"Sometimes My People Get Mad when the Blackfeet Kill Us;" A Documentary History of the Salish and Pend d'Oreille Indians, 1845-1874.
edited by Robert Bigart and Joseph McDonald. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 402 pp., illus., $26.95.
This book, dealing with the natives of the Rocky Mountain region, is rich with information about such nearby Plains tribes as the Blackfoot and Peigan. Imagine the surprise of this reviewer when he found the book contained an account of his wife's great grandfather's murder and the saving of her grandfather.
It happened in 1869 at the trading post of John Healy, on Sun River, Montana. Some Pend d'Oreilles came on a horse stealing expedition while a few Bloods were peacefully camped nearby. According to Healy, "At the first shot the friendly [Blood] Injuns ran out and now were getting under fire. We ran back as fast as we could and just got the strong-door open and shut again when there came a rattle of bullets against the house.
"It seems that at the first fire some of the friendly Injuns ran for the protection of the house, and as the back door into the kitchen opened to let them in there was a shower of bullets.... There was a young Blood shot badly in the leg. He walked in saying, 'I'm very poor [ie. injured]' He died in about an hour. He had lost his woman only a short while before, and he had a little boy. I knelt down beside him and seeing he would die, I said to him, Die easy, father! I will take care of your little boy.' And I did, I kept him for many years."
The boy was given the name of Joe Healy and became the first educated member of the Blood tribe.