Bigfoot Encounters

Tales of sightings lend credence to Bigfoot myth
by Dorreen Yellow Bird

Tue, Sep. 07, 2004
-- On my recent trip to the Bitterroot and Salmon River mountains in Montana and Idaho, I heard some chilling stories about sightings of Bigfoot or Sasquatch. Do these and other stories I've heard about this so-called myth have any credibility?

It seems so. Some of the Nez Perce people made me think there may be truth to the tales of Sasquatch.

It seemed no matter where I went during my trip to Idaho, the Corps of Discovery - Lewis and Clark - had left their mark on that part of the region. The Nez Perce, for example, are the Nimi'ipuu, which means "the real people," but they were given the name "Nez Perce" in 1805 by interpreters of Lewis and Clark. Apparently the interpretation means "Pierced Nose." (They say this was not a common practice among their people.)

When I stayed with my adopted Nez Perce relatives, we spent a lot of time visiting. They are storytellers - tellers of real-life stories.

This is one of their Sasquatch accounts.

When Muriel and her father, Allen, were driving to work a few years ago, they came upon an unexpected sight. They were heading for a nearby town some 60 miles west of Kamiah, Idaho, where they live, she said.

This is mountainous country. On a large mountainlike hill next to the road, Muriel, who was on the passenger side of the car, said she saw a large animal on the hillside. At first she thought it was a cow grazing, she said. It was bending over and suddenly stood up. It looked like a giant, hairy man. It turned its body toward them and looked human. When it saw them, it ran.

With only a few strides, it was over this steep hill.

They stopped and walked to the spot where they saw what they assume was Bigfoot or Sasquatch. They found the spot and it looked as though the creature had been digging roots. There are roots on the reservations that the Nez Perce harvest and use for eating, making mats and so on.

They measured its footprints on the ground. The prints looked like those of human feet, except much, much bigger.

Muriel covered the same ground over the hill, following the footprints it made in the ground. The beast made it in three or four strides. It took her at least 5 minutes to cover the same ground.

There have been many reports of Bigfoot or Sasquatch in that area, but people often don't feel comfortable telling their story because the public doesn't believe them.

A spiritual leader who also was hearing that story said it is true, there are indeed these manlike beasts. He also has seen, heard and smelled them.

This was on the West Coast, he said. It was a place where the Sasquatch frequently are seen. He was taken to the place by people who wanted him to see them. They know where the Bigfoot is and keep that home a secret, he said.

He and his friends waited for the chance to see them. I don't think that at that point, he was convinced Sasquatch was real.

But while he was waiting, he heard noises in the trees, he said. And before he heard them, he could smell them. They smelled awful.

And when they came into view, they were as people had reported: large, hairy beasts with long arms, but not gorillas, he said. The creatures made low guttural sounds as if they were talking, but the spiritual leader couldn't understand any of the words.

He got a good look.

When these manlike beasts had left, this man and his friends examined the area where they had been. They found footprints that were three times the size of a human's. The footprints were shaped like a human foot, he said.

They also didn't report their sightings to anyone. They are best left alone he said.

I believe there are many things beyond our understanding. I believe my grandmother was right when she told her grandchildren, "it is a fool who thinks they know everything and have seen everything." There are things that are strange to us because we aren't familiar with them, but that doesn't mean they're make-believe.

Perhaps way up there in those dense mountain ranges, these man-like creatures have thrived. Or, perhaps not.

Yellow Bird writes columns; Reach her at 780-1228, (800) 477-6572 ext. 228 or © Grand Forks Herald September 7, 2004

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