Introduction to Richard D. Iyall, Cowlitz

Richard D. Iyall is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe of Washington State. From 1957 until 2017 he has lived in Fresno, California.

Richard’s father was Daniel V. Iyall, an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. Dan had also been an enrolled member of the Cowlitz, when the Cowlitz allowed members to also be a member of the Yakama. Dan was born on January 8, 1928. His father, Richard’s grandfather was Frank A. Iyall. Frank was enrolled in the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and was the delegate for the Tribe. Frank’s wife was Ida Smith Iyall, who was enrolled in the Nisqually Indian Tribe. Ida’s father was Abner “Saxie” Smith, of European descent, and the first person to have an oystering business in what became the State of Washington. Ida’s mother was Margaret Powety. Margaret was related to many powerful indigenous leaders of the Northwest, including some of the most powerful chiefs and spiritual leaders in the region. Frank’s father, Richard’s great-grandfather was Iyall Wahawa. Iyall was a high priest in a religion which the indigenous people called Tshad-dam. Due to nervous twitchings experienced by healers in the church, the religion became known as the Indian Shaker Religion. They were not from India. They were indigenous to North America. The religion is not related to the Shakers of the eastern United States. Iyall was considered an apostle of the religion. His children took on his first name as their last name as a way to honor him.

Richard’s mother was Dr. Marilyn Drake Iyall Lewis, D.V.M., who was born on January 30, 1926. Her father was Ernie Drake. Her mother was Alberta Brydsen Drake. Marilyn divorced Richard’s father in the mid-1950’s. At the time she had three children, including Richard and his two younger sisters, Sandra and Deborah (who later changed her name to Debora). After the divorce Marilyn married a man named Dick Lewis. The family moved from Washington State, where all were born, to San Francisco, California in 1957. In the late fall of 1957 they moved to Fresno, California, where Dr. Marilyn Lewis became Fresno’s first female veterinarian. Sometime after moving to Fresno, Marilyn and Dick divorced.

Richard is 3/8 indigenous to the continent of the Americas in his dna ancestry and 5/8 European, including ancestors from England, Sweden, Norway and Germany.

In 1960 Marilyn had her fourth and last child, her third daughter, Diane Lewis.

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