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Sundown by John Joseph Mathews
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From the introduction by Priscilla Oaks:

“...(John Joseph Mathews) became part of the first wave of Native American authors of the '20' s and '30's working in the mainstream of American Literature and writing in English. A very few individuals had preceded Matthews and his contemporaries, John Milton Oskison (1874-1947) and D'Arcy McNickle (1904-1977) but these men were the forerunners who blended Indian themes and ideas with such a nonIndian form as the novel.” p vii (this book was published in 1933).

Born at the turn of the century, Chal was so named so he would be a 'challenge to his people'. He was a part-breed Osage, living on the Oklahoma reservation at a time when many changes were taking place.

As a child he loved galloping his horse across the prairie and lying on his back observing the wonders of nature around him.

But as he grew, he was troubled by what he saw as the lack of ambition in many of the tribal members. This became more pronounced as oil was discovered on the reservation, money became easy, and much of the culture changed.

Chal himself persisted in a university education and quit only to pursue flying in WWI, where he became a gifted pilot.

Both in the service and then when he was more returned to the reservation after the war, he fought to come to terms with the dual sides of his Indian and white natures.

I gained insight into both Osage thought and the internal dialogue when one is ashamed of one's culture and longing to be someone else.

I read this after reading author [[David Grann]] say this book was his inspiration for doing the research and then writing [Killers of the Flower Moon]. Sure enough, Mathews does mention both the corrupt doctor in town competing with the town whore to sell drugs as well as a few (very few!) murders over the oil 'head rights'. They are mentioned as part of the general corruption the oil money brought to the reservation and not in great detail.

Grann's research in taking this as a jumping off point and uncovering the extent of the murders is an interesting story in itself.

This book is recommended to those interested in Native American authors and native American life, and anyone who read and enjoyed [Killers of the Flower Moon]. ( )
1 vote streamsong | May 12, 2018 |
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