Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Josephy blog in 2012

First off, thanks to all who have followed and responded to postings on the Josephy Library blog this year.

The deeper into Josephy I dig, the more I learn, and the more prescient his early writings in Western and Indian history become. I guess if I had to distill a year’s reading and digging to a sentence, it would be that Josephy learned and declared in the 1950s that Indians have, against all attempts to kill them and/or to assimilate them, survived; that Indians have history that has been ignored and maligned; and that Indian history and culture have things to teach us still.

Alvin gathered Indian writers and scholars and produced America in 1492: The World of the Indian Peoples Before the Arrival of Columbus, on the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s landing. My favorite read this year was Charles Mann’s recently published 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus, which picks up the argument.

Alvin’s writings on Indians and salmon, Indians and the Kinzua Dam, Indians and the Four Corners, Indians and water rights, Indians and sacred sites, played their roles in moving public policy and perceptions at the time—and they are still timely.

So long-time publisher and friend of Alvin’s, of mine, and of Fishtrap, Marc Jaffe, and I are working on an anthology of Josephy writings—published and unpublished—that could move beyond this blog and contribute to the current idea exchange. We will keep you posted.

And I am, with friends at the U of Oregon Library and Cliff Trafzer at the U of California, Riverside, trying to find an unpublished Josephy manuscript on the Sioux. It might be publishable still.

And a weekly, three minute radio program, “From the Archives,” will begin running on KPBX, the public radio station in Spokane, in January.

And our amazing volunteer librarian, Shannon Maslach, continues to put books and interesting ephemeral material on the shelves and into the SAGE Library cataloging system. I will have a piece on the ephemera and manuscripts out soon. This is material that some of you will find useful.

I wish you the very best in the New Year, in your vocational and avocational work in history and Indian affairs, and in your personal lives. I wish friends in Indian country continued success in bringing your stories and contributions to all of America.

Most of all, I wish you—and me too!—good luck in dealing with a world that is often overwhelming. Remember that Alvin kept harping on those 1950s themes till the end, often in the face of indifferent audiences and Indians who felt defeated, but he kept after it, and we are here to say that his words mattered then and matter still.

Happy New Year!