By the time my son, Trent, and I finished the third Bear Kotah novel, it was clear that the long line of incidents, teachings, and references in those three books to the Kotah’s elder, Grandfather Wasape, needed a foundation to support the Kotah’s reliance on traditional thinking and Comanche-Kiowa-Apache culture.
Some examples of the kind of questions that needed to be answered:
"Why and how did the Kotah clan develop its longstanding relationship with the Wilson ranch history?"
"Why was Wasape prepared to die to keep his sons out of the Indian schools?"
"What patriotism and warrior ethos drove Wasape and thousands of Native Americans like him to volunteer to fight in World War One, less than thirty years after being shunted onto reservations?"
Bear Kotah’s fictional family history needed to be established and woven into the fabric of actual Comanche, Kiowa, Southern Cheyenne, and Apache tribal histories and their struggles against the relentless tide of white settlement. The fictional landscape of the Bear Kotah series - based on historical realities - was overdue a detailed treatment of the nature of Comanche warrior life and death.
Uncle Willie Kotah’s adoption by the Big Elks was to protect him from the depredation of the Indian schools of the time. This kind of precaution, common to the time, has current relevance, as tribal families are still finding the hidden graves of children who disappeared into the maw of Indian schools, never to be seen or heard from again.
Imprisonment of “troublemakers” without equal protection under the law was common during that time. A leaders such as Lone Wolf is just one example of this particular travesty of justice.
Failure to adequately protect reservation captives from the White Man’s plagues was a national disgrace. Troublemakers, like the Comanche’s Quahadi band, were not welcome for inoculation against diseases at the Army’s Fort Larned, Kansas distribution center.
The patriotism of indigenous men, years after they lost the Indian Wars to the Blue Coats is well documented in World War One volunteer, troop training, and battlefield casualty records. Many of the victims who survived chemical warfare, artillery barrages, the automated killing of machineguns, and wartime pandemic have been captured in the written record as condemning this war as one with no honor and no respect for humanity or the trees, the grass, the streams and lands and villages destroyed by the automation of war. Wasape and wartime buddy Archimedes Jordan reflect on the meaning of “honor” as they are treated for wounds in a soldier's hospital in France. Years later, Wasape must again reflect on the meaning of war and honor when he loses two sons on Guadalcanal.
These are just a few examples of my inspiration for Wasape: Life of a Comanche Warrior. You will detect more as you read this fictional tale of history revealed.