Thursday, October 15, 2009
JOHN TANNER, THE FALCON
Hansa-Hewlett Publishers of Kalamazoo, MI. recently published Charles Daudert‘s Narrative of John Tanner, The Falcon (found at Amazon and other major book stores.
This newest edition contains Tanner’s original Indian Captivity as he relayed it to Dr. Edwin James, M.D. It also includes the original Treatise on Indian Language and customs by Dr. James. Edwin James, M.D., was a renowned botanist and naturalist, and an Army surgeon at Fort Sault St. Marie, where Tanner had found employment as an Army interpreter.
Daudert, an Attorney as well as an accomplished author, has several published books in areas under History, Religion, and Academic. In his newest effort, he offers his own (new) Introduction based on his lengthy research. A special feature, is his splendid “Epilogue”. This life-long Attorney, has thoroughly reviewed legal issues in the question of “Who killed James Schoolcraft?”
While some allege that Tanner killed James, the brother of Henry Schoolcraft, by whom Tanner had been employed, Daudert offers additional research and provocative insights while weaving his way through a maze of prospective candidates for this as yet unsolved murder of nearly two centuries past--material not before published.
“The Falcon” provides a fascinating narrative of a victim suffering indignities that shape his life--so much not of his making. It offers insight into the daily life of earlier native America. It reflects the inevitable conflict of cultures as well as the corruption, suppression and ultimate destruction of Native American culture--not to mention the corrupt politics of Anglo-European interests.
Kidnapped from his father's Kentucky farm on the Ohio River at age nine, John Tanner was carried north by Shawnee Indians to Saginaw--Michigan Territory. Two years later he was bartered to an Ottawa tribe at Petoskey. At 13 he was taken to the region of present-day Winnipeg, where he endured a gut-wrenching 30 years of living, hunting, and starving among the Ojibway people--totally culturally assimilated.
Tanner married twice, and had a family, but lost all knowledge of English except for a few rudimentary words. At age thirty-nine, opportunity came for a return to the “Soo”. Meeting Dr. James, he found members of “his family”--a story by itself.
Dr. James wrote down Tanner's autobiography as Tanner told it. In 1830 they published A NARRATIVE OF THE CAPTIVITY AND ADVENTURES OF JOHN TANNER (U.S. INTERPRETER AT THE SAUT de SAINTE MARIE) DURING THIRTY YEARS RESIDENCE AMONG THE INDIANS IN THE INTERIOR OF NORTH AMERICA.
This new edition--Tanner, James, Daudert--includes the original 1830 edition, by Dr. James, with his lengthy treatise of Indian culture and language. Daudert adds a thoroughly researched new Introduction and an interesting Epilogue, along with photographs, maps and brief biographical notes of important people in Tanner's life.
While Dr. Edwin James was an outspoken champion of the Indians, his account of Tanner failed to prevent the “Trail of Tears” and related tragedies. But as we learn, not all forest Indians were corrupted, although perceived as “savages.“ Daudert reminds us that Tanner’s band was rescued from death and starvation by Indians of the forest regions who still practiced the traditions of Native American culture that served them so well for so many generations, until exploited by the White Man‘s “Spirits” and other corruptive influences.
Daudert intends for his expanded edition to enlighten students of Native American culture, as well as achieve some of the purposes originally intended by Edwin James. While I found more information than I could immediately digest, I found a very readable story of a historical character that was new to me--a great read. In addition, mystery, historical intrigue, legal and social issues, fired my mind with interest.
I satisfied myself with who did NOT murder James Schoolcraft; I wonder who you think did. I recommend this new edition by Charles Daudert for your informed reading pleasure. It is apparently selling quite well at Amazon--John Tanner, the Falcon
Wayne, walking with Warner,