New project: I am going to write this story online. I am an Ioway, an artist and THPO (Tribal Historic Preservation Officer), living on our reservation in Kansas.
In 1844-1845, fourteen Ioway Indians traveled from our reservation to Europe, where they met up with the famous painter George Catlin who was exhibiting his gallery of Indian paintings there. During their year’s sojourn, they had many adventures, both comic and tragic, and three of them died and were buried there.
It is kind of like a reverse “Dances With Wolves” or “Man Called Horse.” In those stories, a white man goes to live in the wilderness among the Indians. In this story, Indians go to live in civilization among the white people. It is also a tale of spirituality and fate.
This is a true story. There will always be clarity between historical fact and my own speculations. It’s a story about real people, what they did and what happened to them.
I have been gestating this project since I first learned about it in the 1980s, when I was in my 20s, before the Internet became what it is today. In some ways, the world of 1840s Europe was as different from 1980s America, as 1980s America is from the America of 2016. I was in my 20s when I discovered the story. I am 56 now.
This is an experiment, a hybrid, a chimera. The primary source is George Catlin’s 1848 telling of the events of 1844-45, Catlin’s Notes of Eight Years’ Travels and Residence in Europe, With His North American Indian Collection, Vol. 2.
I am going to write it in a genre that is a mix of creative nonfiction and narrative history, with travel and memoir and magical realism and God knows what all mixed in there as well. We’ll see where it goes. But I need to write this and get it out of me. It’s been gestating for 30 years.
To maintain order, I am going to have a posted outline, a Table of Contents in progress, linked to the various subjects in a chronological framework.
Blogs are posted the way blogs are: entries disappear as time progresses. I need to keep the TOC handy for myself and the reader, so I guess until I figure out an alternative, I will re-post the TOC on a weekly basis, since I can’t really pin it, and I am learning about this as I go.
TOC: TABLE OF CONTENTS (working)
1843: Heroes’ Journey
1844: Britain, Scotland, Ireland
1845: France and Home