Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Paty Jager- Nez Perce Seasons

The second book of the spirit trilogy, Spirit of the Lake, deals with the seasons and the nomadic life of the Nez Perce. The hero Wewukiye (Way-woo-key-ya), the spirit of the lake, saves a Nez Perce maiden, Dove, from drowning when she tries to take her life after discovering she is with child from an attack by a Whiteman. 

The course of the story takes place over the nine months of Dove carrying the child. Wewukiye has determined that the birth of the child will prove her story and the Whiteman's deceit to the Nez Perce leaders who believe the man is their friend. 

While researching what the seasons would be called in the Nez Perce Language I came across this sampling of how they call their seasons:

Wilupup = January Time of cold weather, blizzards.
Alat'amal = February Freezing weather, difficult to maintain fires
Latit'al = March Season of first bloom of plants. New life begins.
Q'oyxt'sal = April Season of high rivers from melting snow.
Q'eq'iit'al = May Season of first root, Q'eqiit harvest.
Hiilal Tustimasat'al = June Season of moving to higher elevation to harvest roots. Season of bluebark return.
 Taya'al = July Season of Tayam (hot) days of summer.
Wawam'mayq'al = August Season of Chinook Salmon return. Salmon reach the upper tributary streams to spawn
Piq'unmayq'al = September Nat'soxiwal Season of fish return to rivers for cold weather.
Hoplal = October Season of cold weather. Tamarack turn yellow.
Sexliwal = November The buck deer 'running'.Large animals mate. Season of leaves/plants discolor.
Haoq'oy = December Season of doe carrying fetus. No hunting of female game.

Spirit of the Lake starts in the Season of fish return to rivers for cold weather and ends Season of first root.

Other words I used were:
El-weht – Spring
Ta-yum – Summer
Sekh-nihm – Fall
Anihm – Winter

One thing I discovered because the different bands of the Nez Perce tribes were separated and had different neighboring tribes there may be more than one Nez Perce word for the same English word.  And depending on where the Nez Perce word was translated, more than one English spelling.

Here is the blurb and excerpt for Spirit of the Lake:
Two generations after his brother became mortal, Wewukiye(Way-woo-key-ya), the lake spirit, prevents a Nimiipuu maiden from drowning and becomes caught up in her sorrow and her heart. Her tribe ignores Dove's shameful accusations—a White man took her body, leaving her pregnant, and he plans to take their land.Wewukiye vows to care for her until she gives birth, to help her prove the White man is deceitful and restore her place in her tribe.

As they travel on their quest for justice, Dove reveals spiritual abilities yet unknown in her people, ensnaring Wewukiye’s respect and awe. But can love between a mortal and a spirit grow without consequences?


Wewukiye tugged her hand, drawing her closer. His warm breath puffed against her ear.
"You need only think of me and you will have strength."
His soft silky voice floated through her body like a hot drink.
Dove swallowed the lump in her throat and asked, "When will I see you again?" The thought of sleeping on the hard ground next to the fire in Crazy One's dwelling didn't sound near as inviting as using his lap to rest her head.
The days and nights grew colder; to be wrapped in his arms would warm her through and through.
"You will find me at the meadow every day when the sun is directly overhead." He brushed his lips against her ear.
She closed her eyes, relishing the silky feel of his lips and the heat of his touch.
"Think of me," whispered through her head.
Dove opened her eyes. She stood alone. Her palm still warm from their clasped hands, her ear ringing with his whisper.  

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Rhonda D said...

What an amazing cover and unique storyline. I love it. I will definitely be grabbing this one! Thanks for sharing.

Ellen O'Connell said...

I wonder if research into any of the tribes results in the kind of overlapping and contradiction you found in language, Paty. When I researched the Apache for Dancing on Coals, I found that no one is even certain of the relationships and territory of the various bands, much less names, and there were considerable variations in language and customs. Consider that after the Apache were subdued, all that mattered to people was keeping them down (and putting them in environments designed to kill them off). By the time anyone tried to actually find out much about them, the people who had lived free were gone except for a few who had been children at the end of the free time. So what was available to researchers were mostly memories of adults from their childhood and what they could get out of people who had no reason to trust, like, or talk to them and considerable incentive to make things up.

Paty Jager said...

Rhonda, Thank you! My publisher did an excellent job with the covers for this trilogy.

Ellen, that's true. The American Indian was punished for carrying on their way of life and with that many lost their language and their customs. I agree. There is still a huge level of distrust. I ran up against that during my research.

Lyn Horner said...

Paty, I'm also running into multiple translations of certain Kiowa words with my WIP, Dearest Druid. Fortunately there is a Kiowa dictionary I recently found online.

I love your book covers and the excerpt from Spirit of the Lake.

Paty Jager said...

Lyn, I've finally had a chance to start your druid series. I'm pleased with the spirit trilogy covers.