The Methow Valley Interpretive Center is reviving the winter book club with “Slash,” by Jeanette Armstrong. The book is available at the Interpretive Center bookstore, open Saturdays from noon-3 p.m. The book club meets on Wednesday, Jan. 31, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Interpretive Center. To sign up, visit the MVIC Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MethowValleyInterpretiveCenter, and select “Events.”
“Slash,” written in 1985, is the first novel to be written and published by a First Nations woman in Canada. Armstrong wrote this novel for use in secondary and collegiate curriculum. Set in British Columbia in the traditional Okanagan territory of the Syilx people, the novel unfolds from the perspective of Thomas “Slash” Kelaskat, reflecting on his lived experiences beginning with his early school years through his growth into activism and embracing his familial Okanagan roots.
In recent years, stories have come to light about the historical efforts to silence the Okanagan people. In 2021, Canada’s highest court recognized the Sinixt people of Okanagan were not, in fact, extinct, allowing them access to family graves. In 2022, the New York Times reported the discovery of a mass grave of over 200 children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. With this broadened perspective of impacted communities in the 1960s, “Slash” gives a personal experience of the harsh realities of racism and growth and activism in spite of all odds.
Armstrong is a prolific author spanning a multitude of genres: children’s books, adult novels, academic curriculum, poetry, and more. She was instrumental in the creation of the En’owkin International School of Writing for Native Students at Okanagan College, and she is a recipient of the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career.
Armstrong may have inherited the writing bug through her great grand aunt, Christine “Mourning Dove” Quintasket, who lived in Okanogan County and is buried in Omak. Mourning Dove’s 1927 novel, “Cogewea,” is widely considered the first novel written and published by an Indigenous woman in the United States. Writing first works of importance runs in the family.
In other news, the Met-Low enjoyed a reprieve of blue skies and sunshine this last weekend, after a week of fog. The Methow Store updated their sign, and honestly, I live for the sign updates — 2024 is going to be a good year, I can feel it.
Elsewhere in the Met-Low, Libby Creek’s Emily Gibson is remodeling her bathroom, and put out a call to the neighborhood when she needed help moving a tub. Libby Creek did not disappoint. Neighbors enthusiastically respond when it comes to potlucks, community gardens, midnight donut shenanigans, and now, apparently, semi-professional bathtub movers dressed as elves. Happy New Year!