Over a Century of Moving to the Drum: Salish Indian Celebrations on the Flathead Indian Reservation
Salish Traditional Celebration Given Tribute in New Book
For more than 100 years, the annual Arlee Fourth of July Celebration, or Powwow, on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana has brought people together to honor the traditions of the Salish.
In his book, Over a Century of Moving to the Drum: Salish Indian Celebrations on the Flathead Indian Reservation , author Johnny Arlee, an instructor in the Salish Kootenai College Salish Cultural Leadership program, offers an informative tribute to this longstanding event.
Arlee's rich description of the ceremonial and social significance of early Fourth of July celebrations grows out of interviews he conducted with Salish elders during his tenure as the founding director of the Salish Culture Committee in the 1970s.
Corky Clairmont, Josh Pepion and Tony Sandoval illustrated the book with pen and ink sketches of powwow scenes and costumes worn in traditional dances.
Photographs of powwows in the 1940s from the Montana Historical Society's photo archives collection also help bring the celebration to life for the reader.
The book is copublished by the Salish Kootenai College Press and the Montana Historical Society Press.
"Our hope is that the book will help younger tribal members learn more about early powwows and customs, while introducing non-Indians to this vibrant and growing part of Salish tradition," Bob Bigart, editor of the Salish Kootenai College Press, said.
Martha Kohl, former editor of the Montana Historical Society Press, said the Salish Kootenai College Press has a tradition of publishing quality books on tribal history and culture.
"We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with them on this project, which we think is important for all Montanans," Kohl said.
In addition to Arlee's research and personal observations, the book includes interviews with powwow participants ranging from the oldest living member of the Salish nation, 97-year-old Louise Combs, to 18-year-old Louie Plant, one of many younger tribal members whose commitment to the powwow Arlee hopes will assure its survival for future generations.
Richly illustrated and 104 pages, Over a Century of Moving to the Drum is available in paperback at local bookstores or can be ordered from the Montana Historical Society Museum Store for $14.95 plus shipping by calling toll-free 1-800-243-9900.Order