Monday, December 17, 2012

AN UNEXPECTED PLEASURE



I recently discovered a bit of a gem on Amazon Kindle best sellers list. I was lucky enough to get it free but now it is $2.99 digital or $24.98 hard cover. See why I love Kindle? What a price difference.

Anyway I was delighted when "Spirit Horses" by Alan Evans turned out to be a wonderful read.  It is an interesting story  about present day American Indians and a white, professional horse trainer trying to regain his reason to live. It is a well told story of a love that death can't dim, impossible pain of loss, greed, cruelty and redemption.

As Mr. Evans is a horse trainer by profession, he knows of what he writes. It is a work of fiction with a "didn't see that coming but maybe should have" twist and is one of those books you think about even after you have turned the final page.

I was curious about the "spirit horse legend" aspect and searched the Internet.  Alan's "spirit horses" are a band of wild horses kept on a  reservation in Wyoming. The Indians keep meticulous lineage records on each horse and its relationship to Indian lore.   These horses are thought to be the Indian's vehicle to the after life when they die.

 About 30 years ago,  Precious was training me on a meter route that covered the Indian Reservation in Okeechobee. We were miles deep into the range land to locate a pump meter when we were startled to see, as if from no where, a beautiful white stallion  explode from a live oak hammock. He  stared at us, reared high, squealed shrilly, then disappeared back into the stand of trees, not to be seen again. 

Precious questioned, "Wow, do you suppose that was a spirit horse?"  At the time I thought he was indicating that it was perhaps an apparition. However, when I read this book, I began to think he might have meant another application for the term as interpreted by the author. So I went hunting for answers.   

The "spirit horses" as referred to in the book turned out not to be an actual Indian legend of record that I could find. However during my search, I stumbled upon a site that has given me unexpected pleasure and a wealth of information, First People. Sometimes our quest for truth via Google takes us to surprisingly cool places. 
Tull Chee Hah, an Indian Warrior. The photo was created in 1905 by Edward S. Curtis. When I think "Indian" this is the type of face I visualize.
The site contains quite a selection of Indian legends, words of wisdom, treaties, photographs, and art. It is a well put together and extensive site about Indian culture.  If you have any interest in early Native American society, this is the site to visit.

The legends I found most interesting. I love a good story and they are master storytellers.   I was surprised that most all tribes have stories of a great flood in ancient times. Sound familiar? 

I was  especially drawn to  the quotes from their important leaders.  Here are just a few I got from the site that struck a nerve.

Friendship is held to be the severest test of character. It is easy, we think, to be loyal to family and clan, whose blood is our own veins. Love between man and woman is founded on the mating instinct and is not free from desire and self-seeking. But to have a friend, and to be true under any and all trials, is the mark of a man!   Ohiyesa, Sioux

Can we talk of integration until there is integration of hearts and minds? Unless you have this, you only have a physical presence, and the walls between us are as high as the mountain range....Chief Dan George of the Salish Band in Burrard Inlet, B.C.

We send our little Indian boys and girls to school, and when they come back talking English, they come back swearing. There is no swear word in the Indian languages, and I haven't yet learned to swear. Zitkala-Sa - Yankton Sioux

The greatest object of their  lives seems to be to acquire possessions - to be rich. They desire to possess the whole world. For thirty years they tried to entice us to sell our land to them. Finally, their soldiers took it by force, and we have been driven away from our beautiful country.
Charles Alexander Eastman's uncle - Santee Sioux

They made us many promises, more than I can remember. They kept but one --They promised to take our land...and they took it.  Chief Red Cloud - Sioux

Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agreed, as you can all read the Book.   Red Jacket (Sogoyewapha) - Seneca

When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself...Tecumseh - Shawnee

And of course on the humorous side--

The white man who is our agent is so stingy that he carries a linen rag in his pocket into which to blow his nose, for fear he might blow away something of value.  Piapot - Cree Chief

Their wise words also shine a light on our shameful treatment of the Native Americans in our history which often makes me embarrassed by my white ancestors.

White man's early treatment of the Native American could never be called fair or decent even by the best political pundits we have today. We are still a work in progress in that area today.


Hope you enjoy the book or the site--- I certainly did and still am.


44 comments :

  1. What an interesting post ...my heart leaps when i see you have posted ...and I am never disappointed. I think I will have to get Jay to buy this and let me borrow her Kindle ..I must also look up the sites.
    I have always had admiration for the North American Indian and a sadness of how they were/are treated ...same as the Aborigonies of Australia etc...after all it was their land in the first place and I often wonder what would have happened if no one had set foot on their land. xx

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  2. This is definitely one I will add to my list and I will share the First People site as well. Thanks!

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  3. Now this looks like a great read, Patti! I am off to get it onto my Kindle app (on my iPad, but otherwise no difference). Thank you for the inspiring quotes, too. They were wonderful to read and ponder.

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  4. Sounds like another great recommendation and I will certainly take it from you. You haven't led me wrong...off I go. Oma Linda
    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and be well.......

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  5. I've always been interested in the American Indian and this book looks very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. I figure at some point in my life I might get a chance to do some reading again that is just for me... maybe.
    Sandy

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  7. It looks wonderful. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  8. Thanks for the recommendation, I don't think it would be my kind of book, as I don't read much anyway. I know, bad me, but I'm delighted you loved the book and we got a blog post from you too!!

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  9. I just popped over to Amazon & read the first chapter. I was captivated!! I bought it!

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  10. This sounds like a terrific book and that site sound fabulous, too! Thanks my dear Patti....I am appalled and ashamed at how we treated our Native Americans---It is shocking in so many ways and that it is STILL not the way it should be, is even more shameful!!!

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  11. I will check out both. A new book I am reading now (Flight Behavior" by Barbara Kingsolver is one I think you would like. It weaves a story of TN mt. people into one about Monarch migrations. Very interesting!

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  12. Thanks for the heads up Patti. Sounds most interesting...:)

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  13. Thanks Patti...it will be put on my Kindle in just a few minutes. Being a descendant of Pocahontas and John Rolfe, I'm very interested in the 'First People' site too.

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  14. Sounds interesting, Patti. I'll have to take a look.

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  15. Angie,
    Hope you enjoy it. I agree about the Aborigonies of Australia. Perhaps if both had kept their land, we wouldn't be having all this global warming. They care for the earth where we abuse it.

    Olga,
    I think you will enjoy. It will stay with you for a while.

    Djan,
    My brother uses that app for his Ipad also. How neat to be able to. I love looking into the minds of peoples whose thoughts come from another background.

    Linda,
    Back at ya. Hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and a healthy and happy 2013.

    Cheryl,
    Hope you like it. I learned a lot from the book and site.

    Mom of 12,
    Bless your heart. I guess you don't get much chance to enjoy books outside of helping with homework or Dr. Seuss and by the time all the kids will be on their own, here will come the grands. Not a bad trade off though.

    Islandwonder,
    Hope you like it.

    LL Cool Joe,
    Ah Joey, I know you are not a reader, at least not of this genre but thanks for stopping by anyway.

    fishducky,
    Way to go. Sure hope you enjoy it. It made me want to move to Wyoming.

    OOLOH
    I know Naomi. That is not an area we can be at all proud of. We are definitely a work in progress.

    Kenju,
    Thanks for the recommendation. I will check that one out. Sounds like something I would like.

    troutbirder,
    Hope you enjoy or at least give it a look.

    Wanda,
    I am so impressed with your lineage. How exciting. Think you especially will enjoy First People.

    robin,
    If you like horses, Indians and breath taking scenery, the book is a winner.



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  16. Great post and review, Patti. Sounds like an interesting book. I love books like that ---ones about friendship and history...

    Merry Christmas.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  17. wow Patti, this is stunning. Sounds like an amazing book and the image is stunning. Native American and other indigenous people's history is one of the most beautiful.

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  18. This sounds like such an interesting book, but so sad. Everything I've read about what was done to the native people is depressing and shameful.

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  19. Sounds like a fascinating book. I'm going to get it on Kindle for sure! Thanks for the lovely post and recommendation and have a very happy holiday season!

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  20. Will add to my list- boy I am so far behind..I need a nice long vacation!
    Merry Christmas Patti!

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  21. Patti I can always rely on you to help me out. For days now I have been searching for a good read and now I am so excited that you have given me one.
    As always your writing is so interesting and I loved reading this post.
    Having Native American Blood in me I find it really fascinating what you have shared with us.
    I am off now to find it on my Nook.
    Just wanted to come by and wish you a very Merry Christmas.
    Love ya
    Maggie

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  22. Betsy,
    Thanks Betsy and best holiday wishes to you and George.

    Introverted Art,
    I couldn't agree more. I never tire of the subject.

    Kay,
    Yes it is sad Kay. Certainly not a period of our history to be proud of and still needs work today.

    Dr. Kathy,
    Thanks Kathy, hope you enjoy. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

    Terri,
    Ha, I am 323 books behind myself. Hope the holidays give you a chance to catch your breath.

    Optimistic Existentialist,
    Thanks, hope you get a chance to enjoy it.

    Grandma Yellow Hair,
    Think you will enjoy it especially with your ancestry.
    Back at ya big time Maggie. Hope you have recovered from all the excitement of Thanksgiving. Wishing you the best Christmas and a smooth and healthy 2013.

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  23. Really enjoyed reading the quotes, delightful and thoughtful. I love the one about giving thanks when you wake up in the morning "for the morning light, for your life and strength...", it is a great way to start the day.

    Well,I write this some time after the end of the world, and no ill effects... other than a night where I have tossed and turned and finally got up around 2am (it is summer here and a bit too warm to sleep!!).

    A very Happy Christmas to you Patti, and New Year. You have blessed so many of us with your wisdom and friendship. You are often in our thoughts.

    P, L, NS & G xxxx

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  24. I love the post. When we were in So. Dakota a year ago on vacation and visited the Crazy Horse monument, a mount sculpture in progress, Crazy Horse had a similar saying; They promised everything; They gave us nothing and took all our land.

    That monument does not accept one cent of US government money. The proceeds of admittance pay for it. So far there is a college, a medical facility for diseases common to the Indian, two wonderful museums and somewhere a restaurant I did not see.

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  25. Can't wait to check out the link you posted, loved the quotes. Hope you are going well. I suppose one of these days I'll have to get a kindle. The other day I picked up "The Earth Shall Weep" at the library; haven't started it yet but I am sure it will be a good read.

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  26. Just poped by to say ....HAPPY CHRISTMAS and a wonderful New Year.xx

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  27. Peter,
    Ha ha,I was counting on you to let us know.
    Wishing the 4 Gregorys all the best this season and for a happy and healthy 2013.

    Nitwit,
    When they finish that monument, it will be awesome. I thought you would enjoy the post.

    Linda,
    I checked out "The Earth Shall Weep" and you are right, I would like that one. I'll see if my library has it. Thanks.

    Angie,
    Back at ya gal. Have a blessed holidays and a healthy New Year.

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  28. Thank you for this post, I will look up the site right now. Have a wonderful holiday season.

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  29. Patti, You always find the good Kindle deals. You steered me onto several before, that I really enjoyed. Good book review.
    You got me. I had to go back and read about Precious and then I had to go back and read about Margaret. You've been blogging longer than I have. What's a little yellow stain between friends. Or you could have had BG pee on the other leg to make them designer pants.
    Fun stories.

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  30. Patti, I am three-quarters through the book right now and am hoping that things turn out well, but it's a cliff-hanger for sure! I am enjoying it very much. We have many Native Indian tribes here in the Pacific Northwest, and I see them daily. Now I am thinking about them in a different way. Thank you! :-)

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  31. Merry Christmas, Patti.

    I have written about the Cherokee Trail of Tears. I didn't save it and when Geo Cities closed all the accounts, I hadn't saved it.

    I was thinking while reading your post that the Celts were sent packing by the Romans, or they tried to back in 122AD. Their land was England. Hadrian's Wall separated the Romans from the barbarians.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadrian's_Wall

    "...it was Hadrian's wish to keep "intact the empire," which had been imposed upon him by "divine instruction."

    So, with that said, it seems we got an earlier start on "annexation" than thought. I hadn't thought of that before.

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  32. Did I wish you a happy holiday? Just in case, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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  33. Inger,
    Thank you and wishing you the best of Holidays and a healthy, happy 2013 for you and yours (pets included.

    Manzanita,
    Wow, I am impressed you went to the archives. I often feel like once I post, the stories just drop into an abyss. Thanks for making the effort.
    Ha ha, you are right about making the yellow intentional on the other leg. Might have started a new trend. "Get peed on for luck".

    Djan,
    So happy you got both. I hope you do enjoy. I will go to your site for a bit of additional info.

    Amber Star,
    Annexation and ownership of what isn't ours seem to be a century old trait. I saw the Trail of Tears performance in Boone, NC. So sad.
    Have a wonderful holidays and hope we both get snow. May 2013 be a happy and healthy year.

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  34. Must tell my husband about this one. I always enjoy your book reviews. I'm glad you started doing them.

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  35. Hey honey thought of you today wondering how your day was.
    I tried to buy this book for my nook and Barnes and Nobles does not have it in eread. Boy was I disappointed. All my running around in Austin I never made it to a book store and Wal Mart and Target did not have it. Guess Amazon is my choice now. Lol
    Happy New Year my friend
    Love
    Maggie

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  36. Just wanted to wish you a wonderful holiday season Patti!!!!

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  37. marylee,
    I hope he enjoys it. I sure did.

    Linda Starr,
    Back at ya.

    Grandma Yellow Hair,
    I wish I could loan it to you but I checked and Kindle and Nook are not compatible. Perhaps you can get Amazon to down load it to your computer. They do that.

    Introverted Art.
    Thank you so much and I hope you have a wonderful holiday also. May 2013 good times and continued good health.

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  38. Thankyou for your wishes ...We were all well enough to enjoy a great but chilled Christmas ...I hope you enjoyed yours ... Hugs xx

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  39. Patti I'm so glad you posted this. I had gotten this book when it was free too but hadn't read it yet. With the power out I've gotten several books read this week! I've put this one at the top of my list. blessings, marlene

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  40. Angie,
    Back at ya friend. Have a wonderful and healthy 2013.

    Marlene,
    I am so sorry you have been out of power so long but isn't a Kindle a blessing when the power goes? Hope you enjoy.

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  41. I noticed that grandmayellow hair was reading this, so came by to see what you had to say.

    This looks like my perfect read! Downloading tonight and reading this weekend!

    Happy New Year!

    xxoo,

    RMW

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  42. Good to hear from you again and I hope you like it. The end is not for everyone but I thought the only one that made sense to me.

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