D.E.'s Reviews > The Way of the Eagle: An Early California Journey of Awakening

The Way of the Eagle by D.E. Lamont
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Jul 15, 13

(Review from the author)
bookshelves: native-american, inspirational, spirituality, spiritual-gifts, visionary
Recommended for: Fans of inspirational fiction, Native American, natural world, spiritual & paranormal

I wrote this novella about the almost-forgotten Southern California tribe, the Tongva, after growing up in the countryside and city that they once called home. As a kid, it was so unreal to me that authentic original peoples might have once occupied the same land as our concrete and asphalt-surrounded homes, that it took me up into my 40s before the truth really dawned on me and I began to seek out information about them. Los Angeles's development era boomed for decades and an untouched canyon or hillside was scarcely to be found. There was little wild land remaining except in the hills and mountains.

And indeed, during the 1800s the Tongva had been hunted to near extinction. There were bounties on their heads and horribly enough, wagonloads of their heads were collected and turned in. (I don't know the exact dates for the bounty hunting era.) This was the barbaric white and European culture at that time. Because the Tongva's own family structures, culture and many lifeways had been destroyed during the Mission era, many lost or were cheated out of any land they might have had, and those still living off the land were viewed and treated as vagrants.

The arrival of the internet (for me) and its research resources in the 1990s gave me my second surprise, because I learned that some Tongva, though hugely diminished in number, did still live in the area (about 2,000). The elders had preserved and to a certain extent shared their heritage with their children, though many had not, perhaps because such a stigma had been attached to being an Indian for so long, particularly in this area.

Another influence was that over many years I had developed a very strong interest in the innate abilities and spiritual qualities of people, and the culture and life of Native Americans, so it was only natural that I conceived the idea of writing about those original inhabitants I had wondered about for so long - and whose ephemeral presence I had sensed in the few open fields and canyons I wandered as a kid.

I made this story a historical fantasy so that I could draw upon the shamanic abilities of the Tongva, not to mention the character Takoda, who had come from a far northern tribe, and also so that my story could be developed freely and not be constricted by the very limited literature about the culture and traditions of the Tongva. I also wanted modern readers to be inspired and learn from the story and its more timeless values and ideas. I hope you'll have a chance to read it and then let me know what you thought.

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07/15/2013 marked as: read

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