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Children of the Sun: Stories By and About Indian Kids

Children of the Sun: Stories By and About Indian Kids

Children of the Sun: Stories By and About Indian Kids
By: Adolf and Beverly Hungry Wolf
CSKT E 98 .C5 C44 1987

While it is not strictly Salish or Kootenai, this book was an enjoyable read. It discusses the shared and distinct experiences of Native children from infancy to early adulthood. The writers wanted to share narratives from past generations to educate today’s youth about the ways their ancestors grew up.

Stories cover every aspect of childhood, including early childbirth customs, religious initiations, and courtship patterns. Since the authors are Canadian Blackfoot, this group is most represented, but stories are included from tribes all over North America.

The only Salish-specific narrative was a short history of Mary Ann Coombs, a Bitterroot Salish woman who became an adult in the late 19th century. She relates how she was “guided” by a respected elderly woman to learn the ways of an honorable Salish woman. From this woman, Mary Ann learned customs such as how to act around men, how to gather and prepare food, how to wash, and how to have strong children. She would use this training for the rest of her life.

Few stories in the collection are more than a couple pages long, which make the book a great choice for both adults and children looking to understand more about childhood life in the late 1800’s – early 1900’s.

Originally posted February 2014

Charlo’s People: The Flathead Tribe

Charlo’s People: The Flathead Tribe

Charlo’s People: The Flathead Tribe
By: Adolf Hungry Wolf
CSKT E 99 .S2 C43 1974

This is a short, well-organized book on the recent (1800’s to 1970’s) history and culture of the Salish tribe who moved to the Flathead reservation from the Bitterroot Valley under the leadership of Chief Charlo. In the beginning of the book, the author, Adolf Hungry Wolf explains his use of the term “Flathead” instead of Salish to describe this group of people. He writes,

The old-timers prefer to call themselves Selish, which is also the name of the language tribal group to which they belong. However, the name Flathead has become universally accepted by neighboring tribes, historians, and most of the tribe members, themselves. I like to use the name Flathead because it reminds me of the huge and magically-beautiful Flathead Lake that welcomes me back to the country…

Hungry Wolf compiled his collection of stories and history from other ethnological books and transcripts, as well as interviews with those he affectionately refers to as “old-timers”: Victor Vanderburg, Jerome and Agnes Vanderburg, Mary Ann Coombs and Louie Ninepipe. I enjoyed the author’s easy writing style and personal tone throughout the chapters. He explains the indigenous way of life from hunting to cooking to social family practices. All his stories share a spiritual aspect, as the People’s actions and memories were often prompted by a deep spiritual connection to the world around them.

For people looking for a basic cultural history of the Interior Salish, the book is a great alternative to other longer and more complicated histories written by anthropologists.

Originally posted October 2013

The Huckleberry Book

The Huckleberry Book

HuckleThe Huckleberry Book
By ‘Asta Bowen
CSKT SB386 .H83 B69 1988

Since huckleberry season is coming to an end, I thought it would be a great idea to let everyone know about a little book in the library called The Huckleberry Book by ‘Asta Brown. It is a great short read about the lore and facts of the huckleberry. There are many names for the huckleberry: scientific and common. Most common are whorteleberry, dewberry, bilberry, blueberry, Vaccinium globulare, Vaccinium membranaceum, Vaccinium caespitosum-the dwarf huckleberry, western huckleberry. I have to admit I did not know there were so many different names for the huckleberry and that the huckleberry is such a temperamental berry. You have to have the right climate, elevation, sunlight, terrain, and soil to satisfy this little purple ball of deliciousness that has so many people craving and hoarding all winter. Needing those huckleberries to celebrate that special occasion or just a friendly little reminder of how good those huckleberries really are when you are in the middle of a winter storm and you wish you were out on the mountain sides picking berries on those warm summer days.

This book gives you tips on the many methods of picking, cleaning, cooking, preserving, baking, history, collecting, cleaning huckleberries, keeping them fresh and navigating that special spot and how to watch out for the other animals who enjoy the huckleberry as much as we do. It is has family stories, traditional uses, absolutely a good sense of humor for the seasoned berry picker and a great informational resource guide for the novice berry picker or the berry picker who is just wanting to get some tips on next years crop.

This book also contains many preparations for huckleberries: how to freeze, dry and press them, add them to pancakes, muffins, quick-breads, fritters, cakes, pies, wines, pemmican, teas and dumplings. This little book has it all. It is quite the little read that will bring you back to your family outings, trips and summer berry picking adventures.

-Natalie Malaterre
Originally posted September 2013

Challenge to Survive: History of the Salish Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation

Challenge to Survive: History of the Salish Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation

Challenge to Survive: History of the Salish Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation
CSKT E 99 .S2 C43 2008
By: Npustin Press

From Time Immemorial: Traditional Life Pre-1800 Unit 1
Challenge to Survive is designed to give a broad overview of the tribe’s histories. Living on the reservation I have always been curious about so many events or activities but never wanted to ask why or how come you do this or do that. This book has actually helped me understand the different seasons, tools, games, hunting practices, education, creation story and spirituality of the Salish peoples. I find many familiarities to my tribe. I find myself often wondering how one tribe differs from one to the other, with customs, traditions, stories, foods, clothing but then so many of our traditions and beliefs are similar or even the same at times. This is a great series on the history of the Salish Tribes and is designed so that anyone can read and be able to understand this beautiful and bountiful community we live in.

Three Eagles and Grizzly Bear Looking Up Period: 1800-1840, Unit 2
This unit covers the economic changes that occurred on the Flathead Indian Reservation with the introduction of horses, guns and European goods. The introduction of the horse was very beneficial to the tribe, it gave them the opportunity to travel, trade and hunt more effective and efficiently. It also gave other tribes and Europeans the opportunities to come to the Rocky Mountain front which then led them to headwaters of the Hudson. The Salish had the perfect trade route that brought many travelers to the Bitterroot to trade and barter goods, which in turn helped the Salish trade and barter for the things they needed and to get rid of their surplus of items and help the travelers coming through. This unit also talks about the religious and educational changes and in the early nineteenth century.

Victor and Alexander Period: 1840-1870 Unit 3
The Victor and Alexander Period brought new challenges to the tribe. During this time period the buffalo were getting harder and harder to find and the food resources were getting sparse. So the Salish and Pend d’Oreille needed to find allies who had ammunition and supplies to help them to continue to hunt and provide for their people. They had to reach out to other tribes and white traders to get their supplies which meant more people coming into the Bitterroot Valley. Which in turn meant the harder it was to find buffalo and food for their families. So the Salish and Pend d’Oreille started to get into the trading business. They would trade horses, goods, weapons, animal hides, and buffalo robes for old tired cattle that were coming through the area. Once they obtained the cattle they would brand the cattle with their brands and let them roam their traditional lands and get healthy. In turn they would use the cattle to help feed the tribe and also as a bargaining chip when it came to dealing with white settlers and government agencies. The trade of the cattle and bargaining also helped them become better farmers, ranchers, and entrepreneurs and it gave a chance to the buffalo, elk and deer in the area to start making a comeback.

Charlo and Michel Period: 1870-1910 Unit 4
This section looks at the first social and political changes impacting the tribe between 1870 and 1910. It was one of the biggest political challenges facing the Salish and Pend d’Oreille. There was conflict among the tribe, the white community and other surrounding tribes for dominance of hunting grounds and the surrender of their assets and independence. Tribal leaders accepted some of the change that had plagued their people, but had not been so accepting to other changes like Christianity, the expansion of ranches and farms, the loss of the buffalo, the teachings of English and mathematics, intrusion of the sovereign rights, the opening of the reservation. This unit delves into these conflicts and gives you the side of the Salish and Pend d’Oreille.

Originally posted August 2013

Perma Red

Perma Red

Perma Red
By: Debra Magpie Earling
CSKT PS 3605 .A75 P47 2002

As summer starts, most people probably welcome the season for its swimming, barbecuing, or vacationing. As a librarian, I’m wired slightly different than most people, as I like summer for the warm days spent outside… reading. Yes, reading. And a good novel is the perfect ingredient for a perfect summer afternoon.

Perma Red is the ideal summer novel. It entertains, shocks, frustrates, and moves. It drew me in and wouldn’t let go. The writing is beautiful; the characters beautifully flawed. Did the feminist in me want Louise to leave Baptiste forever, but the romantic in me want them to live happily ever after? You bet. Did I despise Harvey Stoner? Undoubtedly. Did my heart break for sweet, love-torn Charlie? To tears. Perma Red is a book that made me feel for the characters in a way few books can.

If the characters weren’t enough, Magpie Earling’s story is set on the Flathead reservation. Towns like Perma, Dixon, and Hot Springs bring the book to life. We can see Louise walking along Highway 200, not just imagine it. Magpie Earling also writes from her only family legends. The mystery behind the characters becomes even stronger when I realize that it might all be true. Where is the line between truth and legend? The reader is left to ponder.

Originally posted in June 2013