In the photographs above, it is my intent to use the photograph of the young, Indian girl for the front cover and one of the other photographs for the back cover of the paperback edition. Which one do you like best? Let me know through the contact page or directly at my regular email address.
I am currently working on a book that takes place in the mid-eighteen hundreds. I have always been intrigued by the early American Indians and their culture. Most of the early contact with them in, and around, the Rocky Mountains was made by fur traders from the east. They had huge fur rendezvous in various locations from 1825 to 1843. The story takes place in 1860. It was just before Abraham Lincoln was elected, the Civil War, and the beginning of the Transcontinental Railroad.
It is centered around a nineteen-year-old young man named, Clayton Ketchum. He was the son of one of those early fur traders who had made his fortune, trading with the tribes located in the territories of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico. He suffered from the same wanderlust his father had suffered from, and he wanted to see all of the places his father had told him about since he was a child.
He was traveling alone on the Old Spanish Trail, which, at that time, was part of New Mexico Territory. He was headed to the Colorado Plateau in search of the ancient Anasazi Indian dwellings that his father had described to him hundreds of times.
It is here, along the Spanish Trail, that he, unintentionally, inherits a young Indian woman named, Summer Dove. It is through this young woman that he learns about her culture.
Once I began writing, I realized that I didn't know nearly enough about their marriage customs and courtship practices, and I didn't want to say anything that might offend someone. The more I looked into their social, courtship, and marriage customs, the more I realized how beautiful and simple, and yet, how complex they were.
I will delve into some of these customs through conversations between Clayton and Summer Dove. Suffice it to say that they are incredibly interesting and intriging. In the preface to the book, I will discuss this in some detail and list, at least, eleven references from which I obtained my information.
One of these references is Native American Netroots, a forum for the discussion of political, social, and economic issues affecting Native American Indians, and I quote. "In American society, part of the discussion about marriage is really about sex. While sex was a part of traditional Native American marriage, marriage was not about sex. Prior to marriage, young people were expected to engage in sexual activities. Sex was not confined to marriage."
Marriage was a partnership that wasn't necessarily considered permanent or exclusive. It was a tool that was used for survival as much as it was used for anything else.