By Paty Jager
The books of my heart that I titled Spirit Trilogy are set among the Nez Perce Indians of NE Oregon. The Lake Nimiipuu as they called themselves wintered and summered in the Wallowa Valley where I grew up.
Spirit of the Mountain takes place in the early 1700’s when the enemies of the Nez Perce were other tribes. Spirit of the Lake is the early 1800’s when the White man started moving in and living in the valley where they spent their summers. Spirit of the Sky follows the non-treaty Nez Perce who refused to sign the treaty of 1863 that would take the Wallowa country out of the reservation, as they flee for freedom in Canada with the Army on their heels.
While reading several books on Nez Perce myths and legends I came up with the sibling spirits that are the main characters in the books. They are a figment of my imagination, but as I wrote their stories, they came to life for me and made it hard for me to think of them as paranormal. They are shapeshifting spirits who look after the Lake Nimiipuu.
To write this trilogy I had to study and research the Nez Perce Indians in the 17 and 1800’s. Their way of life and how they worked together for a cohesive “family” endeared them even more to me. While my books focus on the Lake Nimiipuu, doing the research now, it was hard to get exact facts on this band. The information I gleaned is from several different bands of Nez Perce so some spellings were different and some of the customs may have differed slightly from band to band.
The children of Nez Perce families were taught by their grandparents. The grandfathers taught the boys how to make weapons, hunt, fish, track, and fight. Grandmothers taught the girls how to take care of their families, do the chores, and help their men. The elders passed down the stories of the trickster coyote and how “The People” came to be. By reading books of their legends I learned how the legends taught the children basic truths about life and how to conduct themselves to be good Nez Perce.
Grandmothers also taught the girls about the coming of age and were by their sides during marriages and the births. When a girl began her menstrual cycle she would stay in the menstrual lodge for the duration of her bleeding. It was believed the women carried strong powers during this time and were susceptible to getting pregnant. They also thought this strong power would overrule the man’s power.
This isolation served a purpose. They held private discussions about personal problems and conditions of health, exchanged views on herbal medicine, and composed songs. They cooked their own meals in the lodge and didn’t touch anything outside nor could they attend any ceremonies during this time.
They used buffalo hides with the fur still on for menstruation pads or buckskin and milkweed. The used pads were put in a hole in the middle of the dwelling and buried.
After puberty girls were no longer allowed to play with boys and stayed in a lodge with their grandmothers and aunts and taught the ways of women.
Here are the blurbs for each of the books.
Spirit of the Mountain
Evil spirits, star-crossed lovers, and duty…which will prevail?
Wren, the daughter of a Nimiipuu chief, loves the mountain and her people—the Lake Nimmipuu. When a warrior from the enemy Blackleg tribe asks for her hand in marriage to bring peace between the tribes, she knows it is how she must fulfill her vision quest. But she is torn between duty and her breaking heart.
Himiin, as spirit of the mountain, watches over all the creatures on his mountain, including the Nimiipuu. When Wren shows no fear of him as a white wolf, he listens to her secret fears and loses his heart to the mortal maiden. Respecting her people’s beliefs, he must watch her leave the mountain with the Blackleg warrior.
When an evil spirit threatens Wren’s life, Himiin rushes to save her. But to leave the mountain means he’ll turn to smoke…
Windtree Press http://windtreepress.com/portfolio/spirit-mountain/
Spirit of the Lake
Can a spirit set upon this earth to see to the good of the Nimiipuu stay true to justice when revenge burns in his heart?
Wewukiye, the lake spirit, saves a Nimiipuu maiden from drowning and bringing shame to herself and her family. Learning her people ignored her accusations against a White man who took her body, leaving her pregnant,Wewukiye vows to help her through the birth and to prove the White man’s deceit.
Dove slowly heals her heart and her distrust as Wewukiye, the warrior with hair the color of the sun, believes in her and helps her restore her faith in her people and herself.
On their quest for justice, Dove reveals spiritual abilities, ensnaring Wewukiye’s respect and awe. But will these abilities seal their future or tear them apart?
Windtree Press http://windtreepress.com/portfolio/spirit-lake/
Spirit of the Sky
Can enemies not only work for peace but find love?
Sa-qan, a Nimiipuu eagle spirit, must take a human form to save her mortal niece when the Nimiipuu are forced from their land by the U.S. Army. Sa-qan strives to remain true to her spirit world and her people, but finding an ally in a Cavalry Officer has unraveled her beliefs.
During battle with the Nimiipuu, Lt. Wade Watts finds a blonde woman hiding a Nez Perce child. He believes she is a captive when her intelligent eyes reveal she understands his language. Yet she refuses his help. Their paths cross several times during the skirmishes, and she becomes his savior when renegade warriors wound him.
This book will be available soon.
All are available in ebook and soon in print.
Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. On her road to publication she wrote freelance articles for two local newspapers and enjoyed her job with the County Extension service as a 4-H Program Assistant. Raising hay and cattle, riding horses, and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
Her first book was published in 2006 by Wild Rose Press since then she has published seventeen novels, two anthologies, and five novellas. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story.
You can learn more about Paty at her blog; Writing into the Sunset her website; http://www.patyjager.net or on Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/#!/paty.jager , Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1005334.Paty_Jager and twitter; @patyjag.