6–21-08 Soul­stice Fes­ti­val, Truc­kee, CA poster by Alexan­dra Fischer

6/21/08 Moonalice poster by Alexandra FischerJune 21, 2008 Soul­stice Fes­ti­val, Truc­kee, California
Moon­al­ice poster by Alexan­dra Fischer

Accord­ing to Moon­al­ice leg­end, the sum­mer sol­stice is the High Holy Day when tribe mem­bers com­ing of age par­tic­i­pate in the Great Smoke Out. In addi­tion to hack­ing and gag­ging, the hol­i­day also came to have an unusual amount of day­light, pre­sum­ably to ensure that the newly ini­ti­ated could find their way home before dark. While the party often left tribe mem­bers in a frag­ile state, every­one had two days to rally before the equally intense Mid­sum­mer fes­ti­val on June 24.

We con­sulted the Leg­end to learn the ori­gin of Truc­kee. His­tory claims the town was named after a Paiute chief, Tru-ki-zo. Tru-ki-zo was a great chief, father to Chief Win­nemucca and grand­fa­ther to Sarah Win­nemucca. We would be all in favor of nam­ing a town after Tru-ki-zo, but we think there may be less of a con­nec­tion with Truc­kee than peo­ple think. When the first white peo­ple got over the Sier­ras into present day Truc­kee, a very friendly Indian approached them. He smiled hope­fully and yelled, “Tro-Kay.” The set­tlers assumed he was yelling his name — which is how Tru-ki-zo fits into this story — but Paiute schol­ars point out that in their lan­guage, “Tro-kay” means, “hello.” What they don’t tell you is that in the Moon­al­ice dialect of that region, “tro-kay” is a ques­tion. It means, “Do you have any hemp?”

Appar­ently the white peo­ple had some hemp, because every­one lived hap­pily ever after.




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