Status: This is a EXTREME work in progress.

Full Moon: Quil's Story

Chapter Eight

I go back home after hanging out with Embry and Jacob.

My grandad, who everyone calls “Old Quil”, is sitting at the kitchen table with a fish hook in his hand as I enter.

He has tons of newspapers spread in front of him because Mom can get pretty anal about Grandpa handling live bait in the area where we eat. Although he always makes a point to reply back that fishing is how we used to eat.

Which usually gets him started on a long tangent on the Quileute’s being great whalers, how we’ve lost our culture, and how this tribe is single handedly going to end if we don’t get back to out “roots”. So, to prevent discussions like that (which can get Grandpa pretty heated), Mom keeps a bin of old newspapers near the door for anytime he comes over and decides to go back to the “old days” with a rod.

The fishing pole leans against one of the cabinets.

“Hey, Grandpa,” I say as the screen door slams behind me.

He looks at me from behind his glasses and smiles.

“Hac'h chi'i,” He says as he takes a live worm from the Folgers tub on the table and hooks it through with his aged fingers.

I’m not exactly sure how old my grandpa is, but I’m assuming he’s pretty ancient. Mainly because he’s one of the few people left in the Tribe who remembers how to speak some of the old language. By that I mean Quileute.

It’s funny that my name is Quil, that I’m Quileute, live on the Quileute reservation, yet I’m probably the least Quileute ever. It’s not because I reject the “old ways” (as my grandpa likes to call it), but because we don’t really know the old ways anymore.

There’s no one around to teach us.

Even Grandpa with a five year old’s level of vocabulary of the Quileute language isn’t that versed in our past heritage. By the time he was born the Quileute’s were already being told not to speak their native language by their own Tribal Council. The Tribal Council even sent Grandpa Quil’s mom and dad away to a boarding school where they were forced to take on different names and adopt a different culture.

I guess the Tribal Elders at the time thought they were helping their people by trying to erase the “Indian” out of them. But in the end it resulted in the loss of a heritage.

The last person in my family who could speak fluent Quileute died years ago.

Grandpa Quil only knows what he would hear sometimes when his parents would speak in hushed tones. That’s what he tells me.

It’s funny how now the opposite has happened when it comes to the values of our tribe. That is that the Tribal Council would never do some of the things that they did generations ago. In fact, the Tribal Elders today are all about preserving our heritage or reigniting it.

Grandpa Quil is on the Council and he was one of the Elders that voted to implement learning the Quileute language into our school.

Because of this he gets really disappointed in me when I don’t speak the language. Or at least attempt to.

It’s just it’s really hard to say some of the words. Especially since no one is exactly sure how to say them. Which is why most of us on the rez aren’t really that pressed about speaking a language that even the adults don’t know how to speak.

But when I’m with Grandpa Quil I try my best to use a few words here and there.

Which makes him happy.

“Hac'h chi'i,” I repeat as I sit down at the table next to him.

I grab a hook and bait a worm myself.

When I look up I see Grandpa staring down at me with a smile so big on his old face...

It’s like I’m piercing my own heart.
♠ ♠ ♠
1/8/2019 So, this is what came out and what I came up with today lol. And...it turns out that Grandpa Quil finally shows! Ummm...I tried my best to stay true to Quileute history. But this was all done by a quick google search, so I’m not sure how correct all of this is. I haven’t done serious research on the Quileute tribe or their langauge. So, if mistakes are made than I’ll fix them! I’m not Quileute myself or Native American. I’m just taking inspiration from stories I’ve read or heard about the Native American experience.

But I wanted to show how close Old Quil and Quil are. Especially Old Quil’s seriousness about tribal heritage. Which will come into play later ofcourse when things start getting funny around the Quileute reservation!

Thanks for reading! <3