17
Apr
09

Buster’s Book Review Made Me Think (Thunder Over the Ochoco by Gale Ontko)

 

Big Summit Prairie by Suzyfishn.

Shoshone Summer Grounds~Big Summit Prairie (Photo by Suzy Fishn)

Suzy Fishn Photo’s of Oregon (and beyond, beautiful wildflower work) 

Buster’s review of the Warm Springs’ Native American’s recollections reminded me of the series of books that I read a few years ago that I personally rate as one to the best historical perspectives of settlers and Indians in the NW..particularly in Central Oregon. Gale Ontko did an extraordinary job of researching the Shoshone nation and the other tribes and their relationships. If you know where Prineville, Mitchell, Canyon City, The Dalles are then get your maps out, buy the set of books and study away. You will be astounded and Paulina, Maupin, Big Summit Prairie and Battle Mountain will have new meanings. Seriously, if you love NW history get these books.  Ontko did not attribute victim status to the Native Americans. He honored their dignity and their savageness and their wisdom. You come to understand the hierarchical structure of the tribes from the Shoshone, the Blackfoot to the dare I say lowly Paiute. Excellent and well researched. Follow the Shoshone from their greatness at Mt. Pisgah to their sad downfall, living in teepees near Prineville and broken. NW Native American history was more than the Nez Perce and Chief Joseph.


3 Responses to “Buster’s Book Review Made Me Think (Thunder Over the Ochoco by Gale Ontko)”


  1. 1 Ronnie
    April 4, 2010 at 17:17

    I’m from Prineville and I’m 48, Gale’s wife taught second grade there. Gale worked for the Forest Service and we all knew him personally. My earliest relitives that I have record of were born in the Umitillas about 1829 to trappers. Additional family were in the first 2 wagon trains into Oregon. I’ve grown up listening to the storeys of my Grand Parents (Born 1896 & 1906) and my Great Grand Parents Great Uncles and Aunts, who were all there. I’ve read all 5 books and followed up on the research. The one thing that always stood out as strange to me in school was how different the history book were compared to the storys and written documents that my family has. Gale’s research and insights are as accurate as anything I’ve ever known or heard. The best part is that he gives you all of the research so you can follow up and see if he is correct or not. Enjoy reality.

    Like

    • 2 SwittersB
      April 4, 2010 at 17:29

      Thank you Ronnie for responding. Truly, one of the most satisfying discoveries in my life…the books and that small plot in that beautiful valley.

      Gary/SB

      Like

  2. 3 Ron Wright
    February 24, 2010 at 13:19

    I couldn’t agree more! What is really interesting is how Gale Onto, the author, was politically ostracized by the “historians” who have done so well to change history to meet their political and idalistic viewpoints. The University of Oregon History department blasted him as not being “one of them” and discounted his findings. His research was about as close to perfect as can be: He listened in-person to Native Americans over a period of decades, and wrote contemporaneous notes on their hand-me-down stories – the means that the indians used for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years to pass on their history. Then, he researched thousands of documents from explorers, military sources, and many others – ranging from personal letters & documents to the National Archives. He ocmpared the two sources of stories, and matched them up where he could – and put all versions of them in his six-volume Thunder Over the Ochoco series.

    Reading his books is not always easy – he was not a seasoned author – but by the third volume, I realized that he was non-partisan when it came to portraying the stories.

    I believe that Gale Onko described the real history of the region in its purest form.

    Like


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