Rush of ShadowsBook - 2014
When American pioneers set their hearts on a California valley where Indians had been living for thousands of years, a period of uneasy appraisal emerged, followed by conflict and soon enough by genocide. The epic greed and violence of the 1850's and 60's has been brushed aside by history, conveniently forgotten in the pride of conquest. Willful ignorance and cruelty, terror and desperation were common in that time, but there were moments too of nobility and compassion, ingenuity and forgiveness, qualities which might have prevailed if certain things had been different. Rush of Shadows brings to life two freethinking women, Mellie, a white, and Bahé, an Indian, who endure the clash of their cultures and come to an unlikely understanding. As Indians are legally enslaved, starved on corrupt reservations, and shot for fun, Bahé helps Mellie through childbirth. Mellie's warning saves an Indian village from massacre by her neighbors. Even after Bahé is driven to seek safety in prostitution, the two women manage to feed, doctor, and teach each other. Rush of Shadows restores the human dimensions of a tragic conflict which corrupted the winners and left the losers to haunt the landscape as shadows. The principal narrator is Mellie, the young white woman who has lived among Mission Indians further south and is inclined to think of the Indians as neighbors. Other points of view include Mellie's husband, Law, who raises cattle and thinks the Indians should be left alone; Sam and Jakob Brandt, one brother alert to local politics and Civil War sympathies, the other distressed to find the Indians killing their own dogs to feed their hungry children; Jeff Thrush, a hard-bitten rancher who won't be crowded off his land by big-money interests and favors Indian extermination; Mellie's father, a disappointed doctor toiling among miners and Indians in Gold Rush country; and Bahé, who is amazed at the ignorance of the newcomers, watches as sickness strikes deep and fish and deer and acorns become harder and harder to get, and seeks a way for the essential spirit of the people to go on.
Publisher: Washington, DC :, Washington Writers Publishing House,, c2014
Branch Call Number: FIC Bell
Characteristics: 371 pages ; 22 cm