Two weeks ago, friend Anne Richardson arranged a discussion of Daniel Sharfstein’s book on Chief Joseph and General Howard, Thunder in the Mountains, at Portland’s Black Hat Books. And this week, on Thursday, 14 of us from Wallowa County spent the day with Director Bobbie Conner and her staff at the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute on the Umatilla Reservation. The story of the gathering of tribal history of the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla—indeed of all the related Plateau tribes—and the skill and pride with which it is displayed and used to teach new generations of Indians, is inspiring.
In the end, the two experiences help me understand what my mentor Alvin Josephy called the miracle of Indian survival, and something of the big and small differences between Euro-American treatment of African slaves and indigenous Americans.
Sharfstein teaches history and law at Vanderbilt University, and is steeped in the Civil War and Reconstruction. The short version of his book is Read The Article