Water trough near Johnson Lake in Nespelem

I love the paranormal. I am enthusiastic about the spirit world. I haven’t really seen a ghost, or Bigfoot, or UFOs, or anything terribly out of the ordinary, but it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t invite such an occurrence.

On a whim last week I decided to go down the Johnson Lake road to see what kind of fall photos I could find. I took some pictures and posted them to Facebook, as is our usual procedure here at the Tribune. 

But within hours, I began getting some unusual responses from tribal members on a photo of a random water trough out on the wilderness.

They described seeing two stick Indians in the photo, using their smart phones to circle the faces. One saw Bigfoot.

It reminded me of how clouds form into recognizable objects. In nature, sometimes at the right moment and the right time, you can see something familiar. These circumstantial faces in nature could be considered spirits.

Within the Colville Tribes, at least, looking for stick Indians in photos has become a contemporary norm.

I recall growing up and hearing about a legendary graduation photo that had multiple in it. 

I can’t either confirm or deny the stick Indian phenomena others have seen in the photo. Maybe it’s a sign that such experiences can occur on an extremely subtle level — so insignificant you may completely miss it. Maybe something was there.

Our people feel a spiritual connection by looking at photos of nature, or physically viewing it, and finding these faces.

It’s one of the things that, today, makes us Colville. 

Cary Rosenbaum writes The Traveling NDN commentary for Tribal Tribune.

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