Red Thunder

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RED THUNDER 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 ...

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Red Thunder

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RED THUNDER 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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 Schitsu'umsh) Indians, author and tribal member David Matheson reconstructs the world of an Idaho Native American family in the early 1700s. Told in the first person, Red Thunder follows a boy called Sun Bear as he learns the teachings of the tribe lessons in when to wage war, the spiritual connection with the land and the relationship between humans and other animals from his elders. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Coeur d'Alene Press - Brent Andrews
"[Red Thunder] was the best book this writer has read this year, maybe even in many years."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935347095
  • Publisher: Epicenter Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

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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Read an Excerpt

"We want peace. We want the goodness of life. That is why we are blessed by the Kolunsuten (God). We never kill or take life indiscriminately, nor do we take slaves. All people are equal. War at just any cost seems insanity; but peace at all costs is slavery! We will not be slaves to anyone. We will not sit by and have our loved ones killed, injured, or captured! With every measure of life and strength we have, we will never allow this!" p. 280
"The blood our warriors shed, and have left upon the ground over the years of time, is the foundation upon which we stand, we walk, we build our homes and we raise our children. Never forget them, never take them for granted" p. 127.

"Death, losing life, and fighting for life are sacred things. The warrior way is not about glory and celebration. It is about doing the terrible things you must do, that no one else of the people can do, in order to protect your loved ones from danger, suffering, or death" p. 38.

"Thank you, my home place, for welcoming us back. You are a sacred place, like a mother you care for us, shield us and shelter us. Greetings great waters in the rivers and creeks, my brothers, the fish. We are returned to you and have never forgotten you. The great meadows, thank you for accepting us and our lodges, and for feeding our ponies to make them strong and fast. The hills around us, you watch over us and provide the game for us to eat, the wood for our fires and many of the medicines we use to take care of our people in need. All of you are my home. In our home lodges we will speakgently and always take the best care of you. We will be happy because we are in harmony with you. Sila always said to talk to our homeland directly, as though it was a person just like me. Again, it seemed to be the simple truth" p. 92.

"Everyone remained still as my Sila (grandfather) and Checheya grandmother) took a little food from the bowls and baskets. They were our elders. They sacrificed so very much for all of us. If it weren't for them, we wouldn't even be here. It seems as though their children and grandchildren are their whole lives, and I can't think of a time they were not a part of my life, teaching, helping, supporting, caring and comforting" p. 14.

"A low flying eagle passed overhead looking intently back and forth through the forest. He was the guardian of the land, the protector against evil. Should he ever disappear or cease to exist, the land and all upon it would perish" p. 78.

"We will only kill two deer. This is part of my pact with the deer and part of my Sumesh power. We will kill only two. Never take more than you need, never be wasteful, and never be boastful..Take the deer only in the respectful manner, pray thankfully for him. Talk to the deer spirit about why you have taken his life. In this way, the deer will be happy for the good purpose for which he has lived and died, and you will be blessed. Otherwise, you could become a troubled or confused person" pp. 18-20.

"The mountains and the lakes, they are a part of us. It feels like us, like we do. The country is alive. It knows us. It is related to us. It is our Noona, our mother. It is our family. We are its children. It does not belong to us. Rather, we belong to it, as did our brothers of the forest, the animal kingdom. We are all one and connected" pp. 66-67.

"Treat your horse like you would want to be treated. He is a great brother to come among the human kingdom to enable and further our living. How many brothers do you know who would come and do that for you - even die for you? Not many. But the good horse does that for you" p. 24.

"The dances continued on for several days. My Noona (mother) and others were tireless in their cooking and accommodating guests. She did this with a good feeling for people and a belief that the foods and the spirit of hospitality would bless her home, her husband and her children. It would make her husband and her sons good hunters, her root and berry gathering could be good and plentiful. The dried foods would preserve without going bad. Her loved ones would never go without food and water" p. 80.

"Nature has a medicinal power just to be in it, by opening your heart and your mind to it. As you turn your mind to it, the soul is refreshed. When the soul is renewed, the heart and mind are joyous, and the body is healed. It makes you turn to the Higher Power in thankfulness. And, in your spiritual thanksgiving, the soul rejoices. The healing power of the natural world is truly incredible" p. 86.

"Always respect your mother. [This is] an ancient teaching of our people. Never talk harshly to her, never get ahead of her and try to talk down to her. In all the world, no one is going to love you so unconditionally and with such absolute dedication" p. 136.

"Winter was supposed to act like winter. Summer was supposed to act like summer. When they didn't, there was a basic disharmony between man and nature, and it needed to be addressed ceremonially" p. 81.

"The families could tell which buffalo were theirs by the family design on the arrow or the spear. If there was ever a dispute about whose it was because the arrow was buried or broken off, it was an honor to be the first to decline it and gift it to the other family. Maybe they were in dire need with limited hunters. The people admired and rewarded generosity. The truly rich people did not own the most, they gave the most" p. 132

"Marriage is a true and complete partnership. One person cannot totally dictate. Concern and problems must be talked about and both sides addressed in the final decision decided" p. 231.

"Harmony with nature and all it is, is not merely a principle or concept. It is a state of being to be attained along the course of a lifetime, earned only by how you live your life. True and living examples of respect, reverent offerings in prayerful, sincere ceremonies and peace with the Creator, this is the only way to achieve this harmony. Our people have it, and we feel its blessing. There really is no difference between our everyday life and religion; and no difference between religion and ceremony. So we pray to the Kolunsuten to sanction all that we do religiously and ceremonially first, bringing ourselves near to nature that He would move to bless us and fulfill our prayers through nature" pp. 173-174.

"It is our way to be very careful around a woman expecting child. You must not yell around them, argue or tell scary or frightening stories. Never say hurtful or critical things. All this will affect the baby. Above all, never ever say anything that may indicate or reflect that you may not really want the child. Such talk could cause a multitude of health and emotional problems in the child, perhaps over the course of a whole lifetime or perhaps the Kolunsuten would take them back. We have to be careful" p. 230.

"Ceremonial ways are sacred and powerful. Only those so authorized by the sacred beings of nature can conduct them, or pass them down to others whom they deem worthy or qualified to conduct them. Our ceremonial ways are protected from abuse or misuse. To mimic or just pick up someone's ways without proper authorization is more than just wrong or foolish, it is dangerous. Spiritually, it would not work out for you, or the people you tried to help. Some great misfortune may actually befall you, or your loved ones" p. 247.

"Treat him special. Talk to him special. He'll understand you. Teach him to pray. That very first cry he cried out as the Kolunsuten blew His breath of air into him, the Creator will never forget it. Throughout his lifetime, when he is in need and comes before the Kolunsuten like a child and he sheds tears in deep humility, He will recognize that cry and know it is one of his people. Your own lives are second now. Your baby's is first. So, do the best you can" p. 249.
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013


    He pads in and peers around "Hello." He greets Heathertail

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013

    Warriors den

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013


    Settled in a nest

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