Trickster on NPR

Eileen Kane was featured on NPR's To the Best of Our Knowledge. Click here for the full programme.

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What about the Paiutes of today the Numu, the people I set out to study in 1964?

I ride back into Yerington, Nevada at noon, November 16, 2009, down the deserted main street, past the faded stage-set western storefronts. A cou­ple of tough men in Stetsons and boots squint at me, giving nothing away. One spits at a loping yellow dog. I pick up a copy of "The Only Newspaper in the World That Gives a Damn About Yerington" and go to the Tribal Council Meeting, in its impressive new building on the Ranch. Here are faces I knew on people who hadn't been born when I left or who had been the teen-agers Delaney fretted so much about, almost all of them grandchildren of the models for my characters. "Did you ever meet my grandmother?" "My parents were..."; "My uncle was..."; all I can say is how proud I am to have known them

On the plus side, their houses have been rebuilt, and new ones added; they have a complex of modern buildings, food security, and a good care system for the elders. They get Social Security. A monument to Wovoka marks the entrance to the Colony, and people in Yerington celebrate an annual Wovoka Day.

On the minus side, one in four Paiutes has diabetes, the closed mine is a source of serious water and air pollution, people are "still getting used to reservation life," and some whites still dismiss them as Indians. Many still eat at the back of the local restaurant.

Few people speak Paiute. At the Elder Center I have lunch with some of remaining few who do, the elders and the tribal historian, Marlin Thompson. The elders, children of nomads, former students at Stewart Indian School, would have been been in mid-life when I was first there. We eat buck berry sauce and pine nut soup. They are, as ever, polite and interested. It is these people who have given their stories to the younger generation, people such as Karl Fredericks ("little Earl" in Trickster), to Michael Hittman, to me, to their peers such as Stannard Frank and Ed Johnson, among many others, and have created a legacy that was quite close to being lost.

The Paiute/Numu themselves will be the next to describe their lives today, and are welcome to post any accounts of modern life on this website by clicking here"