Marchand’s new book gives us insights into Native American contributions, culture
Our renewed interest in the history and culture of indigenous people in North Central Washington should be celebrated and as well as challenge us to better appreciate and value the 10,000-plus years of history that most of us don’t think about. We have a lot of work to do to appropriately honor our Native Americans neighbors.
Arnie Marchand was kind enough to send me his most recent book, Stim an S Kwist “What’s your name?” The cover of the book and the stories within reveal the answer to that rhetorical question. Okanogan.
Marchand, a Colville Confederated Tribe member who lives in Oroville, gives us rich insights about the Okanogan/Okanagan history and culture. He clears up misconceptions such as the fact that there is no Colville Tribe and he tells about the land and the lifestyle and recounts stories from a Native American perspective of significant events in North Central Washington and beyond, such as the visit of David Thompson and the 1855 Indian Wars.
Marchand told me he wrote the book to remind the people who live here of the significant events and some of the outstanding Native American individuals who have made contributions to their communities and the country.
He writes about his parents, George and Sophia Cohen Marchand, Eddie Palmenteer Jr, one of the founders of the Colville Tribal Enterprise Corporation, tribal leader Lucy Covington who was a force resisting efforts to terminate the reservation in the 1950s and other people of significance like the famed aviator Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, whose mother lived in the Okanogan.
It’s wonderfully appropriate that as we are seeing Corsairs in the skies of the Wenatchee Valley for the movie Devotion, a Korean War-era film focusing on Black aviator Jesse Brown, we remember the famed leader of the Black Sheep Squadron in World War II.
One of the poignant and delightful approaches Marchant employs is referring to time as BC and AD — as in Before Caucasians and After (Grand Coulee) Dam. This is something that adds a lighter touch to events that changed the way of life for Native Americans in our region.
A finishes the book with “stories we never tell white people,” and in doing so imparts some important cultural stories.
Marchand told me he’s proud of this book, which is his second offering. The first was “The Way I Heard It” and features stories he recalled and researched.
This is certainly a must-have book for those interested in the history of our region. At present, there are copies available at Oroville Pharmacy, Lee Fras in Tonasket, Rawsons in Okanogan, Pateros City Hall, and Valley Goods at the TwispWorks campus. Copies can also be accessed through the North Central Regional Library system. This book takes readers on a wonderful journey and brings to life the people and the culture.
May we continue to learn about those who came before us and appreciate their contributions and their struggles.