In my book that will be coming out towards the end of August, Kindred Spirits, my heroine, Deputy Tempe Crabtree heads to Crescent City, CA to see if she can find out some information about a murder victim. While there she meets relatives of the victims, who are also Tolowa.
As a presenter in a writers conference at the college in Crescent City, I had the opportunity to meet a wonderful Tolawa woman, Junie Mattice. She told me fascinating stories about her people, Big Foot, and some of the horrors the Tolowa have endured. Besides the fact, the white man did a wholesale slaughter on them in the 1800s, President Eisenhower decided since there weren’t many of them left, they shouldn’t be considered a legitimate tribe. So no Tolowa receive the benefits other Native Americans do. What a travesty!
Within the boundaries of Crescent City are redwood forests–gorgeous enormous trees that were growing before Christ was born. They cut down a whole section of the forest to build the infamous prison, Pelican Bay. They’ve also cut down many of these magnificent trees to clear the land for houses. Also sad.
I’ll be going back to Crescent City in September to promote my book. I’m not sure how well I’ll be received as I’ve portrayed the Tolowa and how they are treated now in a factual manner.
We’ve been invited to stay with friends who are enthusiastically planning the promotion for the book. I met the wife years ago when she attended a writing class I was giving. She is married to a minister who is now retired and they chose Crescent City as the place they wanted to live. She’s hoping to line up a library talk, a bookstore appearance over the border in Oregon, and most exciting, an appearance at the Tolowa coffee house run by Junie Mattice. Of course I dedicated the book to Junie.
One of the most fun parts of the book is some references to Big Foot. The Tolowa are great believers in Big Foot. In the book that comes after this one, Dispel the Mist, Tempe encounters the Hairy Man, the Yokut’s counterpart of Big Foot.