The Kiowa writer Scott Momaday passed this week. He was 89. I met him once, when he came to Wallowa County to make the presentation of a horse by the Wood family to the walʔwá ma, or Joseph Band Nez Perce. He’d come across the story of the horse that Chief Joseph told Erskine Wood he’d like when the 14-year-old boy stayed with him at Nespelem on the Colville Reservation in Washington. Erskine’s father, C.E.S. Wood, who had served under General Howard in the Nez Perce War and become a friend of and advocate for Joseph after the war, told the boy to ask the Chief what he might do for him in gratitude for hosting his son. Joseph said he’d like a good pony; the boy thought that his father was a powerful man, and that the Chief should have asked for something more glamorous than a horse, so did not pass the message on to his father. He told the story, and published a diary of his Days with Chief Joseph, years later.Read Rich’s Post →

The Way to Rainy Mountain, N. Scott Momaday

Here’s how I found my way to The Way to Rainy Mountain

For the past few years, the Josephy Center has had a book group. It started with small, in-person meetings, and moved online with the coming of Covid. Our last book was Murder at the Mission: A Frontier Killing, Its Legacy of Lies, and the Taking of the American West, by Blaine Harden. We were blessed to have Harden and Bobbie Conner and Chuck Sams join us for the discussion. Conner and Sams have Cayuse roots, and were consulted by Harden as he researched and wrote the book.Read Rich’s Post →

Indian Books

Our number one Josephy Library volunteer, Elnora Cameron, just returned from a trip across the North, and into the Midwest. She spent a few hours in Louise Erdrich’s Minneapolis bookstore, Birchbark Books (https://birchbarkbooks.com), and came back with a very interesting box of books by and about American Indians.Read Rich’s Post →

Indians are everywhere–again!

Deb Haaland, President-elect Biden’s nominee for Secretary of the Department of the Interior, is a 35th generation New Mexican who is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna. She will be the first enrolled member of an American Indian Nation to serve as a Cabinet secretary, and the fact that it is Interior—the federal agency designated to deal with Indian reservations and tribal issues—is, frankly, mind-blowing. In her first remarks, Haaland reminded people that one of her predecessors at Interior had called for the complete assimilation or extermination of all Indians.  Read Rich’s Post →