Red Thunder, by David Matheson
Red Thunder (280 pages) is a memoir of a People. The story draws from the oral history of the Schi-tsu-umsh Indians, now called the Coeur d’Alene Tribe in Northern Idaho. This unique portrayal of pre-European Native Americans is an authentic work displaying the rich cultural teachings behind Native American life. Red Thunder is not only about courage, love and family, but about tragedy, hope and renewal as well. Here the oral history traditions of the ancestors are written down with the power of heart and soul. Readers of this century will discover a deep, timely relevance that will bring peace, harmony and understanding to their own daily lives. Red Thunder is a phenomena rarely seen in nature. It is a red flash in the sky at night, evening, or early morning before it is fully light. In our native language, the word ‘red thunder’ also may apply to the accompanying and expected lightning. Further, the four thunders are known as ancient and holy beings of nature possessing great powers and certain qualities and attributes, lightning being one of them. Therefore, this red flash is termed for the power or being actually behind it, the Red Thunder, kewl (red) stalonem (thunder) in our language. The Thunders may be called upon in certain ways and their presence may be interpreted depending upon the situation and whatever ceremonial prayer requests have been offered. It is a sacred sign.
“Using an oral history about the life of legendary ‘prophet chief’ Circling Raven, as well as the stories still told by elderly Coeur d’Alene (or Schi-tsu-umsh) Indians, author and tribal member David Matheson reconstructs the world of an Idaho Native American family in the early 1700s.”
“I recommend Red Thunder to all Native Americans as a book which will help them to connect with our past and to all non-Indians as a book which will help them to better understand our history, culture, and sacred traditions.”
–Ernest Stensgar, former Tribal Chairman, Coeur d’ Alene Tribe
“Reading Red Thunder filled me with remembrances of a life long ago that our grandparents lived. This is what they lived, a humble, respectful existence in life’s cycles, and life’s realities. The story itself served me well to remember what is important even now in modern times, and that is: things that hold us together, family, traditions, sacredness, and ultimately, love.”
–Velma Wallis, author of Two Old Women
Red Thunder was a Foreword Magazine award finalist for the book of the year and historical fiction finalist and the Independent Publisher finalist for multi-cultural fiction.
David Matheson has been a member of the Coeur d’Alene Indian Tribe since his birth in 1951. He has served as a council leader, tribal chairman, and manager of various operations over his career. He is a traditional leader working to retain tribal cultural traditions, the native language, and ceremonial practices. His knowledge of ancient teachings provide him with a deep understanding of the ceremonial practices of native people. He also holds an MBA from the University of Washington. He resides in north Idaho.
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