Thomas King, G.A. Custer, Lois Riel, David Thompson…..


Years and years ago, novelist Thomas King came to Fishtrap. Alvin Josephy had met him at a Sun Valley conference and recommended him as a reader and conversationalist. 
King ran for office in Guelph
King, tall, handsome, wearing a good white Stetson as I recall, lived up to promise, and two of his novels, Medicine Riverand Green Grass Running Water, remain personal favorites. I kept meaning to invite him back to Fishtrap—but he kept getting further away, going from the University of Minnesota to the University of Guelph, in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, where he is a professor of English today. He also has a radio show, “The Dead Dog Cafe Hour,” on CBC, and has written extensively on Indian issues on both sides of the border.
King was born in California, and his ancestors were Cherokee, Greek, and German, but he has managed to absorb Indian history and culture
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More on Nez Perce gardens and fur traders


I argued against missionary Spalding as the original source of Wallowa Nez Perce gardens in my last blog post, went on a laborious journey through Spokane House, Spokane Garry, the Church of England, and the fur trade as alternative sources of seeds and irrigation techniques. And then got onto the thought that this all happened with people and players—Hudson’s Bay, the North West Fur Company, David Thompson—who end up being on the Canadian side of history, so do not get attention in standard USA history books.

I think that last line is quite true, but my circuitous argument about Spokane Garry and his time at the Red River School under the Anglicans probably was too much. Friend and long-time historian of the fur trade John Jackson—Children of the Fur Trade—made it all simpler in a brief response to my post:

“The curmudgeon can’t resist pointing out that the early Nor’westers
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Nez Perce farmers, missionary squabbles, and the Canadian Border


“Before leaving the southern portion of the Asotin County some mention should be made of the
Indian gardens located on the north side of the Grande Ronde River about half a miles below
the mouth of the Rattlesnake Creek and on other favored spots extending on down the Grande
Ronde to the mouth of Shoemaker Creek, on low benches along the river.
“It appears that Nez Perce Indians maintained gardens in these places before white men came
to the country, and made use of irrigation in growing corn and other vegetables.
“As there appears to be no record or tradition of the growing of vegetables by the Nez Perce
Indians prior to the coming of missionary Spalding, it is safe to assume that the Indians who
maintained these gardens in the early days learned their lessons in agriculture and irrigation
from Rev. Spalding.”
I found this quote from Historic Glimpses of Asotin
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Martin Luther King Day, 2013: embracing the dream


George Fletcher, Pendleton  Roundup

In 1968, fresh back from my Peace Corps stint in Turkey, I got involved with the Poor People’s Campaign in Washington D.C. I was a bit player, a soldier carrying cautionary words—the Campaign would go on and would not be violent—to suburban churches and returning with food from them to mostly old Black citizens in the city isolated by the riots that followed Martin Luther King’s assassination. The campaign did go on, and my indelible memory is a service in a black church with Coretta Scott King, Ralph Abernathy, Hosea Williams, and one heavy set white woman at the podium and a mostly black audience linking arms and singing “We Shall Overcome.”
Like most Americans, I had grown up away from conscious racial conflict, unconscious of the role and meaning of race in America. Diversity meant six Lutheran churches in one small Minnesota town, a California high school
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