Here's another story, that a little Native American inspiration for me.
As I mentioned, I worked in Washington state for 15 years at a hydro plant. As the plant was situated a little remotely, the company provided housing for it's operators. And for several years, my next door neighbor was a gentleman named Wes Monroe. Wes liked to fish, and so did I, so we were good fishing buddies. Not to mention, just all the backyard get togethers and what not. And if Wes had never told me, I would've never guessed that he was part Indian. In fact, he had enough Indian blood to be on the tribal roll of the Blackfoot tribe.
One day Wes's niece stopped by for a visit. I got to meet her just briefly. She stayed a couple of days with Wes and then headed on back to the reservation. It turns out that Wes is a direct decendant of a white man that lived with the Blackfoot tribe many, many years ago. The man's name was Hugh Monroe, and A book had been written about him in the early 1900's. The book had been long out of print, and Wes's niece had been researching this.
In the early 1900's, there were a lot of weekly perodicals in circulation, like the Saturday Evening Post, and many others. One of them was a magazine called Boys Life. And like the Saturday Evening Post, Boys Life would publish books in their magazine. They would do it in a serial style, just a couple of chapters a week, until the whole book was done. She found out that this book had been published in Boys Life, and had found a copy in Seattle. She had been over there to pick it up, and had stopped by to tell Wes the news on her way back home. She had made a copy of it for Wes.
After she left, Wes came over to the house the next day, with a sheaf of papers in his hand. He knew I loved stuff like this, and he had made me a copy of it and brought it over to me. That's when he told me the story about Hugh Monroe.
Wes was a few years older than me, and seriously thinking about retirement plans. He had bought some property up between Troy and Libby Montana, along the Kootnai river, where he planned to build a house and live when he retired. The company we worked for also had a hydro plant on the Clark Fork River, in Noxon, Montana. An opening came up at that plant, and Wes bid on it and got the job there. That way he would be much closer to his property, and could run up on his days off and work on his house.
This was in the early 90's, and I had bought my first computer only a couple years before. Well I was chomping at the bit to read the rest of that story about Hugh Monroe. I got on my computer and started searching myself. To no avail. But in my searches, I did run across a few websites of people who make their living at searching for old, out of print books. so I e-mailed one of them and told them what I was looking for. They e-mailed me back, and said they would get on it. Some time went by, and then some more time went by. And soon, I had forgotten completely all about it.
And it must have been a little over a year later, I got an e-mail one day, saying that they had found my book. I had no idea what they were talking about. When I e-mailed them back and asked them what book, they told me it was the book about Hugh Monroe. Well, my jaw bounced off the floor a few times and I told them to send it right away. I tried to call Wes, but he had already retired and I never seen him again after that.
The name of that book is "Rising Wolf, the White Blackfoot", written by James Willard Schultz. And a little synopsis of that book, Hugh Monroes father was an officer in the British army, stationed in eastern Canada. They were at a little wilderness outpost, and Hugh Monroe loved it. he had all the wilderness to fish, hunt, play and exploer in. Then war came along and they were moved to Montreal. This was in the 1790's I believe. Hugh hated it there, but soon found that the Hudson Bay Company had a huge warehouse there. And trappers were constantly coming and going, with wonderful tales, so that became his home away from home. I think Hugh was around 13 years old or so, and the manager of the Hudson Bay Co. went to see his parents, and told them that Hugh was old enough to take on as an apprentice, if they wanted. They talked it over and decided if they let him do it, maybe he would get it out of his system and get on with the rest of his life. He was soon packed up and shipped out with trappers going to a trading post located a little south of where Calgary now sits. Every year they would have a huge rendezvous at this trading post. The trappers would bring trade goods and the Indians would bring furs. And there were many tribes that came to this rendezvous, even ones that were at war with each other would lay down arms to get in on this trade. And the Blackfeet actually lived right about where their reservation is today, and they went to it also.
When Hugh got there, there were thousands of Indians there, camped all around the trading post. Hugh was in hog heaven. He went from village to village, seeing everything he could. When he got to the Blackfoot village, he met a couple of kids about his age, a brother and a sister. And you know how kids are, language usually isn't a barrier for very long. He was learning their language and they his, pretty fast. The proprietor of the trading post was observing all of this, and told Hugh, that if the Blackfeet agreed, he would send him with them after rendezvous, and when he came back to rendezvous next year, he would make him his official interpreter. That was right up Hugh's alley. So to make a long story short, Hugh went with them, and never returned. He loved the life so much, he had no intention of ever returning.
Now the man who wrote that book, James Willard Schultz, his story is almost as interesting as Hugh's is. Schultz was born in upstate New York, and his parents were fairly well to do. he was getting a fine education. This was in the late 1870's. The push out west was going strong about then, and a lot of painters and writers were out there, sending their stories back east. Schultz was reading every thing he could about the west and was badgering his folks to death to go out there and see it. They too, talked it over and thought if they let him go, maybe he would get it out of his system and finish his education. They had a friend or relative living in Helena, Montana, and contacted him about sending James out there. He arranged with a friend of his who ran a trading post about where Cut Bank, Montana now sits, to take James on as an apprentice.
Well, after he learned the ropes a little, they sent him along wih a wagon load of trade goods up to the Blackfoot villages. And he was in hog heaven, too. He was going through the villages seeing everything he could. And lo and behold, he ran across a bearded old white man in one of the villages. It was Hugh Monroe, who was an old man by now. But he told James his story, and years later, James wrote the book.
In fact Schultz wrote several books. I have read a few of them, plus his biography. Schultz, too, never went home. He spent his whole life out west. And after they made Yellowstone into a National Park, word started getting back east about the area that is now Glacier National Park. They sent survey teams out to survey the area, Schultz guided several of those survey teams. And the Indians already had names for all the rivers and mountains out there, but you know the white man, he has to rename everything. And there is a mountain named for Hugh Monroe. It's called Rising Wolf mountain, and sits just outside of the Park, I believe. I looked that up once, a long time ago.
And you know, I paid $100 for that book when they sent it to me. And now, it is on the internet. LOL. But it was worth every penny to me. Here it is, if you're interested in reading it:
Rising Wolf, the white Blackfoot; Hugh Monroe's story of his first year on the plains