A Delightful Morning

This morning I gave a presentation to the Anthropology class at Porterville College. The first time I did it, the professor asked me to talk about the Tule River Indians. Those are the Native American group that I borrow from for my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries.

I say "borrow from" because I've changed the name of the actual tribe in my novels. I certainly don't presume to be an expert. As I told the professor, I'm writing fiction. However, I went and talked to the young students and had a great time.

Because my latest book is about the Tolowa people, I offered to come and tell his class this year what I knew about them. He was enthusiastic as he said he didn't know much about them.

As usual, I gave everyone in the class a copy of Deadly Omen , the first book in the series. It has a lot about a Pow Wow and quite a bit about the local reservation--but, like I said, I borrow from it rather than give an actual depiction. (Igave the professor a copy of Intervention, because he already had the first book.)

This time I was able to show copies of drawings by Junie Mattice, my Tolowa friend, and also some photos she sent me of Tolowa dancers and drummers.

I think it's important to let people know how close to extermination the Tolowa people came during the 1800s--when the then Governor of California decided it was a good idea to tell the citizens (Indians weren't considered citizens) to get rid of as many native people as possible.

Though I was born and raised in California and attended California schools, I never heard about this attempted extermination of the native people. It's never too late to educate folks.

In my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Kindred Spirits, some of their history is part of the story.

This was essentially what I told the class about as well as my friendship with Junie and the fact that I based two characters in the book on her because she has such a dynamic personality.

It was an extremely attentive class and I enjoyed talking with them--and they asked interesting and intelligent questions.


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