Co-founder of R Digital Design and Wenatchi Wear, Mary Big Bull-Lewis outside of her warehouse in Wenatchee on March 2, 2021. She started her companies with her husband, Rob Lewis, and aims to educate people about Wenatchi history through their designs and apparel.
This story was originally published by Crosscut and is republished here with permission.
Just outside her shop in Wenatchee, Mary Big Bull-Lewis can see the
Cascade foothills on the western edge of her hometown. Along
the crest, only a little bigger than the size of a thumbnail from
this distance, she can see Two Bears.
Once you spot it, it’s impossible to miss: The craggy rock
formations resemble the heads of two bears facing each other with
mouths open, crying out toward the sky.
The iconic shape has inspired the fascination of many, and it’s central to a P’squosa story — the Native people whose ancestral lands lie along the Wenatchee River and who are frequently referred to by the exonym Wenatchi. The story goes like this: Two bears fought constantly until they were frozen in time as rocks by Coyote, a frequent trickster who had warned them that they needed to stop.“So now they’re forever seen squaring off over the valley,” Big Bull-Lewis says.She’s enrolled in the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and a member of its Wenatchi, Entiat and Moses bands, with Blackfeet ancestry as well. This story, one that she now knows well, has been passed down through generations of P’squosa people like […]