A gravestone, a mention in local archives, stories still handed down around Oyster Bay: the outline of a woman begins to emerge and with her the world she inhabited, so rich in tradition, so shaken by violent change. Katie Kettle Gale was born into a Salish community in Puget Sound in the 1850s, just as settlers were migrating into what would become Washington State. With her people forced out of their accustomed hunting and fishing grounds into ill-provisioned island camps and reservations, Katie Gale sought her fortune in Oyster Bay. In that early outpost of multiculturalism-where Native Americans and immigrants from the eastern United States, Europe, and Asia vied for economic, social, political, and legal power-a woman like Gale could make her way.
As LLyn De Danaan mines the historical record, we begin to see Gale, a strong-willed Native woman who cofounded a successful oyster business, then wrested it away from her Euro-American husband, a man with whom she raised children and who ultimately made her life unbearable. Steeped in sadness-with a lost home and a broken marriage, children dying in their teens, and tuberculosis claiming her at forty-three-Katie Gale's story is also one of remarkable pluck, a tale of hard work and ingenuity, gritty initiative and bad luck that is, ultimately, essentially American.
LLyn De Danaan is a writer and an anthropologist. She contributed to the book Vashon Island Archaeology: A View from Burton Acres Shell Midden, and her articles have appeared in Women's Studies Quarterly, Columbia: The Magazine of Northwest History, and Oregon Historical Quarterly.
List of Illustrations 1. My Lodestone 2. First Salmon 3. Where You Come From 4. Indian Policy during Katie Gale's Time 5. Sometimes I See a Canoe 6. Oyster Bay 7. The Duties of a Woman 8. "Picking Grounds" and the Making of Community 9. The People in Her World 10. Travels 11. Katie Gale's Early Life 12. The Kettle Connection 13. No Crops of Any Consequence 14. Relationships 15. Joseph Gale Was an Enterprising Man 16. The Marks upon Her Body 17. Katie Gale Goes to Court 18. Turn Around 19. Joseph's Complaints 20. The Oyster Bay School 21. Katie Gale Died under a Full Moon 22. A "Broad and Liberal Man" Meets His Death 23. The End of an Era 24. Winter Sister Postscript Acknowledgments Chronology Notes Bibliography