Please welcome long time friend and fellow Oregonion, Paty Jager!
Growing up in an area rich in Native American history made me curious and empathetic to the band of Nez Perce who summered in Wallowa County many generations before Lewis and Clark entered their lives.
The Wallowa, or Lake Nimiipuu as they call themselves, are a band of the Nez Perce(Nimiipuu) who moved like nomads across the Pacific NW and into the plains with the seasons. They wintered along the Imnaha River in the lower warmer regions of Wallowa County, spent the early spring in the camas meadows of Idaho, and summered at Wallowa Lake, fishing the Columbia in the fall and returning to their winter home before the snows became too treacherous. The warriors and some of the women went out on hunting expeditions to the plains for buffalo. This expeditions could take them away from the band for a year.
While the Nimiipuu were nomadic, they had a fierce love of the land in their hearts. Their ancestors were b
uried in the earth of their summer and winter homes.
The Lake Nimiipuu under the leadership of Old Chief Joseph signed the first treaty of 1855. This treaty was accepted by the Nez Perce because it encompassed nearly all of the land that they considered home. But in 1861 the government opened up some of the Nez Perce’s land “to whites in common with the Indians for mining purposes.” The miners moved into the Nez Perce land ignoring treaty regulations. Towns went up and behind the prospectors came business and families.
With this influx of whites into the Indian land there was more and more trouble between the two factions. A new treaty was drawn up by the government in 1863. This removed extensive land from the Nez Perce that had been given to them eight years before. Specifically the areas of the bands from the Wallowa and Salmon River regions. The bands that lost their land in this treaty refused to sign and became known as the non-treaty Nez Perce.
The non-treaties worked at keeping in the good graces of the whites to remain on their land. It wasn’t until 1871 after Old Joseph died and Heinmot Tooyalakekt(Thunder Traveling Over Mountains) or as the whites called him, Young Joseph, became the new leader that the whites began to move into the Wallowa Valley with greater frequency.
Spirit of the Sky is the third book in the Spirit Trilogy and focuses on the flight of the non-treaty Nez Perce as they seek a place to remain free.
Sa-qan, the heroine in the book, is the third spirit sibling. Her name means Bald Eagle and she takes this form when soaring through the sky trying to help the Nimiipuu stay ahead of the army determined to put them on a reservation.
Blurb for Spirit of the Sky
To save her from oppression, he must save her whole tribe. To give her his heart, he must desert his career…
When the US Army forces the Nimiipuu from their land, Sa-qan, the eagle spirit entrusted with watching over her tribe, steps in to save her mortal niece. Challenging the restrictions of the spirit world, Sa-qan assumes human form and finds an unexpected ally in a handsome cav
Certain she is a captive, Lt. Wade Watts, a Civil War veteran, tries to help the blonde woman he finds sheltering a Nez Perce child. While her intelligent eyes reveal she understands his language, she refuses his help. But when Wade is wounded, it is the beautiful Sa-qan who tends him. Wade wishes to stop the killing—Sa-qan will do anything to save her people.
Can their differences save her tribe? Or will their love spell the end of the Nimiipuu?
She smiled and his heart leapt into his throat. He thought her beautiful from the first moment he saw her standing in the river fiercely protecting the child, but watching her tense face relax and smile, he was smitten. A light and pleasing calm washed over him for the first time in a very long time. He could only bask in the moment briefly. They were enemies.
“I am from the sky, and I watch over the Nimiipuu.” She nodded her head and flashed him with yet another smile. “You may call me Angel.”
“Only if you call me Wade.”
She nodded. “Let me check your wounds. You have moved around.”
“Why are you taking such good care of me when your warriors left me for dead?”
Her sunshine gaze peered straight into his eyes. “You saved my niece at the village and the wounded from the Bannock scout. You do not have the thirst to kill like the other soldiers.” She bowed her head and removed the blood encrusted bandage from his shoulder. “The Nimiipuu need you.”
Her touch warmed his body, tingling the areas around his wounds. He glanced at her small, delicate hands hovering over his injuries. He shut his eyes, and then opened them. Her hands shimmered as if in a fog. His pain subsided, in fact, his body felt well rested.
A soft lyrical chant rose from her lips as she continued to hover her hands over his wounds. Her eyes remained closed, her light lashes resting on her sun-kissed cheeks. He’d never seen a woman as beautiful as this. He had to learn her true origins and return her to her family.
* * *
Wife, mother, grandmother, and the one who cleans pens and delivers the hay; award winning author Paty Jager and her husband currently ranch 350 acres when not dashing around visiting their children and grandchildren. She not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
She is a member of RWA, EPIC , and COWG. She’s had eleven books and a short story published so far and is venturing into the new world of self-publishing ebooks.
Her contemporary Western, Perfectly Good Nanny won the 2008 Eppie for Best Contemporary Romance and Spirit of the Mountain, a historical paranormal set among the Nez Perce, garnered 1st place in the paranormal category of the Lories Best Published Book Contest. Spirit of the Lake was a finalist in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence.
You can learn more about her at:
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