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Click to see a detail

Whirlwind at Bloomer Hill 1973 Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 in.
Collection of Herb and Peggy Puffer
Click on the painting to see a detail.

A tale passed down in Day's family told of the events depicted here. Before Euro-American settlement, a great whirlwind once destroyed a ceremonial roundhouse at Bloomer Hill in present-day Butte County. The two men pictured neglected to give thanks properly to the spirits and so their possessions were scattered and destroyed. Day explained: "The Maidu believe that when you say one word, you must honor that word with your gift. Because the Spirit tells me to do something - to give a gift - I obey, that way if anything happened I would be exonerating myself from misfortune, because I've already obeyed the spirit." The people in the painting had not done this, and so were punished.