Attended Post Bulletin Dialogs Wed. night (Dec. 5th) at Library on their sequicentennial series about the 1862 Sioux Uprising. Besides Editor Jay Furst, there were 6 speakers, including two Sioux women on an informal panel, all well-educated on the 6-week "war." About 200 people or more were crowded into the room, many standing or sitting on the floor.
I went, of course, because my fictional heroine survives the massace in the 2nd section of my book. The Indian women cautioned us to look at the "Indian point of view" as written by one of their scholars. One of them said mysteriously that there was a lot that has not yet been revealed about this huge event in Minnesota history. While talking to her later, she told me there was still a lot of prejudice they faced. Both women had ancestors who were affected by the war. (After the uprising, Indians were exiled from Minnesota and "transplanted" in poor reservations outside of any state territory in the U.S. Many died during and after the move, in what they interpreted as a blatant attempt at land-grabbing and genocide.)
We exchanged email addresses at my suggestion. As the hero of my book is half Sioux, I have a lot of Sioux words in my book and would love to get a very clear and more precise meaning for some phraseology.
A Rochester high school class was also in attendance and during the question and answer period, one of these students admitted she had never heard of this conflict before. One of the panel members was a former teacher who challenged that; said every 6th grader should have had that in history!? I thoroughly agreed with the Indian woman who said we should ALL be more informed more about our state history, even our own personal histories, not just U.S. history.
Thought provoking, enlightening, good questions from audience. Someone said 25 years ago there was little known or written about this event and very little interest in it. (I do have some books in my bibliography that are older than 25 years, however.) It's probably understandable that this very dark and dramatic tragedy in our history is something that both Sioux and Minnesotans would just as soon skip over, but skipping never leads to reconciliation. Atrocities on all sides in the 19th century rush for manifest destiny in the U.S. is the underlying theme of THE CALLING STONE. Read and WRITE what you love, I'm told. Weaving fictional characters through a web of fascinating, sometimes ironic, funny, romantic and brutal history is what this girl loves!! Isn't it always more interesting to read something based on truth--a compelling story acted out by compelling, unforgettable characters?