This book is a treasure. It is available on Amazon as an e-book, but we had 100 of them printed. Softcover, 279 pages. Written by Howard Hansen, Frank Herbert's good friend. Howard is in his 90s now, and he spent 50 years writing this book. Very interestingly, another book, by the name of Twilight was written around that time as well. They even made it into movies. Both books are about the same people and the same place - the Quileute Indians of LaPush, WA, Olympic Peninsula. But that's where all similarities end.
Howard Hansen's book Twilight on the Thunderbird, A Memoir of Quileute Indian Life is "The Real Twilight." This book had the distinction of being one of only a few in my life when, upon turning the last page, I wanted to start over from the beginning, again. I found myself thinking in new ways, right down to linguistic elements. The stories are humorous, informative, historical, heartfelt, and very thought-provoking. He shares stories told by the elders to him. They had direct memory of the Northwest before it was all logged off. The insights are very timely.
Twilight on the Thunderbird was one of two books that inspired Mali Klein's Black Root Medicine the Original Native American Essiac Formula (2014, 54 pages). Quotes from Twilight on the Thunderbird appear throughout Black Root Medicine book. (If you read Twilight on the Thunderbird you will see why I left out the 'the' in that sentence!)
Mali Klein has written a review!
‘Twilight on the Thunderbird, A Memoir of Quileute Indian Life’, by Howard Hansen, Third Place Press, 2013, a review by Mali Klein.
Howard Hansen’s long lifetime spans ten years short of a century. Born on the Quileute reservation at La Push on the far north-west and ‘spirited’ tip of the United States in 1923, his narrative is comparable to the chanting of the great northern sagas as seen through the eyes of an Elder lamenting the loss of the old ways in his native culture and tradition, when ‘…we never ‘sought’ for things to do, we living was a doing thing.’
Howard employs the rich poetry of Indian thought and language where, moment by moment, a single word invokes the resonance of the sounds of La Push – the voices of drums and songs and surf telling of the times that were and prophetically, the times to come – ebbing and flowing and impossible to forget.
Invited, we walk with him on the beach where his people fished and hunted whale and seal. Wondering, we share the blessing in the glowing light of the late afternoon sun released at last from the ever-present cloud cover to set, multicolored, over an endless sea. Breathless, we sit beside him in a canoe hollowed out from the trunk of a cedar tree to watch the majestic salmon in their thousands coming home to spawn, streaking through gleaming phosphorescence when plankton filled the river on the flood tide.
For the Quileute nation, as for so many others, ‘it was no small thing, to survive,’ as they were denied their ancestral hunting rights on the prairies and forced to endure the hardship of the dark season at the mercy of the ferocious winter storms, ‘six thousand miles old and strong’, that rode on the winds and the waves to batter the unprotected coastlands. ‘Twilight on the Thunderbird’ is their story. The book began with its title on the beach at La Push in 1958 and if you read no other, make time for this one.