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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Story Behind Walks Alone by Sandi Rog

 by guest author Sandi Rog

WALKS ALONE

A Cheyenne warrior bent on vengeance. A pioneer woman bent on fulfilling a dream.

Until their paths collide.

After fleeing her abusive uncle, Anna is determined to reach the city of her dreams. But White Eagle and his fierce warriors take her prisoner. Anna attempts a harrowing escape, but her savage captor is determined to have her at all costs and forces her to be his wife. Has God forgotten her, or does He have plans of His own?

A man with a boot in one world and a moccasin in the other, White Eagle is disillusioned with his faith after a minister leads a massacre on his peaceful tribe. Where is his God? He's definitely not with the white men who are slaughtering his people. But White Eagle also can't give in to the idolatry practiced by his fellow tribesmen. Only the Truth can set him free.

And it's found in beautiful Anna’s carpetbag.

Dear Readers:


I’m originally from Colorado and recently moved back to the States after living in Holland for thirteen years. But it took moving to the other side of the world to discover the truth about my home state and what happened to the Cheyenne Native American tribe, along with the Arapaho and Lakota tribes and other Nations, on the morning of November 29, 1864. This incident is known today as the Sand Creek Massacre.

Most of the events in this story related to Colorado’s shameful past are true and accurate according to history—the massacre and its details (e.g. the toddler on the banks of Sand Creek), the popular saying in Denver “nits make lice” (a saying that made it acceptable for soldiers to murder innocent children), and some of Anna’s words and experiences when she’s abducted (taken from other white women who were abducted).

Cheyenne Chief Laird Cometsevah (a.k.a. Whistling Eagle) has approved Walks Alone’s accuracy and is touched that a part of his tribe’s culture and history is being told. While the Sand Creek Massacre is a disturbing event, I hope to not only give the Cheyenne tribe a voice, but to shine light on the hearts of these people.

Although my main character, White Eagle (a.k.a. Jean-Marc) is fictional, you’ll notice he comes strikingly close to resembling the real man George Bent (a.k.a. Beaver), half-breed son of William Bent, frontier tradesman. George Bent was educated in white schools, fought in the Civil War, was at Sand Creek during the massacre, and then became a Dog Soldier and fought in the Indian Wars. His father was a Christian and his mother was a Cheyenne native, and he struggled between their two beliefs. It’s because of George Bent that we are able to know, not only the historical accounts of the Cheyenne, but also their cultural practices.

Come with me now as you read a story of forgiveness and love, unleashed in a world of misunderstanding and hate.

***

This is the note I wrote to readers before they start reading Walks Alone. I want them to know that this is more than just a romance. When I first started this story, I was hoping for an easy book that wouldn’t require too much research. I was needing a break from ancient Rome, where my other books take place. So, I figured, how about writing a story based on my home state? What I didn’t realize was how much I didn’t know about my homeland. I walked and played on the ground where Cheyenne roamed. I had never heard of the Cheyenne before starting on my book. It amazed me that I hadn’t learned anything about them in school. I was heartbroken when the stories of the Cheyenne came to my knowledge. Was this truly the “land of the free?” Free for white men, sure. But not for Native Americans.

If you’re interested in the truth of what happened, watch this video:  The Sand Creek Massacre 

I talked to a few Cheyenne and asked them if they prefer being called “Native Americans,” and if they felt insulted to be called “Indian.” In reality, the tribe members I spoke with didn’t want to be called “Native Americans” (who can blame them?) and preferred the name “Indian,” saying “That’s who and what we are.” Why should they be ashamed of that? They said what insults them today is the name Redskins, which is the name of a popular football team. Of course, I’m sure these opinions vary, but it was interesting to hear the feedback from a few tribal members.

If you watch the video above and follow other links to other videos that tell the true account of the Cheyenne and other tribes, keep a box of tissues by your side. These are true events, not children’s tales. When I learned the truth, I had to tell their story. I had to give them a voice.

Sadly, Hitler was not the only one to commit genocide in this world. We had our own “Hitlers” right here in “the land of the free.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sandi Rog is an award winning author, her debut novel The Master’s Wall winning the 2011 Christian Small Publisher’s Book of the Year Award. She lived in Holland for thirteen years and now lives in Colorado with her husband, four children, a cat, and too many spiders.

Order Walks Alone on Amazon: Available for kindle and pre-order
Order Walks Alone in other ebook formats: http://www.ebookit.com/books/0000001445/Walks-Alone.html

11 comments:

  1. Sandi
    Thank you for giving a voice to a forgotten people. I'm from Colorado and knew about the Cheyenne and some of the ugly history there. It is heartbreaking. It's hard for me to watch or hear about things done to children, especially toddlers. I'm even more sensitive now because I've got a toddler of my own at present and can too easily see him in such events.
    At thirteen I met a Cheyenne girl from Colorado Springs (her name: Joy). We were on a missions trip together and became inseparable for the summer. I think that is where I first got an interest in Indian history. Sadly, over time, we lost touch and I've often wondered what she is doing now.

    Thank you again for sharing your knowledge and writing from the heart and with accuracy. I look forward to getting your book and reading it.

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  2. Sandi, no wonder Dina was so taken by your book. This post is a tear-jerker all by itself, and if your book is written with as much heart as I see here, I know it has to be amazing. I'm looking forward to reading it. Thank you for sharing this with us today.

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  3. I can NOT believe I forgot to say that once again, White Fire has produced another gorgeous, outstanding cover! I love it!

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  4. Yes, I do love this book. And I agree that WhiteFire did a great job on the cover!

    When I look at history I don't really see the "good old days." I see a the injustices and issues that we shouldn't repeat. I think that to gloss over the ugly sides of history can almost become insensitive. Sandi does a great job of illustrating the hard parts of history while still writing a great romance novel and leaving you satisfied and happy at the end.

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  5. Wow, sounds like a powerful book! And yes, the cover is lovely too. Congrats on what looks to be another great WhiteFire release.

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  6. I love "more than romance" books, sounds like a powerful read. I'll be keeping my eyes out for it!

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  7. Sandi, what a powerful post. I appreciate your dedication to shining a light on a painful, but hidden, part of our past. What a tragedy!

    Dina has raved about this book and it's on my TBR list. I'm looking forward to reading it. And yes, the cover is great!

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  8. I started this book today before knowing you were guesting today Sandi. Ive been looking forward to it.

    In many cases team names etc have been adopted out of respect because they represent power and accomplishment. That's just my opinion of course!

    Thank you for addressing such a terrible moment in history with such care. I'm loving the book

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  9. DEB H, I’m so glad you could stop by. I hope someday you can find your friend again. I had a toddler at the time of learning about the Sand Creek Massacre, and I couldn’t read about it without bawling. The toddler plays a pivotal role throughout this story for my hero, White Eagle.

    SUZIE, thank you so much for coming by. I hope you get a chance to read Walks Alone. Yes, WhiteFire did an amazing job on the cover! They’re awesome!

    DINA, I can’t tell you how much I wanted to have an easy, “light” read. But when I heard about the Cheyenne, I too felt it would be insensitive of me to gloss over what really happened. Too often, Native Americans are the “bad guys” in Christian fiction. I really wanted to show what the white men did to these people, and Christian men to boot! My daughter is writing a paper for school about the Native Americans and what they’ve endured, and did you know more Indians died from the white mans hand than the amount of Jews in the Holocaust? It’s absolutely shocking.

    BARBARA, SUSANNE, and FAYE, I hope you get a chance to read this one! I love it too, but e-hem . . . I am biased. :-)

    DEBRA, I agree with the naming of teams, but it’s interesting to hear the perspective of a Native American. I’d never even thought about the possibility of it being insulting. Perhaps it’s because “red skins” was used as a derogatory term, I don’t know. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the book so far!

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  10. Sandi, I did download the book this evening. As soon as my edits are done, I'm going to read it!

    I couldn't agree more with Dina about how shameful it is to gloss over the disgraceful actions of the past. I found an example of this in my own local history last week, where the authors of a local history book detailed cruelty to Chinese laborers of the 1800s via a signed town ordinance, but then "covered" up the names of the perpetrators because they didn't want to "offend" local descendants of those who signed the ordinance.

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  11. SUZIE, that is interesting history indeed! It's just amazing how people treated each other in the past. I know the descendants of Chivington have expressed their shame/disgust for what Chivington did.

    I hope you enjoy Walks Alone!

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