremony. First year of revival. June 1979. Harriet Shelton Dover, Taqseblu (Vi Hilbert), Cyrus James (Big Shot), Wayne Williams, Morris Dan, and most important - O Siab Yobuc. Filmed by Loran Olsen (WSU).

The Tulalip ceremony was revived by Harriet Shelton Dover and Morris Dan, with the help of many other elders and the Tulalip Tribes council. Harriet writes about it in her book, "Tulalip From My Heart", in Chapter 11 (pp. 256-259).

To my knowledge, this video is not available anywhere except in UW archives, where it cannot be seen except by anthropologists or other academics. This is an attempt to make it viewable by the Tulalip people, other First People, and other people who respect the traditions and who respect the salmon people.

About the recovery of this recording: I spent two weeks digitizing a VHS copy that was given to me many years ago. The tape was in bad shape and broke while playing. In many spots, it would not "track" properly, which distorted the video and audio. This recording demanded many, many attempts to read it, and most failed completely. I had to splice together the best versions from the successful runs, most of which were only partially successful. In the end, I was able to recover all but a few seconds of the original recording.

If you have old VHS tapes with priceless footage, don't wait to digitize them. Like the rest of us, these old VHS tapes won't live forever. The best place for the teachings is in people's hearts, to be learned from other people or directly from the earth. But there is still time to preserve these old recordings so that future generations can hear the way the elders would share their knowledge and wisdom. Contact us if you'd like help.

"Full Circle: Indians in Washington State" (1989)

This documentary, about the First People of Washington State, originally aired on KIRO TV in 1989. It features many amazing elders, most of whom are now gone.

Featuring (in order of appearance): Grandma Lillian Pullen, Ray Moses, Bruce Miller, Kenny Cooper, Billy Frank Jr, Father Pat Twohy, Virginia Sampson, Ron Hilbert, Vi Hilbert, Johnny Moses, Fred Jameson, Jewell James.

At the 14:00 mark, it tells the story of the fight for fishing rights, led by Billy Frank Jr. To learn more about this, watch As Long as te Riover Runs

Note: this video was digitized from a VHS tape that had badly disintegrated. It took two weeks, but we were eventually able to recover almost the entire video after playing different parts of it and using scotch tape to repair breaks in the physical magnetic "tape". Modern technology doesn't last forever, videotapes decay and go back to the earth, but the beauty of the elders' teachings will live on.

If you have old VHS tapes with priceless footage, don't wait to digitize them. Contact us if you'd like help.

Storytelling at Seattle Nordic Center (Oct 22, 1992)

taqʷšəblu (Vi Hilbert) and Johnny Moses tell traditional stories at Seattle Nordic Center. [4:55] Vi asks Johnny to open way with spiritual song. [9:20] Vi speaks about the beauty of the traditional songs, and about recording of her father singing made in 1950s stored in National Archives. [11:22] Vi discusses monster witch woman (Basket Ogress) story recorded by her father. [13:26] Vi calls on Johnny to tell Basket Ogress story. [26:22] Vi thanks her audience, and tells Lady Louse story. [46:46] Vi calls on Johnny to tell story of catepillar lady and butterfly. [55:57] Vi speaks about stories, importance of telling stories from the heart, not from paper. [61:40] Vi tells short version of Star Child story. Yudwasta. [78:05] Vi speaks about transferring knowledge to a different canoe -- a computer. [79:50] Johnny sings, then tells story of Octopus Lady and Crow. [90:52] Vi tells story of Mud Swallow home. [101:57] Johnny tells story of little boy and bicycle. [106:38] Johnny tells story of grandmother cedar tree. [114:04] Johnny sings. [115:53] Vi says good night.

Yakima conference - End of Johnny story -- Spiritual Leaders (Aug 23, 2000)

Conference in Yakima organized by Chalth.Si.Nah.Men (Bill Cote) and Ray Awnee. End of Johnny’s epic story with dancing; Clifford Moses (Yakima shaker); Pauline Hillaire; Bruce Miller (Sobiye); [51:25] Man talks with $5 bill that he crumples, stomps on, and tears, but the value remains — just like our lives; Pauline Hillaire speaks again. 4 spiritual leaders: Tom, Sobiye, Harold Belmont (Yakima living in Seattle), Pauline. Helped by Diane and Lorraine (?) holding candles. Asks Ray (Yakima) to sit with Ron Garcia (?) . Calls on Yakima Shaker Clifford Moses. Also calls on Helen Zack (?); Bill sings old growth cedar tree song (Meares Island); taqseblu Vi Hilbert speaks: [1:42:11] “To each one of you, let me say this to you who have children as I grew up an only child: My parents let me know who I am, an only child. And they said to me, ‘Remember, you are not better than anybody in this world, but you are the best.’ Tell that to your children, please.” [1:43:55] “Thank you Chalth.Si.Na.Men, thank you for listening, thank you for learning that this is the best way to walk in this world. And you carry it such beauty, with that big body of yours, that bear strength, and I thank you dear one for having the heart to share such a gathering with us.” Bill then asks Yakima elder and leader Clifford Moses to close.

ARTICLES

We would like to translate these articles into other languages. If you can help, please email us (contact info at bottom of page).

Shaman's Drum Interview

Extraordinary interview of Johnny Moses in Shaman's Drum magazine, Spring 1991.

taqʷšəblu at Sqwadux

Newspaper article from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Nov 13, 2000, featuring taqʷšəblu (Vi Hilbert): "Descendants of settlers and of the helpful Duwamish salute the founding of Seattle"

taqʷšəblu: To Coming Generations

taqʷšəblu (Vi Hilbert) gives us instructions from her giant, long mind.

Legacy of the Ancestors: Beyond Oppression

Dorothy Mack writes about understanding and transforming her role in Postcolonial America

Links to related web sites (will open in new page)

Johnny Moses web site

Lushootseed Research (dx?l?əšucid)

Red Cedar Circle

taqʷšəblu Voices of the First People, University of Washington -- Audio and Video recordings from the Vi Hilbert Collection

Tulalip Lushootseed

Daybreak Star Radio

First People's Cultural Foundation

Why is Leonard Peltier still in prison?