Kalapuya Talking Stones

January 2, 2008

The Kalapuya Talking Stones were installed in December 2002 in the Whilamut Natural Area of Alton Baker Park. The Whilamut encompasses 237 acres of publicly owned open space, linking the neighboring cities of Springfield and Eugene, Oregon. The park includes about three miles of frontage along the north bank of the Willamette River. The 11 stones were quarried from a basalt deposit in traditional Kalapuya territory and each is inscribed with a Kalapuya word and its English equivalent.

Sixteen of us started out in the rain at Alton Baker Park for the 5.5 mile loop walk that took us by the Hays Memorial Tree Garden, Cuthbert Amphitheater, Nearby Nature Native Plant Nursery, Pre’s Trail, and Eastgate Woodlands. Rick Ahrens, a guide for Nearby Nature for 15 years, added the interesting bits and pieces to our trip. He was able to pronounce the Kalapuya words and share information about the Kalapuya people who numbered 15,000 at the time of Euro-American contact. He guided us on an obscure path around the Nearby Nature volunteer native plant restoration project and pointed out a camas field that will bloom in May. Without Rick, it would have been just a “brisk” walk past the stones. Hopefully, Rick will lead this hike in the spring when the flowers and birds are in abundance. One appreciates all of the volunteers who make the park such a rich resource for our community.

For a map, see http://emc.rio.com/KalapuyaMap.html

The names of the stones are:
De-Ha Yaba - Near a camas field
Ga-Ach-Li - Peaceful in daylight
Gaw-Ni - Trail through the woods
Ha-Yaba - Camas field
Hi-Dwa - In a wooded area
Illioo - Joyful
Kanaa - Going across place
Lak-Mi - Near a fish trap
Li-Yuu - Prairie
Wha-Lik - Place by the water
Whilamut - Where the river ripples and runs fast

Hikers were Rick Ahrens, Tom Berkey, Max Brown, Jean Coberly, Walt Dolliver, Dick Hildreth, Sam Houston, Janet Jacobsen, Kurt Koivu, Barb Revere, Julia Richardson, Ruth Romoser, Pat Soussan, Carol Stout, Lynn Tracy. Recently moved back to Eugene, Tina Schiff, nonmember, hiked with our club in 1990.

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