Coyote Warrior: One Man, Three Tribes, and the Trial That Forged a Nation [NOOK Book]

Overview

A Civil Action meets Indian country, as one man takes on the federal government and the largest boondoggle in U.S. history--and wins.
Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Coyote Warrior: One Man, Three Tribes, and the Trial That Forged a Nation

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.99
BN.com price

Overview

A Civil Action meets Indian country, as one man takes on the federal government and the largest boondoggle in U.S. history--and wins.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Raymond Cross is a Yale-educated attorney and the youngest son of Martin Cross, an American Indian tribal chairman who spent the bulk of his life fighting a losing battle against the construction of a post-WWII dam near the upper Missouri River that would forcibly remove hundreds of families from their ancestral lands. VanDevelder's exhaustively researched book uses the Cross family story-and Raymond Cross's eventual transformation into Coyote Warrior, the term given to a growing group of Ivy League-trained lawyers working on American Indian rights issues-to help trace the century-long struggle of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes to protect their North Dakota homelands. The author, an investigative reporter and documentary filmmaker, provides a glimpse into the vagaries of federal Indian law and its effects that avoids preachiness, preferring to let research and recollections by the Cross family tell the story. "It doesn't take long with Indian law before you realize you're breathing a different kind of air," notes one attorney who oversaw legislation to terminate federal wardship over American Indian tribes. The book is at its most accessible when it chronicles the personal struggles of the Cross family, but its sometimes tedious descent into legal jargon and switchback chronology may put off general readers. Agent, Joseph Brendan Vallely of Flaming Star Literary Enterprises. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Coyote warriors are Native American leaders who use science, law, and tribal sovereignty to protect their heritage (including their culture and natural resources) against self-serving tribal authorities and federal "trustee" agencies. One such coyote is Raymond Cross, a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara) in North Dakota. VanDevelder investigates the modern history of the tribes via the Cross family, starting with Martin, Raymond's father. As tribal chairman in the 1940s and 1950s, Martin played a pivotal role in advocating for the tribes' rights while vehemently opposing the Garrison Dam, whose construction necessitated taking and inundating ancestral land, relocating hundreds of families, and abrogating numerous treaties. Interviews with those who lived through the events plus testimony and minutes from meetings and congressional hearings create a gripping and vivid portrayal that is extensively researched and well documented. Decades later, Raymond argued and won a case in front of the Supreme Court for retaining the tribes' sovereign immunity (the trial is alluded to in the title). This fascinating book is highly recommended for all libraries.-Margaret Atwater-Singer, Univ. of Evansville Libs., IN Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A solid case study in an emerging trend: American Indian lawyers' use of the courts to extract rights and dollars hidden away in long-forgotten treaties. When William Clark saw the fall run of salmon on the Columbia River, writes freelance journalist VanDevelder, he exclaimed that he could cross from bank to bank on their backs without ever touching water. In 1991, only a single salmon made the journey to an Idaho lake; it was "stuffed, shellacked, and mounted on a pine board and hung in the governor's office in the Idaho statehouse in Boise." Its fate aptly describes a subtext of VanDevelder's narrative, for there was a time when Social Darwinists in the American government hoped that the Indians, dispossessed of their land and stripped of their traditions, would simply fade away. In 1945, that thinking seemed a factor in the US Army Corps of Engineers' plan to create a vast diversion dam across the Missouri River in North Dakota, one that would flood lands claimed by the Arikara, Hidatsa, and Mandan peoples, who had helped Lewis and Clark during the winter of 1804-5 and regretted it ever since. The dam was built, despite the protestations of Indian delegations to the US Congress, displacing thousands of Indians-including the family of Raymond Cross, who would grow up to attend Yale Law and who would take a vigorous interest in redressing the wrongs visited on his people. So he has done, battling the likes of Justices Rehnquist and Scalia, whom Cross characterizes as "an ideological tag team and throwback to another century." Despite setbacks, writes VanDevelder, Cross and other Indian attorneys have been hitting hard, reasserting Indian rights and throwing unschooled judges intoconfusion as "Federal courts are now routinely asked to sort through the myriad of conflicting conditions to divine what tribal leaders understood at the time [a given] treaty was made."A sturdy companion to Michael Lieder and Jake Page's Wild Justice (1997)-highly recommended for readers interested in Native American issues. Agent: Joe Vallely/Flaming Star Literary Enterprises
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316030687
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 10/15/2007
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 914,837
  • File size: 702 KB

Read an Excerpt

Coyote Warrior


By Paul VanDevelder

Little, Brown

Copyright © 2004 Paul VanDevelder
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-316-89689-6


Chapter One

Heart of the World

"The white man does not understand the Indian for the reason that he does not understand America. The roots of the tree of his life have not yet grasped the rock and the soil. He is still troubled with primitive fears. In the Indian the spirit of the land is still vested. Men must be formed of the dust of their forefather's bones." Standing Bear, Oglala

For twenty years after the spaceships landed in the pintail tulies and gooseberry woods on the floodplain, downstream from Elbowoods, Phyllis Old Dog Cross was afraid to look at the moon. A lifetime later, on a June evening in 2002, an unexpected glimpse of the prairie moonrise still sends shivers up her spine. She laughs self-consciously, then turns away and settles into a ladder-back chair at the kitchen table. The opening in the wall beside the table seems less like a window than a picture frame, one that corrals an intimidating sweep of purple sky and a bright yellow coin, balanced edgewise on a bruised horizon. Cowlicked and wind-scoured, the silver swells of storied landscape framed by this window have sustained members of the Cross family for dozens of generations. At the end of a life spent in other places, Phyllis has come back to the only home she has ever known.

"My memories of that night are very evocative, like a smell that reminds you of your mother's kitchen," she says. "I was only eight years old, but before it was over I knew that nothing would ever be the same for us." At seventy-two, Phyllis's short gray hair and high forehead frame the clear, darting eyes of a teenage girl. The muscular deterioration brought on by Parkinson's disease is advancing slowly, but things she took for granted ten years ago, such as getting in and out of her car and walking down the street to her sister Marilyn's house, require a cane and extra effort. She lives alone in a modest frame house on the outskirts of Parshall, a small community with one stoplight and eight hundred residents, farmers and ranchers mostly, perched at the edge of the world in central North Dakota. Her home is a comfortable, solidly built refuge from extremes of prairie weather. A lifetime of mementos and souvenirs surround her in every room. There were the years in the Carter White House working for mental-health legislation, the 1981 Wonder Woman of the Year Award, and her career with the Air Force as a flight nurse and with the Department of the Interior as a pioneering mental-health specialist. Despite the familiarity of local landmarks such as grain silos and cemeteries, Phyllis has been away so long that sometimes she feels like she is trespassing in her own memories.

At the center of those memories lies the broad, meandering valley of the Upper Missouri River. Where the valley begins upstream, the river shakes itself free from the high, sunbaked bluffs and sandstone pillars of the badlands, then bends southward after being joined by the Yellowstone for the long run to the sea. When Phyllis was a little girl, the alluvial valley of the Upper Missouri River was a lush, thickly wooded floodplain that snaked its way across the continent some four to eight hundred feet below the surrounding grasslands of the Great Plains. In central North Dakota - at the middle of this green, four-mile-wide belt of terraced woodlands and open meadows - was the village of Elbowoods and the small house where Phyllis lived with her mother and father, Dorothy and Martin Cross, and her nine brothers and sisters. The house sat at the edge of a dense woodland of maple trees, live oaks, and Russian olives, an unfenced wilderness that was home to white-tailed deer and sparrow hawks, badgers, black bears, rabbits, meadowlarks, bull snakes, and whooping cranes. There, just a five-minute walk from the shallow back eddies in the river where Phyllis learned to swim as a little girl, her mother and father raised cows and chickens, pigs and goats, and grew vegetable gardens and crops of grain on 160 acres of the richest bottomland in North America.

Phyllis is the oldest of the four girls and six boys, their ages spanning eighteen years. Raymond, the youngest, was born in 1948, a year after Phyllis left home. With so many chores around the ranch, and so many little brothers and sisters, Phyllis became the third adult in the Cross household on her sixth birthday. Clustered around the edges of the family portrait are aunts and uncles, and all the far-flung cousins and secondhand relations who played supporting roles in a cast of hundreds. She flips through the pages of a scrapbook. "If you live long enough, your head turns into your own private ghost town."

Phyllis's fear of the moon began on an ordinary school night at her childhood home in Elbowoods. It was an autumn evening, with the usual routine of dinner and dishes, homework afterward, then early to bed. As she and her mother finished up in the kitchen that evening, her father, Martin, fiddled with the dials on the small cherrywood radio in the living room. He tuned the frequency dial to KFYR, a station in Bismarck, hoping to pick up CBS's Mercury Theater on the Air. Back then, the radio's antenna was nothing more than a bare copper wire strung from a window sash at the house to the steel frame of the windmill out by the barn. Slung beneath the prairie sky, this was their ear to the world beyond the horizon, one that captured everything from basketball games and cowboy crooners to New York City jazz clubs. But that evening, instead of the familiar radio drama, Martin and 9 million other people suddenly found themselves listening to a live, eyewitness report of spaceships landing in a small town in New Jersey. Orson Welles's dramatization of H. G. Wells's novella The War of the Worlds had just begun.

It was October 30, 1938, the night the twenty-three-year-old theatrical wunderkind would become a household name. The radio drama, staged as a breaking news flash of an alien invasion, instantly spread terror across the nation. The panic that swept through the Cross household would visit thousands of other homes from Boston to San Francisco. In the CBS studio in New York, however, Welles and his cast were completely oblivious to the chaos being unleashed in towns and cities across America. In fact, prior to going on the air the cast found the script so dull that they asked for a last-minute replacement. None was available, so once the drama began, the cast's lingering doubts about the script charged their on-air performances with a heightened air of realism. Ten minutes into the show, a squad of New York City police stormed into the CBS sound studios with revolvers drawn. Out in the great beyond, from Manhattan to Elbowoods, an estimated 2 million Americans were frantically planning their escapes from the invasion.

"My memory of that night starts with my mom and dad running around the house like a couple of crazy people," says Phyllis. "To this day I can hear Orson Welles's voice describing the spaceships flying across the face of the moon as they came in for a landing. There was no doubt in my mind that they would be in Elbowoods in minutes."

The house where Martin and Dorothy Cross raised their ten children sat in a copse of trees on the northeast side of a cottonwood lane. Rutted to ankle-deep dust by horseshoes and steel-rimmed wagon wheels, the country road disappeared over low-lying hills on its way up the Missouri River from Elbowoods to the village of Lucky Mound. The house itself, a thirty-by-forty-foot rectangle, was a modern abode by the standards of the day. It was built by Phyllis's grandfather Old Dog, a Hidatsa tribal chief and judge who managed to complete it just months before he died in April 1928. When Old Dog's twenty-two-year-old bachelor son, Martin Cross, courted and married Dorothy Bartel, a Norwegian girl from the nearby village of Van Hook, on September 2, 1928, the house became the son's by right and custom.

The young couple's home lacked any sort of newfangled amenities, such as a washing machine or telephone, but for Grandfather Old Dog, frame construction was a bold step into the modern era. Until then, the revered chief had spent his entire life living in traditional, dome-shaped earth lodges and log cabins. The new house allotted each of the Cross family members a hundred feet of space. Typical of most homes built on the Great Plains by do-it-yourself carpenters, this was a practical, no-frills single-story structure. Beneath the hipped roof were three small bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and a screened-in porch that doubled as an extra bedroom during warm weather. The Cross house owed its longevity less to mastery of trade by the builders than to the holding power of galvanized nails and the miracle of tar paper. Without tar paper, barbed wire, and the centrifugal pump - the holy trinity of American ingenuity at the turn of the twentieth century - the central highlands of the North American continent might well have remained an unfenced sea of grass.

The tallest order for any house on the Great Plains was keeping out the weather. Temperatures in Elbowoods could range from sixty below in February to a hundred and ten above in August. Old newspapers were stuffed into the voids between siding and lath. Tongue-and-groove floors in the kitchen and living room were covered with rolled linoleum to cut down on drafts from the root cellar. Windows let light and summer breezes into every room, a dramatic improvement from the shadowy interiors of traditional earth lodges, but this was the extent of the home's architectural luxuries. There was no plumbing or electricity, no central heating, and no closets in the bedrooms. During the winter months, a coal stove squatted in the middle of the living-room floor, consuming fuel around the clock. Beside the radio and Martin's overstuffed easy chair, a plain coffee table sat on an oval-shaped rag rug. A narrow corridor connected the living room to the kitchen, where the family ate its meals. Here were the simple necessities: a cast-iron wood stove that vented into a chimney; a table and chairs; and a hand pump that drew water from a well beneath the house.

"My mom baked bread in that oven at least four days a week," remembers Phyllis. "She chopped the wood and cooked three meals a day for twelve people on that stove. She canned enough food to get us through the winter, and when the temperature dropped to fifty below, we'd get that stove so hot it glowed like a cherry. Why that house didn't burn down I will never know."

When things got too hot in the kitchen in the summertime, a door was propped open onto the back porch. Beyond the porch was the requisite menagerie of outbuildings: a barn and an outhouse; the tack shed with harnesses, saddles, and bridles for Martin's small herd of horses; and chicken coops, whose occupants helped fertilize a two-acre garden that started at the clotheslines and kept on going until Dorothy Cross ran out of energy. At that very spot lay an invisible boundary to another world. Beyond Dorothy Cross's garden there was nothing but open prairie until the outskirts of Minot, sixty miles north. But neither Minot nor Bismarck conjured images of actual places in the young minds of Phyllis and her siblings. "Whatever was out there, beyond Elbowoods, was a big blank."

A half-mile walk from the Cross's front steps was the small town of Elbowoods. The town itself was a simple, right-angled grid of pretty tree-lined streets laid out around a central square on the cardinal points of the compass. A team of government surveyors had picked the site in the early 1890s. It sat at a bend in the Missouri River, about eighty free-flowing water miles upstream from the state capital at Bismarck. Most years, when the river behaved itself and stayed within its banks, the town sat high and dry on an elevated bench of land that overlooked a fertile hundred-year floodplain. As it had for centuries, the river dictated the terms of life for the valley's widely scattered residents. The only thing predictable about the Big Muddy, as locals called the river, was its unpredictability.

Within rock-throwing distance of the town's main square were Simon's and Twilling's general stores, a courthouse, a clump of official-looking Indian agency buildings, the sheriff 's house and jail, and the agency-run boarding school. When Phyllis was a teenager, the boarding school was home to more than 250 children for nine months of the year. There were electric lights in the dorms, central heating in the classrooms, flush toilets, and running water that poured from taps. Down the street from the main square was a state-of-the-art hospital and outpatient clinic. Built by the federal government in 1929, this facility was staffed year-round with a doctor and three nurses. It had eighteen beds, six cribs, a surgical center, and a new ambulance. News of local emergencies could be transmitted to the outside world on a Western Union telegraph key at the agency office, which also boasted the only telephone between Elbowoods and Parshall, thirty miles to the north. For the two thousand members of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara nations, Elbowoods was the heart of the world.

The War of the Worlds broadcast quickly transformed an ordinary school night into a frightful drama. Phyllis's father told everybody in the household to dress in his or her warmest clothes and to meet him at the truck. Then he raced out of the house to tell his sisters, Alice and Lucy, who lived in a small house out by the barn. The two youngest children, Forrest and Marilyn, were both with Dorothy in the kitchen. Phyllis collected the babies, one under each arm, and quickly bundled them up in coats and blankets on the living room floor. While Phyllis was helping her little brothers, Bucky and Crusoe, into their coats, Dorothy was frantically packing food and filling water jugs from the hand pump in the kitchen.

"That's when I heard the news reporter describing more spaceships landing, and I was instantly terrified," says Phyllis. With baby Forrest on her hip and sister Marilyn holding her hand, Phyllis pushed Bucky and Crusoe out the door ahead of her and led them through the dark toward the waiting truck.

In a crisis, Martin Cross was the guy you wanted making the important decisions. At six foot four, 220 pounds, the former rodeo cowboy was physically self-assured and tougher than a fence post. Having spent years at an Indian boarding school in Wahpeton, South Dakota, and several more following the rodeo circuit, Martin had a reputation for being a man of the world, a guy who could think under pressure. But in the haste of the moment that night, he had gotten a step ahead of himself. The car battery, which also powered the cherrywood radio in the living room, was still in the house. As his wife, sisters, and five children all huddled under blankets in the back of the truck, he cursed a blue streak and raced back into the house to fetch the battery.

(Continues...)


Excerpted from Coyote Warrior by Paul VanDevelder Copyright © 2004 by Paul VanDevelder. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 29, 2013

    I just finished reading Coyote Warrior and it was great. I was

    I just finished reading Coyote Warrior and it was great. I was at least somewhat aware of the injustices done to the American Indians, the broken treaties, the stealing of their lands and natural resources, the total disregard of a proud and noble culture and the politician’s inept handling of their responsibilities as trustees but what made the book so interesting and compelling was the authors use of the Cross family to tell the story. This took it out of the realm of a group of nameless people and made it a personal issue and very easy to relate to the Cross’s and the three tribes. I was moved as I could feel at least some of the pain and frustration of these people.
    It also serves as a wake-up call for the way we abuse the earth. We can no longer make decisions only considering the profits of the next year and votes of the next election. We must, as a society, consider the longer term consequences of our decisions. Hopefully, the actions of the various tribes will bring more attention to the need to take better care of our home and who better to bring our attention to this issue than the people who have always had the deepest attachment to and appreciation of the land.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2005

    Exceptional intro to Indian law and more

    I have published an award-winning law review article on Federal Indian Law, worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (until I couldn¿t hold my nose any longer), and had the great good luck to learn Indian Law from Prof. Raymond Cross at The University of Montana School of Law. But Paul VanDevelder taught me new things about all three. Mr. VanDevelder deftly explains some of the more arcane aspects of Federal Indian Law in a way that, at least for me, filled in more of the puzzle pieces - but while also making it easily accessible to even the non-professional. Mr. VanDevelder taught me that the Corps of Engineers can be even more insidious and arrogant than even I had suspected. And, given the good professor¿s reluctance to blow his own horn, Mr. VanDevelder taught me that merely having known Raymond Cross was far more an honor than I could have ever guessed. If you have any curiosity about Indian legal rights, or seek understanding about the grave damage government administrators can do when they embody the worst kinds of ignorance, arrogance, and egomania, or merely hope to be inspired by a ripping good yarn about the undeniable perseverance of the human spirit, Coyote Warrior is your book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)