Program 104: Taheebvu Chadi

Phoebe Winnamucca

Judy Trejo

Judy Trejo

with Judy Trejo

Judy Trejo
Tuhva Tzi Buina (Pinenut Blessing Song)
Circle Dance Songs
Canyon Records
Arlie Neskahi:
During the production of this program, our elder, Judy Trejo, passed into the spirit world at the age of 62. We were saddened and shocked, but we’re grateful that we were able to record much of her wisdom, humor, and singing spirit.

Judy was a teacher. In keeping with her spirit, we continue to share her songs and stories even as we mourn her passing.

Judy Trejo:
I was a very nosy child, extremely inquisitive. And I remember my grandmother, great-grandma. Her name was Phoebe Winnamucca, and she was a healer. She was totally blind. With both eyes closed, she saw much more than the rest of us did with eyes wide open.

To begin this woman’s story, I had to go preconception because I would go lay in her lap and I remember asking “where were you before you were born?”

And she said, “I was with the maker of all things.” “Where does he live?” And she said, she took her hands and made motions, she says, “Our worlds, there are four worlds. There are four layers.” And she came from the very top layer. Upon this layer of the spirit world is where the maker of all things lived. This is also where she resided.

She spoke of a very happy childhood. She spoke of having wild animals for pets – all her pets were pets she had healed. But she had the ability. She knew how to get rid of the sickness she removed from pets.

Then she began to get her instructions and she followed every single one of them. She was told to look for four white oval stones. In order to obtain these, she had to dig and search through the droppings of a coyote that had rabies. I have no idea how much coyote doo-doo she had to look through in order to obtain these four smooth oval stones. She used these stones in her doctoring and she had the ability to heal people who were bitten by rabid animals. This was one of her gifts.

When she was told to collect the four eagle feathers she had to have, she had to trap her eagle. She was not allowed to kill her eagle. She had to dig a pit upon Red Mountain in McDermott. And she fixed a – it was like a willow lattice-type thing – and she had killed a cottontail and laid it up there, see if she could lure this eagle down. So she had to grab its feet and pull the four tail feathers with her teeth.

Well, she saw the eagles come by, but the eagles did not land. It took her a couple of days to realize the golden eagle is a predator. The golden eagle is a predator. It is not a scavenger like the bald eagle. The bald eagle would get down and feast with the magpies and the crows and the buzzards, but the golden eagle has to kill their food fresh.

Judy Trejo
Kaiva Waito Saugaymian (Circle Dance Song)
Circle Dance Songs
Canyon Records

So after realizing this, she had to go and build a snare for a rabbit. When she caught one, she had to keep it alive, and she tied it by the leg and gave it some freedom.

Then, and only then, did the golden eagle swoop down. Can you imagine how much strength it took for a young woman to hold an eagle’s legs together while she pulled the four tail feathers she needed with her teeth?

She also had to have her songs. She had an infant that she traveled with, her daughter. And she decided to go up to Silver City, Idaho. She had some people up there she wanted to see. They came from the buffalo eaters from fort hall. And she stopped on this side of the Oahe river evening. And she said it was springtime. The river was very swollen from drainage from the mountains nearby, the snow.

And she saw these people that were traveling. They moved in across the river from her and her thoughts were, ok, i’ll not cross tonight but i will cross tomorrow morning and i will go and greet these people. And she watched these people set up camp. She saw the children running and playing, heard the dogs barking. She could smell their smoke! The women’s cookfire, she – she smelled what they were cooking and she sat and observed these people, wondering if she knew any of them.

She said, they sang all night, different kinds of songs, and she sat and listened.

Judy Trejo
Men’s Honor Song
Live In Studio

In the morning, she heard them breaking camp, and she was pretty sleepy so she thought she’d, well, she was on horseback, alone, she could catch up with them because they were going upriver. She rested. She secured her baby on her horse, and she grabbed her horse’s tail and they crossed the river so she could follow the, this group of people – follow their trail.

So, upon reaching the other side of the river, she said, there was not a single track. There was not a single ash, no evidence of people ever being there, but she had received her songs that she used for different things.

I have not seen another healer like her. She passed away in 1954, and Ii have not seen another one. I don’t know if there are any more like her, at least they’re not in our area.

And now I’ll do the woman’s healing song for you, and that will conclude this program.

Judy Trejo
Women’s Healing Song
Song With Drum Accompaniment

All my relations.

Dave Carter And Tracy Grammer
Gentle Solider Of My Soul
Drum Hat Buddha
Signature Sounds

More of Judy Trejo
Wisdom of the Elders has made a special series of recordings by Judy Trejo available for purchase. You can find them in our Indian Marketplace.
Judy Trejo’s music is also available from Canyon Records.