(Don’t forget to leave a comment…Paty is giving one e-copy of Spirit of the Mountain!)
I grew up in the Wallowa Valley and have had a keen interest and respect for the first inhabitants. That is why I wrote the Spirit Trilogy. The three books capture the Lake Nimiipuu life from before the White man arrived in their world until they were chased from their beloved home by the army as they sought to live a free life off a reservation.
The Wallowa was made up of many lush valleys where the Nimiipuu could graze their famed Appaloosa horses. The rivers were teeming with salmon and trout. The mountains provided a barricade between the Lake Nimiipuu and hostile tribes to the east. The lower regions along the Imnaha (land ruled by Imna- a Nez Perce subchief) River provided protection and warm weather to wait out the long winters.
The beautiful blanketed horses called the appaloosa were bred for speed and agility. The name came from the settlers. They first encountered the Nez Perce and their spotted ponies along the Palouse River in Idaho. The name Appaloosa evolved from the first form of “Palousey”. The Nez Perce were one of the few tribes who gelded their male horses to improve their herds. While they were a sought-after breed, only about ten percent of the herd actually had the famed spotted rump blanket or all-over leopard spots.
The Nez Perce and other plains and local tribes held races in the spring on the Weippe (meaning an old place) in Idaho. These races were held to show not only the braves’ agility and fine riding skills but to show off their horses and their wealth. Many Nez Perce and other tribes gathered to harvest camas (kous) roots, a staple in the Nez Perce diet. Trading was also a major activity at this meeting.
The winding rivers and streams for which the area was named carried the melted snow from the mountains. These fresh-water streams, with their clear icy water are used by salmon to spawn. It was a wonderful place to catch salmon to dry. The Nez Perce would pound dried salmon and dried kous roots together for a staple for the winter. The waters from their mountains gathered and grew into rivers that feed the Snake River and the Columbia River.
Their mountains cradled the lush valleys like the creator’s hands. The mountains have been likened to the Swiss Alps and are quite majestic. There is even one named Joseph Mountain and most of the year you can see his face on the mountain, with a tear on his cheek. The tear is a legacy to his sadness that he was never allowed to return to the land of his father. After Joseph tried to lead his band and several others to freedom in 1877 and they surrendered, the nontreaty Nez Perce were taken to reservations in Oklahoma. Eight years later after petitions and public support, the remaining Nez Perce were finally allowed to return to the Pacific Northwest, but not to their beloved Wallowa Valley.
The Imnaha River cuts a narrow gorge — one of the deepest river gorges on the continent — as it winds its way to the Snake River. Down in this canyon the Lake Nimiipuu spent the coldest winter months. It was warmer at the lower elevation, and they were secluded from the fiercest winds and weather due to how deep and narrow the canyon sits in the earth.
When they weren’t wintering in the Imnaha or summering in the Wallowa, they were hunting, trading, and fishing along the Columbia River, north into Washington State, and east to some of the plains tribes.
Here are the covers, blurbs, and buy links for my trilogy that has three sibling Nez Perce spirits as heroes and a heroine.
Spirit of the Mountain
Evil spirits, star-crossed lovers, and duty…which will prevail?
Wren, the daughter of a Nimiipuu chief, loves the mountain and her people—the Lake Nimmipuu. When a warrior from the enemy Blackleg tribe asks for her hand in marriage to bring peace between the tribes, she knows it is how she must fulfill her vision quest. But she is torn between duty and her breaking heart.
Himiin, as spirit of the mountain, watches over all the creatures on his mountain, including the Nimiipuu. When Wren shows no fear of him as a white wolf, he listens to her secret fears and loses his heart to the mortal maiden. Respecting her people’s beliefs, he must watch her leave the mountain with the Blackleg warrior.
When an evil spirit threatens Wren’s life, Himiin rushes to save her. But to leave the mountain means he’ll turn to smoke…
Windtree Press http://windtreepress.com/portfolio/spirit-mountain/
Spirit of the Lake
Can a spirit set upon this earth to see to the good of the Nimiipuu stay true to justice when revenge burns in his heart?
Wewukiye, the lake spirit, saves a Nimiipuu maiden from drowning and bringing shame to herself and her family. Learning her people ignored her accusations against a White man who took her body, leaving her pregnant,Wewukiye vows to help her through the birth and to prove the White man’s deceit.
Dove slowly heals her heart and her distrust as Wewukiye, the warrior with hair the color of the sun, believes in her and helps her restore her faith in her people and herself.
On their quest for justice, Dove reveals spiritual abilities, ensnaring Wewukiye’s respect and awe. But will these abilities seal their future or tear them apart?
Windtree Press http://windtreepress.com/portfolio/spirit-lake/
Spirit of the Sky
Can enemies not only work for peace but find love?
Sa-qan, a Nimiipuu eagle spirit, must take a human form to save her mortal niece when the Nimiipuu are forced from their land by the U.S. Army. Sa-qan strives to remain true to her spirit world and her people, but finding an ally in a Cavalry Officer has unraveled her beliefs.
During battle with the Nimiipuu, Lt. Wade Watts finds a blonde woman hiding a Nez Perce child. He believes she is a captive when her intelligent eyes reveal she understands his language. Yet she refuses his help. Their paths cross several times during the skirmishes, and she becomes his savior when renegade warriors wound him.
Windtree Press http://windtreepress.com/portfolio/spirit-sky/
Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. On her road to publication she wrote freelance articles for two local newspapers and enjoyed her job with the County Extension service as a 4-H Program Assistant. Raising hay and cattle, riding horses, and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
Her first book was published in 2006. Since then she has published eighteen novels, two anthologies, and five novellas. All her work has Western or Native American elements in it, along with hints of humor, and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on unexpected journeys. Those side trip discoveries eventually turn into yet another story.
You can learn more about Paty at her blog: her website: http://www.patyjager.net or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/paty.jager Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1005334.Paty_Jager and twitter: @patyjag.