Strong People Nəxʷsƛ̕áy̕əm
As told by Sam Ulmer
One day there was a big gathering at Elwha. They ate salmon, clams, wild berries, and lots of good things from nature.
Then they had a contest to see who was the strongest. They decided to see who could lift a big
to the top of a big house that they were building. All of the other
tribes tried to lift the log. Each tribe chose their strongest men. None
of them could lift the big log.
It was time for the mighty Klallams. They remembered that logs float in water. So they rolled the big log into the water.
their strongest young men walked out into the water until it was up to
their shoulders. Then they let the log float onto their shoulders and
walked out of the water carrying the log on their shoulders.
When they reached the longhouse, everyone shouted, “šaʔšúm, šaʔšúm, šaʔšúm!” On the third
they all lifted it up to the top. All the other tribes thought that the
mighty Klallams must be very strong to put the log up so high, and
smart to use the water to first get the log onto their shoulders.
They all shouted, “Nəxʷsƛ̕áy̕əm! Nəxʷsƛ̕áy̕əm!” which means, “Strong People! Strong People!”
That is how our tribe received its name.