As a boy, local author Jack Dunn played “cowboys and Indians” without questioning the history of either group.
But as an adult, a visit to the southeastern part of the country piqued his interest in the “Trail of Tears,” or forced relocation of Native Americans from their ancestral homes.
“It was implemented by Andrew Jackson and others. They forcibly removed or tried to remove the Seminoles, Creeks and others and send them west of the Mississippi,” Dunn said. “I’m convinced the way the Native Americans were treated was arguably the most egregious human rights violations ever to take place in this country.”
With sympathy for the displaced natives Dunn, of Laflin, recently wrote a historical novel called “The Red-Tailed Hawk,” which begins with an Apache holy man called “Diyin” walking away from a train and regaining his freedom.
As he leaves the train, Diyin is led by and even fed by a hawk, which drops a rabbit at his feet. The hawk will appear numerous times throughout the story, which follows numerous generations of a family that befriends Diyin.
The descendants of the couple Diyin meets owe their existence to Diyin, who notices that the couple has no children and discreetly gives the wife an herbal preparation to help her conceive.
“From some of the research I had done, they spoke in terms of the fact that when Western Europeans came into the New World and all but destroyed the cultures of the Native Americans, there’s a strong feeling that there were a lot of natural herbal things that were lost,” Dunn said.
Dunn’s story extends beyond the present day, all the way to 2062, as Halley’s Comet approaches the earth — perhaps for the last time.
“My friends call this my ‘end-of-the-world’ book,” the author said.
While he says he devotes himself to writing “to keep me out of trouble and off the streets in my retirement years,” Dunn said he’s “tried to do a lot of research to be accurate in terms of places and actions. Maybe this can be more than just an enjoyable piece of fiction.”
The book is available through amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT.