Updated: Feb 16, 2020
To introduce the new blog for our Modern West Fiction website, I'd like to answer the question asked most frequently by readers. So, for our first blog entry, here we go!
Q: Why did you choose to use a Comanche family and veterans as main characters?
I was asked this question repeatedly by visitors to yesterday's Palm Springs Writers Guild Expo. First, I am not Native American, but I know the Comanche almost as well as my own family, who descended from Norse and English stock; farm, ranch, and railroad families in the midst of Native America. Growing up, I admired the enduring Native American family type: A strong sense of warrior and humanitarian values, despite having been victimized throughout the period of Western settlement.
I grew up among Cherokee, Choctaw, Ponca, Osage and others. As a young boy, when my friends and I played Cowboys and Indians, I invariably chose to be Indian, albeit with a Roy Rogers hat. Years later, as a journalist, my work covering the Comanche, Kiowa and Apache in SW Oklahoma gave me a keener appreciation for their struggles. Notably, Comanche are known as one of the most patriotic of the Native American tribes (highest enlistment rates per capita in the nation), with strong cultural values embodied in traditions like the Little Ponies Society.
The Comanche have endeavored to rebuild their culture around peaceful virtues, their language, and the celebration of the horse in their lives. The great herds of bison that once fed, clothed and sheltered them as a people are gone. The vast open lands on which they lived their nomadic lives are gone as well. Yet the Comanche endure. Despite efforts to eradicate their culture, the Comanche survive as a proud society, albeit with the same problems of unemployment, drug use, and crime as the rest of America.
I have always considered it interesting that so many of my friends, marginalized by the tyranny of manifest destiny, have not only survived, but exhibit some of the strongest patriotic traits among America's citizenry. Is it any wonder, then, that I would choose to write about them as my brothers and sisters?
If you have read my first three novels in the Bear Kotah series, and have questions or comments, please join the blog or contact me on Facebook or Twitter.
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