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My Life, by Louis Kenoyer

Reminiscences of a Grand Ronde Reservation Childhood

Louis Kenoyer, Henry Zenk and Jedd Schrock

Published in cooperation with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde

Dictated in Tualatin Kalapuya to Melville Jacobs, Jaime de Angulo, and L. S. Freeland. Introduction and Commentaries by Henry Zenk. Translation by Jedd Schrock and Henry Zenk. Foreword by Stephen Dow Beckham

7 × 10. 30 B&W photographs. 2 maps. 320 pages.

2017. ISBN 978-0-87071-883-0. Paperback, $35.00s.

My Life, by Louis Kenoyer was dictated in Tualatin Northern Kalapuya by Louis Kenoyer, the last known speaker of that language. A rare, first-person narrative by a Native American describing life on an Oregon reservation, Kenoyer’s account tells the story of his childhood on the late-nineteenth century Grand Ronde Reservation. It includes compelling descriptions of daily life in the reservation community, capturing the intermingling of new Euro-American ways with persisting indigenous beliefs and practices.


The first quarter of the narrative was dictated to Jaime de Angulo and L. S. Freeland in 1928, the remainder to Melville Jacobs in 1936. Louis Kenoyer died in 1937, before Jacobs could complete a translation with him. Jacobs subsequently prepared a transcript from the translated portions of the text, but the last quarter of the complete narrative remained untranslated until now. Henry Zenk and Jedd Schrock drew on the previously translated portions of the narrative, as well as on available supporting linguistic, ethnographic, and historical documentation, to complete the work for this volume. The result is a complete bilingual English-Tualatin text, accompanied by extensive notes and commentary providing historical and ethnographic context.

Member of AAUP