When writing Going Home, I knew I was taking on some controversy when I had my hero fight for the South. This also is the most multicultural book I have written with secondary characters who are Chinese, Jewish, Native American, and half black and half white. What I did not expect was my own country again to be debating the causes of a war that was fought from 1861 to 1865. This was a war though that tore a nation apart and the healing didn't happen quickly even in far off places like Oregon.
My hero, Jed, faced more than those who hated anyone who fought for the South. Eastern Oregon was caught up in another Indian War-- The Snake War was one of Oregon's most violent. This clip has three men discussing the current and previous situation. They sat on a porch in Eastern Oregon as night made them reflective.
Excerpt from Going Home:
“Part of my crew are two Warm Springs,” Jed said as he watched the smoke rise. The moon had just come up and was casting an eerie glow on the other men’s faces. He supposed his also. “I wonder if they will feel safe to return.”
“They might not want to leave their people,” Rand agreed. “The Snakes aren’t any friendlier to peace loving Indians than they are to whites. Right now they want to wipe any sign of us from their land.”
“Again,” Adam said, “I understand how they feel, but I’d have to kill them also to keep my own safe and protect my land. I wish there was a better way for men to resolve their differences.”
Phillips looked then at Jed, met his gaze. “Sometimes there isn’t and yet here we are, sipping a whiskey, smoking, when a year ago, Jed and I would have been trying to kill each other. Rather ironic, isn’t it.”
“You expect the Indian conflicts could end up the same way?” Jed asked with a touch of disbelief even if he wished it to be so.
“Once there is a clear victor.”
“You expect there will be,” Jed said laconically.
“Eventually. Hard feelings or not, this is a problem of land. It seems unlikely to be settled short of a lot of dying. I may not like it, but it’s how the world has always operated. The military tries to make peace but again and again it’s undermined by those who want control. What do you do about that?”
“Peace is found in a cemetery and sent there with a bullet,” Jed said with some bitterness. Two of his brothers had paid the ultimate price as they had tried to secure their land. Just because it had always been that way didn’t mean it should.