Many students who remember learning about the Battle of Little Bighorn may be familiar with the legendary Native American leader, Crazy Horse, who led his Lakota people to victory against the U.S. government. Although Crazy Horse died 140 years ago, his life was recently memorialized in a book titled Crazy Horse: The Lakota Warrior’s Life and Legacy, written by his relatives with the help of writer William Matson.
Matson, as well as Crazy Horse family members Floyd Clown and Doug War Eagle are visiting Pocatello for a book signing, to be held at Walrus and Carpenter Books.
“Publishing a book is part of a conversation that is not regulated by the government or big corporations or whatever,” said Will Peterson, the owner of Walrus and Carpenter. “And it’s good for the human spirit to be creative and to fulfill themselves.”
Peterson said Matson called him and asked if they could hold a book signing and meet and greet at his store as a part of their nation book tour. And Peterson said he always accept solicitations for book signings and readings.
Although many books have been written about the life of Crazy Horse, this is the first to be written entirely from Native American oral histories and took 16 years to complete.
In addition to being able to purchase a copy of the book and have it signed, attendees will have the opportunity to meet some of Crazy Horse’s closest surviving family members and discuss the book and the culture and history surrounding it, including the long journey Matson took in order to gain the trust of the Native people and experience what he said was the “spirituality” of the story.
“I think it’s going to be a big deal,” Peterson said. “This is the opportunity for a cultural event, for people to get together and see each other and talk to each other and feel like a part of history.”
He added that book signings and readings are something that, in his experience, have been dwindling in Pocatello for some time. When he first opened, he said there were multiple self-published authors performing readings of their works and presenting their publications in his shop; now, he says, he’s lucky if he sees five or six a year.
“When I first came to town, it was a very vibrant community, and we had readings once a month,” he said. “If you’re not creating a social environment for literature and art, it seems to fragment.”
Matson, Clown and War Eagle will be visiting the bookshop Nov. 16 from four to six p.m.