Finding a Sense of Place in Walla Walla: The Role of the Whitman Story in the Development of Walla Walla's Community Identity

Robyn Wright
12.16.04
History 400

Preparing to build a statue of Peopeomoxmox, a Native American chief who lived in the area in the mid nineteenth century, Walla Walla residents express their continuing desire to maintain connections with their pioneer past.  To understand this relationship to the past that Walla Wallans strive to hold on to, one must first be familiar with some of the details of that history.   In 1836 the future of the Walla Walla valley changed drastically when Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife Narcissa, with their companions Henry and Eliza Spalding, crossed the Rocky Mountains westward prepared to bring salvation to the Native Americans of the West.  The Whitmans established their mission, Waiilatpu, among the Cayuse tribe in the vicinity of modern day Walla Walla, Washington.  The mission proved to be a difficult undertaking.  The Whitmans struggled to learn the native language, struggled in their relationships with the other missionaries, and struggled in their relationships with the Cayuse.  Their daughter, Alice Clarissa, who had been the first white child born west of the Rocky Mountains in 1837, drowned in the Walla Walla River in 1839.  Although they struggled in the mission field, Marcus Whitman did not agree that the Mission Board was making a wise decision when it ordered the dismissal of Henry Spalding and the closing of Waiilatpu in 1842.  Consequently, Whitman returned east to confront the Board, and he led a wagon train west on his return home.  Relations between the missionaries improved after 1843, but relations between the missionaries and the Native Americans grew increasingly sour.  After an epidemic of measles killed many Cayuse but few whites, the Cayuse took revenge on the doctor who could not save their people.  The missionaries' efforts came to an end November 29, 1847 when the Cayuse attacked the Whitman missionÑkilling Marcus and Narcissa Whitman as well as several other men.[1]

The memory of the Whitmans survives among Walla Walla residents, but the connection to the past is complex.  For example, in June of 2004 the Walla Walla Historic Memorials Group received a large donation to aid the construction of a statue in the likeness of Native American Walla Walla chief Peopeomoxmox to honor the chief.[2]  Peopeomoxmox lived in the area while the Whitmans served their mission at Waiilatpu among the Cayuse tribe.  Days before the massacre at the mission, a Native American in the lodge of Peopeomoxmox asked Henry Spalding, the Whitmans' companion, "ÔIs Dr. Whitman Killed?' as though he were expecting an affirmative answer."[3]  This event reveals that Native Americans outside of the Cayuse tribe knew of plans of the upcoming massacre and links Peopeomoxmox, although indirectly, to the massacre.  By honoring Peopeomoxmox, citizens of Walla Walla express a connection with the Native Americans in the area rather than labeling them as evil murderers.  The connection is complicated, however, because the statue focuses on the role Peopeomoxmox played in promoting signing the Treaty of 1855.[4]  The treaty represents the end of the Native Americans traditional way of life and the entrance of white settlers to the area.  Thus, when Walla Walla builds a statue to honor Peopeomoxmox they paradoxically express sympathy to the group that attacked the Whitmans but celebrate the end of the traditional way of life of the same group.    

            Settlers founded the town of Walla Walla only after the guilty Cayuse had been put to death, the local tribes had signed the Treaty of 1855, and the Indian Wars concerning the Treaty of 1855 had been settled.  Therefore, Walla Walla was founded in the wake of tumultuous events resulting from the massacre of the Whitmans in 1847.  The Whitmans had settled in the area as a family, and the massacre attracted the attention of the United States Government.  With Ft. Walla Walla nearby as a protection against Indian attack, the early residents of Walla Walla were not likely to forget the Whitmans and the tragic role they played in bringing attention to the Walla Walla Valley. 

            Throughout the history of Walla Walla as a community the memory of the Whitmans has been prevalent among its citizens.  It manifests itself through monuments, school curriculums, and celebrations such as pioneer pageants.  As seen above, however, the relationship between the citizens of Walla Walla and the memory of the Whitmans is complex and deeply ingrained.  David Glassberg describes this sort of relationship between Americans and the history of an area in his book Senses of History: the Place of the Past in American Life.  Glassberg argues that knowing the history of an area gives Americans a "sense of place."[5]  This sense affects the developments of towns and relationships between groups.  In effect, a sense of place helps to create the very identity of a town.  Three pioneer pageants produced in Walla Walla between 1923 and 1977 emphasize the power of the Whitman story among Walla Walla citizens.  The pageants strengthened bonds in the community and helped Walla Wallans increase the importance of their story among themselves as they presented it to the nation.  The stories of the pageants reflect an evolving picture of the Cayuse as increasingly human (being susceptible to the temptation of evil men), and a constant portrayal of the Whitmans as selfless martyrs.  This combination ultimately defines the obligation of Walla Walla to live up to the noble lives of the Whitmans who settled the area and spilled their blood in the name of progress.  In these ways, the history of the Whitmans has created a "sense of place" for the residents of Walla Walla.      

            The history of the Whitmans was publicly presented by the Walla Walla community in three pioneer pageants: "How the West Was Won" of 1923 and 1924, "Wagons West" of 1936, and "Trails West" of 1976 and 1977.  President of Whitman College, Stephan Penrose, wrote "How the West Was Won."  The pageant included interpretive dancing in which a group of girls represented the wheat fields of the Walla Walla valley, and a single figure represented the messenger of death and the massacre of the Whitmans.(See Figure 1)[6]  "Wagons West" accompanied a celebration of the Whitman Centennial which included visits to the mission site, a museum presented by Whitman College, and the transformation of downtown Walla Walla into a pioneer town.  "Wagon's West" began with a scene entitled "Dawn of Creation" which included the appearance of dinosaurs and ended on a patriotic note with a "living flag" singing the National Anthem.[7]  "Trails West" was written by Bill Gulick.  This presentation based its plot on a mountain man who had married a Nez Perce woman and lived with her tribe.  He watched as the Whitmans led the way West for the United States.  Through these pageants Walla Walla strengthened community bonds as thousands of Walla Wallans joined together to create successful productions.  Their efforts were rewarded in material wealth and physical structures such as Whitman Mission National Park and Museum and an outdoor amphitheatre.  Walla Walla defined its place among the greater nation as an important element in its development by presenting the Whitman story as having comparative importance to that of Lewis and Clard.  An extensive advertising campaign helped Walla Walla declare this association to a wider audience.  The plots in the pageants, especially the incorporation of Native Americans as enemies and the Whitmans as heroes, and signs of the Whitmans in present day Walla Walla show the evolution of the relationship with the past and the unwillingness of Walla Wallans to view the Whitmans in a negative light.  The role of these pageants in the community of Walla Walla indicates the prevalence of the Whitman story as Walla Walla matured as a town and created its sense of place.   

Community Bonds

            In the published version of the script used in "How the West Was Won," author Stephen Penrose explained that the staff of Whitman College had come up with the idea to have a pageant in honor of the Whitmans; however, when the community decided to become involved, it became a "community enterprise" and "Whitman College, which had first conceived the idea, sank into the background and merged its efforts in those of the community."[8]  The pioneer pageants helped the citizens of Walla Walla come together to honor a common history, and in doing so, the pageant created powerful bonds in the community.  The productions drew thousands from the community to take part in the historic events.  "How the West Was Won" included from 2,000[9] to 3,000[10] participants.  The Christian Science Monitor proclaimed in 1923 that "Walla Walla has never been so united and interested in any undertaking before."[11]  Current Walla Walla resident Robert A. Bennett explains in his pictorial history of Walla Walla, A Nice Place to Raise a Family, that the pageant of 1923 was inspiring to the community and helped to develop a sense of community pride.[12]  "How the West Was Won" successfully gathered a large number of Walla Walla residents who worked together to present an outdoor pageant on a grand scale. 

            Thirteen years later, the town of Walla Walla once again asked its residents to bond together in order to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Whitmans arrival in the Walla Walla Valley, and the people heeded the call as several groups pulling from many parts of society joined together to make the celebration a success.  The Centennial Celebration required a greater effort than the pageant of 1923 because not only was it a pageant, but a celebration including a museum, shows, lectures, and the transformation of the entire downtown.  Many volunteer groups in Walla Walla aided in the effort to organize and carry out the duties necessary in this grand celebration.  The duties were divided amongst several groups including the Wagon Wheelers, the Spinning Wheelers, the Wagon Tongues, and the Night Guards.[13]  Among these groups women were important contributors.  The Spinning Wheelers consisted only of women, and the Night Guards were a business women's group.[14]  The local newspaper reported that the groups worked together harmoniously to create a celebration that reflected a sincere memorial to the Whitmans and a realization of the lessons the Whitmans left for the Walla Walla Valley.[15]  This description of the Centennial begins to show the modern reader how the community bonded in this event.  The legacy of the Centennial Celebration was not one of frustration due to the politics and conflicts among groups, but one of unity and pride.  In a story entitled "United," the Walla Walla Union Bulletin reported that "long-time residents of Walla Walla say that citizens are more of one thought in connection with the Whitman Centennial than they have been before any other community event."[16] The Walla Walla Community had successfully joined together to celebrate a common history.  Ultimately this led to a greater sense of community as members of different parts of society and in different groups volunteered to help make the Centennial a success.

            The Centennial also brought the community closer together as the town collectively transformed into a pioneer town trading modern fashions for the clothing styles of the mid-nineteenth century.  As members of the community disregarded the rules of fashion in 1936, they also disregarded the restrictions of their contemporary civilization.  As the Whitman Centennial Celebration drew near, the town of Walla Walla transformed its downtown into a pioneer town.  Boards were put up in front of the buildings to hide modern architecture, and some businesses changed their names to match the era.  For example, one restaurant became the "Fort Walla Walla Eaten House."[17] In the spirit of the transformation the Wagon Wheelers, head of the Centennial Celebration, abandoned modern restrictions of society, class, and civilization and began using the horse trough outside their meeting house as the center of the initiation into the Wagon Wheelers.  Many members of Walla Walla were initiated by being dunked in the trough (See Figure 2).  Surpassing all modern boundaries of respect and hierarchy, the Wagon Wheelers even dunked the Lieutenant Governor in order to welcome him to Walla Walla and the Whitman Centennial Celebration.[18]  The actions of the Wagon Wheelers emphasized the community's willingness to disregard modern restrictions and bond as a community under a new set of rules. 

            With the Wagon Wheelers leading the way in forming a new set of standards during the Centennial, a group of downtown employees adhered to the newly established rules.  All of the employees of downtown were required to wear pioneer clothing to further the transformation of the area.  When two girls refused to wear the pioneer garb and clung to their modern fashions, their fellow employees dunked them in the water trough.  The local newspaper enthusiastically reported the story, heading it "They'll Wear Centennial Dress Now!"[19]  The employees' action of dunking the girls signified the desire that the community of Walla Walla had to be unified in the events of the Whitman Centennial Celebration.  The fact that the local newspaper reported the incident in a lighthearted fashion epitomized the disregard to modern restrictions in the transformation of the modern town of Walla Walla in 1936 to a pioneer town of the mid nineteenth century.

            The pageants also helped create a sense of community in Walla Walla because they brought success to Walla Walla and provided services for the community which would last long after the pageants were over.  "How the West Was Won" successfully mobilized thousands of Walla Wallans to dedicate their time and efforts to the community.  "How the West Was Won" continued to benefit the community, however, through the donations of the profit made from the pageant to meaningful groups in the community.  The money was donated to Whitman College, St. Paul's School for Girls, St. Vincent Academy, the Stubblefield Home, the Christian Home, and Odd Fellows Home for Children.[20]  The pageant helped to support the educational opportunities in Walla Walla as well as important shelters for the needy in town.  These donations improved community life for many in Walla Walla.

The Whitman Centennial and "Trails West" also made other important, lasting contributions to the community's sense of place by leaving museums permanent structures such as an outdoor amphitheatre.  The Walla Walla Union Bulletin[21]  In these ways, the Whitman Centennial gave the town of Walla Walla several ways to remember the history of the Whitmans.  The "Trails West" performance also left a gift to the town of Walla Walla.  In order to perform "Trails West," the producers of the musical arranged for an outdoor amphitheatre to be built.  Through federal grants and over $90,000 in donations an impressive amphitheatre was constructed.[22]  After the final season of "Trails West" in 1977 the amphitheatre sat unused until the year 1981 when the Walla Walla Community College performed the musical "Oklahoma."[23]  Since that summer the amphitheatre has been the home of annual community musicals.  The "Outdoor Musical" is a popular tradition among Walla Wallans to the present.  The three pioneer pageants strengthened the community of Walla Walla by donating to worthwhile organizations, providing ways to commemorate the pioneer history of the area, and building structures to benefit the community life of Walla Wallans. reported that the Whitman Centennial had made it possible for the town to purchase the Whitman Mission site, persuade the postal service to create an Oregon Trail commemorative stamp, and pass a bill making the Whitman Mission site a National Monument.

Reaching Out to the Nation

            Successful aspects of the pageants not only strengthened bonds within the community of Walla Walla, but strengthened and defined ties with its neighboring communities as these communities joined together to honor common historical roots.  The pioneer pageants were large undertakings for the small town of Walla Walla.  In order to present successful pageants, Walla Walla turned to its neighboring communities for assistance.  Immediate small towns such as Pendleton, Waitsburg, and Prescott were important participants during "How the West Was Won."[24]  Their willingness to aid Walla Walla in this event demonstrated the interconnection between these communities and the common roots in the historical events that would be presented in the pageant.  These communities supported Walla Walla in "How the West Was Won," and the Centennial Celebration in 1936 as people volunteered to participate publicly in the pageants and celebrations. 

            Walla Walla could not depend upon volunteers, however, to fill all the needed personnel for the pageant, and, therefore, contacted its surrounding communities with stern and aggressive language in the case of Native Americans, and a promotional contest in order to recruit white women.  In "How the West Was Won," Walla Walla needed to draw its surrounding communities, especially Pendleton, in order to find Native Americans to participate in the performance.[25]  Due to the, treaty of 1855 Native Americans did not reside in Walla Walla but on a reservation near Pendleton.  A card sent to the Indian tribes in preparation for the pageant read "POW WOW!  You have signed a pledge to be loyal to our pageant and we are counting upon you, with all other Indians, to keep it."[26]  Clearly, pageant directors needed to extend an invitation to Native American communities, and their desperation in the situation manifests itself in the demanding language of the card. 

During the Centennial Celebration, Walla Walla attracted its surrounding communities for participation in a different way.  Throughout the celebration, Walla Walla presented a "pioneer mother" representing each surrounding community.  These "mothers" were approximately the age of Narcissa Whitman when she made her journey west and often had pioneer ancestors.[27]  These women gladly participated in the celebration and prided themselves on representing their communities.  The involvement of surrounding communities in Walla Walla's events to honor the history of the Whitmans connected these communities by providing them with a common goal and emphasizing the shared historical bonds that already existed.

            As historical bonds strengthened the relationship between Walla Walla and its surrounding communities, pageant leaders realized that the history being presented in the pageant not only connected Walla Walla to its immediate surroundings but to the nation.  The Centennial Program dedicated the presentation to the Whitmans in a manner that expresses the high regard with which the story of the Whitmans was held.  The dedication page of the program proclaimed that the presentation was in honor of the Whitmans, "Heroic Christian soldiers and martyrs in the cause of humanity."[28]  People of Walla Walla viewed the sacrifice of the Whitmans as a noble undertaking which profited the human race and culture.  During the opening of the Centennial Celebration, Washington State Governor Clarence D. Martin declared that "This great Whitman Centennial Celebration is not only a credit to Walla Walla and the state of Washington, but to the entire United States as well."[29]  The centennial celebration honored the Whitmans who had sacrificed a comfortable life with family and friends to brave the dangers of the West.  Ultimately they lost their lives, but they prepared the way for the thousands of Americans who would follow their path west.  In this manner, the story of the Whitmans offered as much to America as those of Columbus and Lewis and Clark.  Therefore, there is little wonder that citizens of Walla Walla considered the Whitman story as "a lesson in Americanism,"[30] and the Pioneer Pageant of 1923 as the means "of better understanding of what it means to be an American Citizen."[31]  Walla Walla citizens did not believe that the story being told in the pioneer pageants pertained only to Walla Walla and its immediate surroundings.  The themes of bravery, discovery, and sacrifice connected the history of the Whitmans to significant events in the history of the nation.

            Understanding the treasure of history in the Whitman story, and its potential for profit, pageant directors and the community of Walla Walla sought to attract the attention of the nation in order to tell this powerful story.  The story had potential to draw a large audience, and, consequently, large profits for the businesses of Walla Walla.  A publication entitled Centershots predicted the potential for profit in May before the first pioneer pageant:

The opportunity lies in the Pioneer Pageant, the seed will be sown by the Pioneer Pageant, the harvest will be almost incalculable, a harvest of better understanding of what it means to be an American Citizen, a harvest of widespread and favorable publicity that will bring concrete reward in dollars and cents.[32]

 

  Seeking this reward, all three pioneer pageants sought to advertise to the whole country.  Advertisements for "How the West Was Won" were broadcasted on the Washington State College radio station in 1924 in order to reach a large audience,[33] the Whitman Centennial Celebration included enthusiastic marching bands and parades that sought to reach out to the nation,[34] and the "Trails West" performance drew an audience of which sixty-five percent resided outside of Walla Walla.[35]  Several methods were utilized in an effort to attract the attention of other cities.  Stephen Penrose had initially planned to present "How the West Was Won" in 1922 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the massacre.  The city of Walla Walla, however, had grand plans for the pageant and decided to postpone the performance until 1923 in order to create a large pageant that would draw the attention of the whole country.[36]  Timing was essential for the success of the pageants. 

Success of the pageants also relied upon attracting tourists to the events.  Advertisement techniques varied, but they reflected the importance members of Walla Walla put on drawing attention to the programs.  Examples from the Centennial Celebrations exemplify the methods utilized.  Flyers promoting the Centennial Celebration contained bold rhetoric and strategies including the aggressive capitalization of certain letters and words to grab the attention of any reader.  One flyer utilized these strategies in the following structure:

            Man . . .

                        SEE! The Native Red Man in full color of primitive romance

            Horror

                        Of White Man's privation in a land of creeping redskins

            Massacre

                        Or the REDMAN'S REVENGE

            Civilization

                        of the last frontier[37]

 

The language and format of this flyer served to capture the attention of the reader and spark his or her interest in a presentation that could include shocking aspects such as "the REDMAN'S REVENGE."  These advertisements attracted tourists, and Walla Wallans, to investigate such startling concepts.

            Citizens of Walla Walla also utilized their manner of dress to attract the attention of other cities.  In 1936, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that a group of Walla Wallans had spent the day in Seattle dressed as pioneers from 100 years before.[38]  The picture which accompanied the article contained the startling anachronism of these Walla Wallans strolling down the city streets of Seattle.  While wearing pioneer dress attracted the attention of Seattle, Walla Wallans also discovered that wearing as few clothes as possible could also attract attention.  Incredibly risquŽ for 1936, girls with very little clothing made their way into newspapers, flyers, and even the official program to promote the Centennial Celebrations.  In preparation for the Centennial Celebration, downtown Walla Walla had transformed itself into a pioneer town.  Elaborate decorations, clever name changes, and employees dressed in pioneer garb hid the modern town of 1936.  Although this was a creative and interesting transformation, the Spokesman Review included not a picture of downtown Walla Walla in order to promote the Centennial Celebration but one of a pretty girl wearing a dress made of Centennial Celebration buttons, and covering her as if there was a shortage of these buttons (See Figure 3).[39]  Likewise, a picture of a pretty girl in a cowboy hat with a short skirt and no sleeves points a wagon train west on the official cover of the Centennial Program (See Figure 4).[40]  Flaunting the bodies of these girls certainly caught the attention of those outside of Walla WallaIn an effort to attract a large audience and bring profit to Walla Walla through tourism, directors of the pioneer pageants launched extensive and dramatic advertisement campaigns which utilized several strategies ranging from bold rhetoric on flyers to flaunting young girls bodies. 

The Evolution of the Whitman Story

            The extensive advertisement campaigns utilized by directors of the pioneer pageants brought Walla Walla material wealth, but the impact of these pageants affected much more than the businesses in town.  Washington State Governor Clarence D. Martin gave a speech opening the Centennial Celebration explaining the significance of remembering the history of the area to the present members of the town: 

            As we look around us and see our modern civilization; as we glory in and enjoy             the rich natural resources of this great state of ours, we come to realize it has all             been made possible by those men and women who blazed the trails and suffered             all the hardships and privations of pioneer life.[41]

 

Governor Martin understood that the identity of a town is not created in one day.  Rather it is made up of the legacies of those who have come before and will be affected by those in the present and those who will follow.  The stories presented in the three pioneer pageants, especially how they portrayed Native American life, the Whitman's nature and purpose, and the massacre of 1847, reflect an evolving perspective of the Whitman story.  The evolution of this story sheds further light to the complicated view that present day citizens of Walla Walla hold of the Whitmans.

              Native American life received little attention in the presentation of 1923 and 1924.  In the section concerning Lewis and Clark, the Indians feared the white men, and when they felt safe they traded.[42]   There were no Native American women or children.  The absence of Native American culture in the pageant conveys the view of the role of Native Americans in the history of the West.  To the people of Walla Walla in 1923 and 1924, the culture and history of the Native Americans were not significant enough to include in a pageant representing the history of the area.  The script of "How the West Was Won" alludes to the Native Americans on a few occasions.  The pioneers were praised for having bravely battled the "red-skin" and the British.[43]  Grouped with the British, the Native Americans became the enemies of the brave and noble pioneers.  In 1923 and 1924 Native Americans were viewed as enemies whose culture had little significance in the history of the northwest.

            While the Native Americans played a small role in the development of the Northwest according to "How the West Was Won," the Whitmans entered the pageant as the harbingers of civilization, saviors of the west, and creators of family life.  In "How the West Was Won," the narrator of the pageant, the Voice of the Valley, described to inquiring boys that in 1836 the British had a stronghold on the area.  This news disturbed the boys, but the Voice of the Valley comforted them with these words:

            Wait!  Seven years slip by, and you shall see,

            A short day's ride form old Fort Walla Walla,

            The home, the school, the church and Waiilatpu. 

            The builded better than they dreamed, those men

            And dauntless women, brave Americans,

            who dared the perils of the wilderness          

            For love of Christ and precious Indian souls,            

            And planted here their homes.  Where woman goes,

            Peace and the gentler arts of human kind

            Go too.  The home, the school the flag! 

            Watch now and see how to the Mission door,

            Devoted to the Cross and Womanhood,

            a flag shall come once more, to stay forever,

            Born by a host of restless, eager men,

            The pioneers.  Faith kindles faith, and where

            A woman goes, women, and men, shall follow,

            And children, arbiters of destiny.[44] 

 

In this monologue the Voice of the Valley expressed the tone of the pageant towards the Whitmans.  They were noble pioneers seeking to save "Indian souls" and establish a family in the new land.  The presence of Narcissa signified the quiet and gentle nature of their mission according to the pageant.  Narcissa's presence also foretold of the establishment of homes in the west which included children who would carry out the destiny of the land.  The British did not have white families in the area.  Later in the pageant, Marcus was also attributed with saving the west from British hands when he rode East in 1842 and led a wagon train West in 1843.[45]  The pageant of 1923 and 1924 displayed the Whitmans as noble and gentle people who brought civilization to the West and saved the land from British hands.

            Considering the noble and gentle characters of the Whitmans in the pageant, it is no surprise that the depiction of the massacre of 1847 blamed the Native Americans for a cruel act of hatred.  The Voice of the Valley prefaced the interpretation of the massacre by giving an overview of the event.  Without providing details she attributed the cause of the massacre to "jealousy and hate Roused by the hellish passions of men's hearts."[46]  This suggested that the Native Americans reacted to their basic impulses and the result was a sinful act: the murder of the Whitmans.  There is no room in this outlook to justify the act of the CayuseÑonly to condemn them.  The enactment of the massacre which followed the monologue of the Voice of the Valley suggested that the massacre of the Whitmans was a terrible and barbaric event.  To emphasize this point, the pageant did not do a re-enactment of the massacre but a representative dance in which a messenger of Death (a dancer) entered a group of joyful dancers and pantomimed the massacre.[47]  By choosing an alternate form of representation of the massacre, the pageant left the events to the imaginations of the audience.  The audience only knew the events were too barbaric to be on stage.  The abstract rendition of the massacre could have left a grisly picture in the minds of the audience.  Lacking justification for the actions of the Cayuse, "How the West Was Won" presented the massacre as a savage and gruesome act.

            The Whitman Centennial pageant, "Wagon's West," differed from "How the West Was Won" in its depiction of Native American culture and some of the causes of the massacre of 1847.  The presentation of the Whitmans as noble people who established a family in the West and saved the West from British hands remained unchanged.  The presentation of Native American culture, however, differed.  Unlike "How the West Was Won," "Wagon's West" included an act devoted to "The Indian."  A synopsis of the act noted that the women were busy while the "men are summoned from their carefree idleness to a council with the white man."[48]  Although "Wagon's West" included a description of Native American culture, the description suggested the uselessness of the culture as a productive lifestyle.  This synopsis implies that Native American men were accustomed to the women making life comfortable and easy for them.[49]  Another scene in the pageant which included a Native American was the scene addressed the death of Alice Clarissa.  In the pageant Old Bones, a Cayuse man, found Alice and returned her body to her parents.  The local newspaper described the scene as "an excellent opportunity to pay a compliment to good Indians of that day and since."[50]  The use of the terminology "good Indians" implies that there must have been "bad Indians" as well.  Although the act of Old Bones may have portrayed loyalty to the Whitmans, his act was not enough to redeem his people of condemnation for the massacre of 1847.  "Wagon's West" included descriptions of Native Americans and their culture, but the presentation was biased as it displayed lazy men and a group of people who could be categorized into a simple "good" or "bad."

            Although the presentation of the Native Americans differed from the previous pageant, the estimation of the Whitmans remained consistent.  A brochure describing the events of the Centennial announced that the celebration, pageant included, was dedicated to "The heroic services of Dr. and Narcissa Whitman, as pioneer homemakers and spiritual and medical leaders of this vast Northwest."[51]  This view of the Whitmans as brave and "heroic" figures who were the first to establish a home in the Northwest remained an integral part of the Whitman story in 1936.  Also consistent with the 1923 story, "Wagon's West" included a scene in which Marcus met with President Taylor to discuss the worth of Oregon and lead a wagon train West in 1843.[52]  In this manner Marcus was also given credit for saving Oregon from the hands of the British.  The presentation of the Whitmans as noble, gentle homemakers, who saved Oregon for the United States, remained a constant theme throughout "How the West Was Won" and "Wagons West."

            The explanation of the massacre, however, differed in the two pageants.  "Wagon's West" addressed the concept that the Native Americans were scared to lose their land.  The pageant took this concept further and used this fear to explain that the Native Americans were vulnerable to believe the coaxing of two men: Tomahas (Cayuse) and Joe Lewis (half Native American, half white).  "Wagons West" showed these men convincing the others that Marcus Whitman was the man responsible for the sudden rush of white settlers.[53]  "Wagons West" did not include a vague choreographed symbolic representation of the massacre; rather, it depicted the event directly.  However, instead of blaming all Native Americans, the presentation blamed "bad Indians" Tomahas and Joe Lewis.  Still viewing some Native Americans as enemies, the pageant of 1936 did not sugar coat the massacre, but addressed the event directly and blamed specific men for the tragedy.

            In 1976 and 1977 "Trails West" told a story of the Whitmans greatly evolved from the pageant of 1936.  However, some aspects of the earlier pageants remained in "Trails West."  The presentation of Native Americans and their culture was drastically different in "Trails West" than it had been in previous pageants.  The first sign of the evolution of the view of the Native Americans was the cover of the Program for the musical.  The cover in 1977 included a large picture of the profile of the head of a Native American chief with a smaller profile of the head of a white man (See Figure 5).[54]  The difference in size suggested a greater importance had been placed on the Native American in the story than had previously been addressed in the pageants of 1923 and 1924 and 1936.  The profile of the Native American, however, remained behind the white man, suggesting that the Native American, although important, still remained in the background.  The emotions of the Native Americans involved in the Whitman story received much more attention in "Trails West."  In the opening of the musical, an old chief gave a lengthy monologue in which he expressed his response to the presence of white men in the West.  He explained,

            This was my country.  The mountains, the valleys, the rivers, the plainsÑin the             beginning, all were mine. . . .The white man left his homeland where I was content to stay.  I wonder why he came?  Was his homeland bad?  Did greedy         men take his land and drive him away?  I do not know.  But I wonder why he     came.  I wonder why he came . . .[55] 

Reading the script this clearly addressed the views of the Native Americans in a way that the earlier pageants had not even implied.  The passage, however, was not as open minded as the script seems to imply.  Watching the video of this scene one discovers that the man who played this old chief used crude sign language and an accent of slow, broken English to present this monologue.[56]  Although the language of this scene seemed to imply an open attitude toward the emotions of the Native Americans, the presentation of the scene kept prejudices of Native Americans in tact.  The concept of "good Indians" versus "bad Indians" also appeared in "Trails West."  One scene emphasized that one Native American Chief understood that Marcus Whitman could not save all of the Indians from the disease that was passing through their tribe.  This Chief explained that he understood that some would die and some would live.  He also expressed his faith in Marcus as a competent doctor.[57]  This view differed from other Indians in the tribe, particularly the murderers of Marcus Whitman who killed in part because of Marcus Whitman's failure as a doctor.  As in "Wagons West," the presentation of a "good Indian" implied the presence of "bad Indians."  Ultimately, although the language of "Trails West" seemed to be more open toward the emotions of the Native Americans, the presentation of the musical kept prejudices about Native Americans intact.

            The overall depiction of the Whitmans remained unchanged in "Trails West;" however, a more complete story was told which included some of the struggles the Whitmans had at Waiilatpu.  The overall picture of the Whitmans in "Trails West" was one of bravery and faithfulness consistent with the presentation of the couple in earlier pageants.  The Whitmans were credited with bringing Christianity, agriculture and letters, to the West and making the mission a haven for travelers.[58]  In a slightly hypocritical statement, the program of the musical offered the following compliment to the missionary couple: "in an age careless of the rights of the aborigines, the Whitmans were among the noblest of the Western pioneers."[59]  As discussed earlier, "Trails West" was not an entirely politically correct presentation.  However, this statement showed that although the views of the Native Americans were being taken into account in a way that had not previously been done, the view of the Whitmans did not fall into a darker light.  Instead, they were still praised for being noble.  "Trails West" did include the obstacles that the Whitmans faced at Waiilatpu.  The musical addressed the contention between missionary couples[60] and the lack of success the Whitmans had in converting the Cayuse to Christianity.[61]  In "Trails West," Marcus was not given credit for saving Oregon from Britain, and the Whitmans were carefully criticized for attending more to the emigrants than the Native Americans.[62]  Although these criticisms of the Whitmans were included in the musical, they could not override the sweeping view of the Whitmans as noble people who had good intentions in the West.

            "Trails West" also presented a conflicting version of the Massacre in which there were justifications provided for the event, but ultimately the event narrowed down to the actions of a small group of "bad Indians."  "Trails West" addressed the disease which was sweeping through the Cayuse tribe prior to the massacre.  The musical revealed that half of the tribe died while most whites caught only a slight fever.[63]  Fear of the disease and fear of losing their land were compounded in "Trails West" to produce the same "bad Indian" effect that existed in "Wagon's West."  In "Trails West" Joe Lewis and Tom Hill (also half Native American and half white) spread rumors that Marcus Whitman was not helping the Native Americans but poisoning them.[64]  The program for "Trails West" explained that the Native Americans were scared, but only a small group of the Cayuse attacked the Whitmans.[65]  This perspective took into account several factors which led to the massacre of the Whitmans in 1847.  However, the musical did not break free of the "good and bad Indian" prejudice which had appeared in earlier pageants. 

            The changes of the Whitman story as presented in the pioneer pageants represented the evolution of the story in the eyes of the public.  Over the span of the half century from 1923-1976, the Whitman story took on a new dimension.  The Native Americans in the story, who had little significance in "How the West Was Won," became important figures who had emotions and opinions in "Trails West."  This evolution was not complete, however, because "Trails West" was far from being politically correctÑmany prejudices remained.  Other key aspects of the Whitman story withstood the test of time and remained in all three pioneer pageants.  For example, the Whitmans were depicte as noble and brave heroes of the West in each pageant.  The portrayal of the massacre also maintained key elements.  Each pageant presented the massacre as an evil act.  In doing this, the pageants distinguished between "good" and "bad" Indians when explaining the event.  Therefore, although the evolution of the Whitman story was one in which time extracted more politically correct elements from the plot, the pageants could not break away from depicting the Whitmans as heroes and the Native Americans as villains.   

            The pioneer pageants helped Walla Walla define a sense of place by strengthening bonds within the community, defining the importance of Walla Walla to the nation, and emphasizing the noble actions of those who made the establishment of Walla Walla possible, thereby defining the obligation of Walla Walla to live up to its predecessors.  Bonds within the community were strengthened as members of the community worked together to present the history of the area.  Bonds were also strengthened as citizens collectively abandoned social norms while celebrating their pioneer heritage.  Finally, each pageant donated to the community in ways that continue to enrich the area.  Walla Wallans used the pageants to represent the importance of the Whitmans, and therefore Walla Walla, to the United States.  Juxtaposing the Whitmans with Lewis and Clark, the pageants imply that as Lewis and Clark's journey was essential to the development of the United States, so was the mission of the Whitmans significant.  Finally, the pageants presented the Whitmans as noble characters who sacrificed their lives as they opened the West for American settlers.  The noble blood of the Whitmans, spilt by those they had come to serve, served to remind Walla Wallans that a heroic legacy lay behind their town, and therefore, citizens of Walla Walla who took part in any way in these pageants were reminded to live up to the legacy of the Whitmans.

A Modern Sense of Place 

            The presentation of the Whitmans as heroes has continued in Walla Walla, and can be seen by the memorials which the people have built and continue to support in 2004.  Examples of such memorials are Whitman College, the Marcus Whitman Hotel, and the Whitman Mission National Park and Museum.  Whitman College has been a physical reminder of the impact of the Whitmans for nearly 150 years.  In 1859, Reverend Cushing Eells, a friend of the Whitmans, established Whitman College, originally Whitman Seminary, in honor of the recently deceased missionary couple.[66]  Today Whitman College thrives in downtown Walla Walla.  By establishing an educational institution in the name of Marcus Whitman, Rev. Eels ensured that the legacy of the Whitmans in Walla Walla would include the gentle, noble aspect of education among the people.  The College also attracts people from throughout the country as Whitman College has become a prestigious private university which enrolls students from around the nation as well as around the world.  Whitman College represents a continuation of a sense of place in Walla Walla by carving a place in the world and having a strong legacy of the Whitmans as bearers of education.

The Marcus Whitman Hotel has also become a powerful aspect of Walla Wallans' sense of place in relation to the Whitman story.  The people of Walla Walla began construction on the Marcus Whitman hotel in 1927, three years after "How the West Was Won."  The hotel would be an extravagant edition to Walla Walla, and the decision to name the hotel after Marcus Whitman indicates that the Whitmans were a powerful figure in the minds of Walla Wallans at the time.  The hotel opened on September 1, 1928 and became the symbol of success in Walla Walla culture.  Important visitors such as President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson, Louis Armstrong, and Shirley Temple stayed in the Marcus Whitman Hotel.  Although the hotel aged and became unusable, it still stood as a reminder of elegance and success in downtown Walla Walla.  In 1999, Kyle Mussman and his Real Estate Improvement Company bought the building in order to restore and expand it.  The project had incredible support in the town, and the finished product today serves the same purpose as the original structure in 1928.  The website of the hotel currently reveals the importance of the Whitmans to Walla Wallans as their story is juxtaposed with a reference to Lewis and Clark.   The site introduces the history of the hotel with this phrase: "In 1805 and 1806, Lewis and Clark blazed a trail through the Walla Walla region and loved what they saw."[67]  This reference to Lewis and Clark, which is immediately followed by a brief history of the Whitmans, suggests that the story of the Whitmans belongs in the same paragraph as the story of Lewis and Clark, and, therefore, the story of the Whitmans has a role to the nation comparable to the story of Lewis and Clark.  The Marcus Whitman Hotel reveals that the support of the Whitmans still thrives in Walla Walla, and continues to help Walla Wallans define their role in the nation.

The strongest connection current residents of Walla Walla have to the story of the Whitmans, however, is the Whitman Mission National Park and Museum.  The park and museum were originally made possible by the Whitman Centennial Celebration and the funds raised by that event.[68]  Today the site includes a visitor's center and museum as well as the sites of the original mission house and mill pond.  The grave of the Whitmans and the other victims of the massacre of 1847, the Whitman monument, and the approximate grave of Alice Clarissa are also included in a visitor's trail located next to the visitor's center.  The park is a popular location for school field trips, and in this manner many Walla Walla residents are exposed to the presentation at the park. 

This presentation reflects the major themes which have made the Whitman story a powerful part of the sense of place in Walla Walla such as the importance of Walla Walla in the nation and the noble origin and unique destiny of the town.  The Whitman Mission museum and a short video, "The Whitman Saga," shown to willing visitors currently make a clear connection with the death of the Whitmans and the creation of Oregon Territory through congress.  The present Strategic Plan of the Whitman Mission National Historic Site includes the following explanation with its Mission Statement:

Whitman Mission NHS provides a direct link to the story of America's             westward expansion . . . . The deaths of the Whitmans and eleven others in 1847             was a major factor in the official recognition of the Oregon Territory by the             U.S.A. in 1848 and provided impetus for the signing of the Walla Walla Treaty by             five tribes and the U.S. government in 1855.[69] 

The Whitman Mission museum presents the Whitman story in a light of national importance.  Like the presentations in the pioneer pageants, the museum presents the Whitmans as saviors of the West.

            Also consistent with the pageants, the Whitmans are depicted as an honorable couple who brought family life to the WestÑan aspect of the story which deepens the impact of the Whitmans and their death on the sense of place of Walla Wallans.  The theme of family is emphasized throughout ones visit to the historic site.  Both the museum and the visitor's trail emphasize the importance of the birth of Alice Clarissa and the tragedy of her death.  A large display in the middle of the museum symbolizes the general presentation of the Whitmans throughout the site (See Figure 6).  The display contains five Cayuse figures, including one small girl, and figures of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman.  Marcus stands next to a plow with his hand on Narcissa's shoulder.  The plow represents his intention to bring civilization to the Cayuse, and the placement of his had seems to suggest a softer dispositionÑhe has peaceful intentions.  Narcissa kneels on the ground with her arms outstretched to the young Cayuse girl who is walking towards her.  In this scene, the Cayuse seek out the Whitmans, through the young girl, rather than vice versa.  Narcissa is as a kind, motherly figure interested in the Cayuse children as she welcomes the child.  This soft and charitable view of the Whitmans relates directly to the presentations in the pioneer pageants.  By claiming that the Oregon Territory, and therefore Walla Walla, was created in the wake of the murder of such honorable figures suggests that the town of Walla Walla has a unique and noble historyÑone which requires the current residents to acknowledge the sacrifices made to make the present possible.   

            Even in the latter parts of the twentieth century, and present day, the Whitmans have been viewed as noble figures who died for their cause.  The recent emergence of New Western History in which the view of the Native Americans has become prevalent in the story of the West challenged the nobility of the Whitmans.  Yet, Walla Wallans can not present the Whitmans in a negative light, as seen in "Trails West" and the Whitman Mission National Park and Museum.  David Glassberg explains that the history of an area "addresses fundamental, emotionally compelling questions about [the residents'] past that they need to authenticate and confirm, embedded in a narrative that is theirs, real and trueÑessential for understanding who they are and where they live."[70]  To residents of Walla Walla, the pageants were their own narratives with which they used to answer questions about "who they [were] and where they [lived]."  Questioning the nobility of the Whitmans would question the unique vision of Walla Walla as the legacy of these heroic persons, and, therefore, would question the sense of place Walla Wallans have created based upon the Whitman story.  Attempting to take into account the increasingly open views of modern historians while keeping the noble aspect of the history of the area has led Walla Wallans to the complicated view they hold of the Whitman story today.  The Whitmans played an important role in the settlement of the Walla Walla area, and they continue to play an important role in the creation of the town's collective identity.

 

Bibliography

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Bennet, Robert A.  Portrait of a Western Town 1804-1899.  Walla Walla: Pioneer Press Books, 1982.

Bennet, Robert A. A Town Built to be a City 1900-1919.  Walla Walla: Pioneer Press Books, 1982.

Bennet, Robert A. A Nice Place to Raise a Family 1920-1949.  Walla Walla: Pioneer Press Books, 1988.

"Business."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 4 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Broadcast News of Big Pageant by WSC Radio." Walla Walla Union, 27 April 1924, Whitman College Archives, How the West Was Won Collection, Box 1.

Carl W. Art Advertising Agency.  "Proposal."  16 January 1924.

"Centennial has Religious Aspect."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 10 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Centennial is Attracting Many."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 12 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Centennial Profits Go to Mission Site."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 9 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Centennial Program Scores."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 13 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Conveniences Few in Dr. Whitman's Day."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin. 7 June 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Centennial Fulfills Promises."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 30 September 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Centennial Nets $10,800 Towards national Shrine."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 24 February 1937, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Colonel Weyrauch is Manager of the Pageant."  Walla Walla Union, 16 March 1924, Whitman College Archives, How the West Was Won Collection, Box 1.

"First Work is Due Soon on Mission."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 21 February 1940, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Governor Opens Centennial Fete."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 13 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

Guilick, Bill.  "Trails West."  1976, Whitman College Archives, "Trails West" Collection.

Gulick, Bill.  "'Trails West' was Neither Too Long nor Expensive to Produce."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 4 September 1988, Whitman College Archives, "Trails West" Collection.

"Hall of History Shows Pioneering Along Six Lines."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 9 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"HI, Seattle!  Comin' Over?  Walla Wallans in Spurs and Bonnetts."  Seattle Post Intelligence, 8 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File. 

"History."  http://www.marcuswhitmanhotel.com/index.cfm?page=nav7&psub=1. Viewed 27 November 2004.

"History of the College."  http://www.whitman.edu/content/about/history-of-the-college. Viewed 27 November 2004.

Hillhouse, Vicki.  "Marcus Whitman Namesake Tours Walla Walla."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 12 April 2003.  On-line, accessed 10 September 2004; available    from http://www.union-bulletin.com/print.asp?ArticleID=380&SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1.

Hitchcock, Ripley.  "The Whitman Legend."  New York Times, 28 September 1901, BR1.

"How Oregon was Saved."  New York Times, 29 November 1897, 5.

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"Indians to Rehearse."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 4 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File .

"Indian Tribesmen are Here for Centennial."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 13 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Keep Your Relics is West's Advice." Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 19 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

Korengel, Kathy and Sheila Hagar.  "Statue to Honor Historic Cayuse Leader Gets Boost."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 12 June 2004.  On-line, accessed 10 September 2004; available from http://www.union-bulletin.com/print.asp?             ArticleID=21990&SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1.

Langdon, John W.  "The Necessity of a Highway to the Whitman Mission and the Need of Beautifying the Grounds for a Permanent Memorial."  The Walla Walla Booster.  Vol. 1 No. 6.  6 July 1922, 8.

"Let's Boost."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 11 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Many Ordering Whitman Stamps."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 30 June 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Mission Restoration Nearer."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 11 September 1939, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

Mitchell, Claire.  "Walla Walla Remembers."  Walla Walla  Summerfest, Inc, 1969, Whitman College Archives, "Trails West" Collection, Business Files 1.

"More About Walla Walla's Pioneer Pageant in 1923-24."  Fifty Years Plus News.  Vol. 14 No. 2.  Fall 1993, Whitman College Archives, "How the West Was Won" Collection.

"Museum Seeking Many Articles."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 6 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"National Monument Brought Step Nearer."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 18 May 1938, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

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"Not Forgotten."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 17 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Not to be Forgotten."  Seattle Sunday Times Rotograbure, Approx. 16 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

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"Pageant Spirit is Re-Awakening in Walla Walla."  Walla Walla Union, 23 April 1924, Whitman College Archives, How the West Was Won Collection, Box 1.

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Penrose, Stephan B.L.  How the West Was Won: An Historical Pageant, Produced 6-7 June 1923 and 28-29 May 1924, 1923.

"Pioneer Mothers."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, No date, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Pioneer Pageant How the West Was Won."  Brochure, 1923.  Whitman College Archives.  Pioneer Pageant Box 2 Folder 7.

"The ÔPioneer Pageant' ÔHow the West Was Won' and What it Means to the Walla Walla Valley."  Center Shots Vol. 3 No. 5.  May 1923.

"The ÔPioneer Pageant' Should Live."  Walla Walla Union, 25 June 1924, Whitman College Archives, How the West Was Won Collection, Box 1.

"Play Selection Should be Based on Finances."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 23 August 1988, Whitman College Archives, "Trails West" Collection.

"Pow Wow."  Card sent to Native Americans in Walla Walla area, 1923 or 1924. Whitman College Archives, Pioneer Pageant Box 2 Folder 6.

"Restoration of Monuments Approved."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 30 January 1940.

Rotary Club Page.  "The Whitman Pageant."  The Walla Walla Booster.  Vol. 1 No. 6.  6 July 1922, 9. Seattle Times, 18 May 1924.

"Signed Cards Show Citizens Back Pageant."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 11 January 1923, Whitman College Archives, "How the West Was Won" Collection, Box 1.

"Silence Greets End of Pageant."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 15 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Solemn Feature Attracting Many."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 2 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"The Meeting of Two Worlds: Whitman Mission Museum." http://www.nps.fov/whmi/educate/whmitg/1whmi1.htm.  Viewed 27 November 2004.

"They'll Wear Centennial Dress Now!"  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 3 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Thousands to Read Whitman Feature."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 8 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Ticket Sale Drive Opens Here Today."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 8 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Title Taken to Grounds of Mission."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 18 February 1940, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Trails West."  Program for performance.  7 July-10 September 1977, Whitman College Archives, "Trails West" Collection.

"Trails West Audience Survey."  1977, Whitman College Archives, "Trails West" Collection.

"Trails West."  Video recording.  Whitman College Archives, "Trails West" Collection.

"United."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 3 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Volunteer Groups Made Centennial Successful Event." Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 24 February 1937, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"'Wagons West' Opens Centennial."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 13 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Walla Walla Pays Tribute to Early Settlers."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 9 August 1936, 3A, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Wheel To Walla Walla."  Advertisement brochure for Centennial celebration.  Walla Walla, 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection.

"Whitman Centennial Celebration: Official Program."  13-16 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection.

"Whitman Centennial."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 9 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Whitman Family here from Utah."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 11 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Whitman Memorial Tribute Launched in Great Festival."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 12 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

"Whitman Mission Called Obligation."  Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 16 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

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Secondary Sources

Comer, Douglas C.  Ritual Ground: Bent's Old Fort, World Formation, and the Annexation of the Southwest.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.

Deverell, William.  Whitewashed Adobe: the Rise of Los Angeles and the remaking of its Mexican Past.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.

Drury, Clifford Merrill.  Marcus Whitman, M.D.: Pioneer and Martyr.  Caldwell: The Caxton Printers, Ltd, 1937.

Glassberg, David.  Sense of History: The Place of the Past in American Life.  Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001.

Jefferey, Julie Roy.  Converting the West: a Biography of Narcissa Whitman.  Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991.

Nixon, Oliver W.  How Marcus Whitman Saved Oregon.  Chicago: Star Publishing Company, 1895. 

Vibert, Elizabeth.  Traders' Tales: Narratives of Cultural Encounters in the Columbia Plateau, 1807-1846.  Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

 


[1] All of this information can be found in the following book: Clifford Drury, Marcus Whitman, M.D.:Pioneer and Martyr,  Caldwell: The Caxton Printers, Ltd, 1937.

[2] Kathy Korengel and Sheila Hagar, "Statue to Honor Historic Cayuse Leader Gets Boost," Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 12 June 2004, On-line, accessed 10 September 2004; available from http://www.union-bulletin.com/print.asp?ArticleID=21990&SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1, 1.

[3] Clifford Merrill Drury, Marcus Whitman, M.D.: Pioneer and Martyr, (Caldwell: The Caxton Printers, Ltd, 1937), 396.

[4] Korengel and Hagar, 2.

[5] David Glassberg, Senses of History: the Place of the Past in American Life, (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001), 19.

[6] William Deverell describes the historical parade of "La Fiesta de Los Angeles" of the 1890's as looking "innocuous, even silly."  "How the West Was Won" also seems silly.  Dressing girls up as wheat and a choreographed representative dance for a massacre would certainly seem "silly" if presented to a modern audience.  See William Deverell, Whitewashed Adobe: the Rise of Los Angeles and the Remaking of its Mexican Past, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), 51.

[7] "Whitman Centennial Celebration: Official Program," 13-16 August, 1936, 7-15, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection.

[8] Stephan Penrose, How the West Was Won: An Historical Pageant, Produced 6-7 June 1923 and 28-29 May 1924, 1923, 3.

[9] "How the West Was Won: Pageant of Walla Walla History," Christian Science Monitor, 21 May 1923, Whitman College Archives, How the West Was Won Collection, Box 1.

[10] Penrose, How the West Was Won, 3.

[11] "How the West Was Won," Christian Science Monitor.

[12] Robert A. Bennett, A Nice Place to Raise a Family 1920-1949, Walla Walla: Pioneer Press Books, 1988, 38-47.

[13] "Whitman Centennial Celebration: Official Program," 1, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection.

[14] "Volunteer Groups Made Centennial Successful Event," Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 24 February 1937, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

[15] "Not Forgotten," Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 17 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

[16] "United," Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 3 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

[17] Bennet, A Nice Place to Raise a Family, 127.

[18] "Not to be Forgotten," Seattle Sunday Times Rotograbure, Approx. 16 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

[19] "They'll Wear Centennial Dress Now!" Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 3 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

[20] Whitman College Archives, How the West Was Won Collection, Box 1.

[21] "Centennial Fulfills Promises," Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 30 September 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

[22] Bill Gulick, "'Trails West' was Neither Too Long nor Expensive to Produce," Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 4 September 1988, Whitman College Archives, "Trails West" Collection.

[23] "Play Selection Should be Based on Finances," Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 23 August 1988, Whitman College Archives, "Trails West" Collection.

[24] "Nearby Towns will Support Valley's Show," Walla Walla Union, 27 April 1924, Whitman College Archives, How the West Was Won Collection.

[25]The people of Los Angeles also had to import Native Americans to participate in their historical parade entitled, "La Fiesta de Los Angeles."  William Deverell explains that the parade included a float of "pueblo Indins who had been shipped in boxcars from Yuma to play the part of ÔAztecs.'"  Deverell's language here suggests that the directors of "La Fiesta de los Angeles utilized methods more aggressive than those taken by the directors of the pioneer pageant which will be discussed shortly.  The theme of importing Native Americans and doing so aggressively is a constant theme between the two productions.  See William Deverell, Whitewashed Adobe: the Rise of Los Angeles and the Remaking of its Mexican Past, Berkeley: University of California Press, 66.

[26] "Pow Wow," Whitman College Archives, How the West Was Won Collection Box 2 Folder 6.

[27] "Pioneer Mothers," Union Bulletin, 1936, Whitman College Archives, Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

[28] Centennial Program, Whitman College Archives, Whitman Centennial Collection, 1.

[29] "Governor Opens Centennial," Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 13 August 1936.

William Deverell describes a similar attitude associated with the "Mission Play," a theatrical version of Los Angeles, California's past by John Steven McGroarty.  The play opened in 1912 and found incredible support throughout California.  The "Mission Play" was described in an advertising campaign as "just as much an American institution as the Grand Canyon, th eYosemite Valley, the Niagra Falls or the capitol at Washington."  Like Walla Wallans, residents of California viewed this drama of their history as being of vaue to the entire United States.  See William Deverell, Whitewashed Adobe:  the Rise of Los Angeles and the remaking of its Mexican Past, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), 238.

[30]Percy Jewett Burrell, "The Pageant and the People," Whitman College Archives, How the West Was Won Collection, Box 2 Folder 7.

[31] "The Pioneer Pageant ÔHow the West Ws Won' and what it means to the Walla Walla Valley," Centershots, May 1923 Vol. 3 No. 5.

William Deverell discusses a similar attitude associeated with a historical parade called "La Fiesta de Los Angeles" produced in L.A. in the 1890's.  The historical aspect of the parade led many people to feel "that the Fiesta was Ôsuch an object lesson as has never berore been seen in the country."  Like the pioneer pageants in Walla Walla, residents of L.A. viewed their production as having high value in their culture and education of their people.  See William Deverell, Whitewashed Adobe:  the Rise of Los Angeles and the remaking of its Mexican Past, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), 66.

[32] "The Pioneer Pageant and what it means," Centershots Vol 3 No. 5.

[33] "Broadcast News of Big Pageant by WSC Radio," Walla Walla Union, 27 April 1924, Whitman College Archives, How the West Was Won Collection.

[34] Whitman College Archives, Whitman Centennial Collection Box 4 Envelope 2.

[35] Bill Gulick, "Trails West was neither too long nor expensive to produce," Union Bulletin, 4 September 1988.

[36] Rotary Club Page, "The Whitman Pageant," The Walla Walla Booster, Vol. 1 No. 6.  6 July 1922, 9, Whitman College Archives.

[37] "Wheel to Walla Walla," Whitman College Archives, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection.

[38] "Hi Seattle," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 8 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

[39] "All Buttoned Up," Spokesman Review, 5 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

[40] Centennial Program, Whitman College Archives Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection.

[41] "Governor Opens Centennial Fete," Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 13 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

[42] Penrose, How the West Was Won, 10-11.

[43] Penrose, How the West Was Won, 9.

[44] Penrose, How the West Was Won, 16.

[45] Penrose, How the West Was Won, 16.

[46] Penrose, How the West Was Won, 23.

[47] Penrose, How the West Was Won, 24.

[48] "Whitman Centennial Celebration: Official Program," 8, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection.

[49] Elizabeth Vibert addresses this view of Native American culture in her book Traders' Tales: Narratives of Cultural Encounters in the Columbia Plateau, 1807-1846.  Vibert analyzes the narratives of fur traders in the early nineteenth century concerning Native Americans.  The fur traders viewed Native American men as lazy because they did not provide for their families.  Fur traders of European descent saw women digging for roots and preparing the meat and skin of animals as proof that the men were failing to provide the essentials for their families' survival.  This led to the belief that Native American men were lazyÑa theme continued in 1936 in "Wagon's West."  See Vibert Elizabeth, Traders' Tales, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 127-130. 

[50] "Silence Greets End of Pageant," Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 15 August 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

[51] "Wheel to Walla Walla," Whitman College Archives.

[52] "Whitman Centennial Celebration: Official Program,"10.

[53] "Whitman Centennial Celebration: Official Program,"11.

[54] "Trails West," Program for performance, 7 July-10 September 1977.

[55] Bill Gulick, "Trails West," 13-14, Whitman College Archives, "Trails West" Collection.

[56] "Trails West," video, Whitman College Archives, "Trails West" Collection.

[57] Gulick, "Trails West," 143-44, Whitman College Archives, "Trails West" Collection.

[58] "Trails West," Program, 21, Whitman College Archives, "Trails West" Collection.

[59] "Trails West" Program, 21.

[60] Gulick, "Trails West," 49.

[61] Gulick, "Trails West," 86.

[62] Gulick, "Trails West," 116-117.

[63] Gulick, "Trails West,"139-140.

[64] Gulick, "Trails West," 138.

[65] "Trails West," Program, 19.

[66] "History of the College," http://www.whitman.edu/content/about/history-of-the-college, viewed 27, November 2004.

[67] "History," http://www.marcuswhitmanhotel.com/index.cfm?page=nav7&psub=1, viewed 27 November 2004.

[68] "Centennial Fulfills Promises," Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 30 September 1936, Whitman College Archives Whitman Centennial Collection, Clippings File.

[69] "Whitman Mission Strategic Plan," Chapter II Mission Statement, http://www.nps.gov/whmi/stpl/stpl2.htm, viewed 23 November 2004.

[70] Glassberg, Senses of History, 209-210.