December 06, 2009

Travel observations of La Push

Educator Debbie Reese shares a friend's travelogue about the realm of the Quileute Werewolves in Twilight:

Jean Mendoza's visit to La Push and ForksMy friend, Jean Mendoza, was up in La Push and Forks recently. She sent me some notes and photographs of her visit.Mendoza's observations about the land between Forks and La Push, home of the Quileute Indians:Vampire and werewolf alike would seek in vain for forested shelter along the road between Forks and LaPush. The forest has been clearcut and mile after mile is nothing but graying, decaying stumps and snags of cedar and pine sticking up among ragged-looking green scrub that grows about 3 feet high.Some of Mendoza's observations about La Push:
  • A small reservation town (population in the low-to-mid hundreds) right on the water, with a lot of blue buildings and a few small houses

  • Resort (multiple oceanfront cabins, a motel, a restaurant) providing the tribe with some income

  • Quileute waitress, a very nice and earnest young woman, in the restaurant who tells us that LaPush is a corruption of the French "la bouche" which refers to "the mouth" of the Quillayate River; invites us to come to the tribe’s annual celebration

  • Site of an annual salmon derby which has apparently filled the motel for the 2009 weekend we hoped to stay there

  • A LaPush based tour business that will take you on a boat ride to see "Bella’s cliff" and other sites for a mere $250

  • "Jacob’s Java" coffee stand run by two tribal members--new for 2009
  • (Excerpted from Debbie Reese's American Indians in Children's Literature, 12/6/09.)

    Comment:  I wonder if any of these details made it into the books or movies. For instance, was there any mention of logging, a primary industry in the area? Was there a single mention of a tree stump?

    I'm guessing not. I'm guessing the forests were all dark, mysterious, and primeval. As befits a romantic fantasy unrelated to the reality of the Quileute Nation.

    For more on the subject, see Native Aspects of New Moon.


    dmarks said...

    Sort if like when I went right past the setting for Stephen King and Peter Straub's "Black House". There was supposed to be a very dense forest there, but all it was in reality was fields.

    dmarks said...

    I also feel sorry for that half-vampire on the population sign. He/she must have accidentally chipped a fang off or something.

    m. said...

    Pretty much. And you'd be surprised how many are romanticizing this place because of the films! I have heard, more than once, women and young girls making comments about how they want to move there. Uh...? I don't think they'd be caught dead in the real La Push OR even in the fairy tale version of a place like it if these films didn't contain stunning visuals of...BC.

    dmarks: I think the half-vampire is implied to be Bella and Edward's baby. Or whatever. I haven't read the books, so I could be mistaken, but I heard about a human/vampire "half-breed".

    Anonymous said...

    Just imagine if the Quileute Nation had been able to help fund even a small percentage of Twilight. Perhaps they would have had a little say in how their culture was portrayed...perhaps they would have been able to benefit from the HUGE financial gain the film is seeing...outside of having to just put up signs and roadside stands to attract tourists. I hope someday tribes will figure out the film game, there is so much "free money" out there (state and provincial incentives) that they could tap into to greatly reduce their finacial risk. A little gamble could really pay off big with the right film.

    Still waiting...


    dmarks said...

    I also see kind of a plus side to some of what was described.... I'm no fan of clear cutting devastation. Clearly those who expect the lush temperate-zone rain forest type landscape of the movies are very disappointed to see it all logged off. And they might voice that disappointment.

    You are right about the half-breed. I forgot that character!

    Anon: I agree. It would be easy to make the Quileute content authentic without changing the story.

    Rob said...

    Yes, the half-vampire is presumably Edward and Bella's baby Renesmee.

    Without a casino, I don't think the Quileute Nation has much money to spare for financing movies. Twilight tourism is booming, but the local logging and fishing industries aren't.

    The producers could've given the Quileutes a tiny percentage of the profits even if they didn't invest in the film. It would've been fair compensation for using their legends without permission.

    dmarks said...

    True. Even a tiny percentage of the profits of a movie that has grossed over $500 million so far would be a good deal.

    Assuming that the next two films make at least as much as "Twilight" did, in the end we're looking at $1.8 billion total gross from the film series.

    If I calculate correctly, one-third of one percent (an arbitrary and tiny percentage of the gross) would be $5.4 million. Even that could make a positive impact on a tribe with 700 enrolled members.

    By the way, when looking up La Push statistics just now, I found this page:

    click here