Reign of the Buffalo
Published: February 2021
Generally, making worthwhile books to read consists of me sitting down and typing, but this book was the exception. After reading the newspaper, I found an interesting story about the history of the American buffalo. The story was about how the U.S. Government targeted buffalo to starve Native Americans and take their land.
I know. It’s pretty hardcore stuff. Taking on such a hard subject made this one of my more difficult books to read, but it’s a true story, so I engaged and wrapped it in my imagination. I’m a person who doesn’t shy away from history, so I felt inspired. I dug and found quite a few exciting bits of information that I threw into the clay to mold the story.
As I began writing, other information came to me from unexpected sources. I watched a movie with my cousin when he made a valid observation.
“Why are most movie characters stereotypical of who the people are?”
I can’t lie. That one hit me hard. I took a day to look at the portrayal of Native Americans in movies, and what I found was pretty fucking disgusting. Portrayals liken them to exotic aliens living on the outskirts of American society. None of the films I saw respected them as regular people moving in today’s society. So, with Reign of the Buffalo, I intentionally went against the grain of that stereotypical perception. I wanted Wilson to be a typical kid with average kid problems, and since the adults in society are usually the a-holes who mess it up for everyone, I elevated the children to almost parental positions while placing a laser beam on the childish behavior of adults. I wanted Wilson and his family to have primarily everyday problems and issues.
One cannot correctly mesh history with reality without acknowledging some horrible aspects of the past. And so, creating the story became a bit of a challenge in that respect because the family had to be modernized, with a hardcore nod toward the genuinely horrible aspects of history. For example, discovering the Cherokee People’s role in slavery surprised me. Schools are pretty silent about this part of history, and I didn’t know what emotions I’d have. But as a writer, I try to divorce myself from my personal opinions to better character and story development. So I wanted to elevate myself to a bird’s level view of everything without letting my emotions pull me down into self-righteousness.
Most Interesting Character
The most interesting character to me was Julia, and it wasn’t even close. On top of being the mother of Wilson, she’s placed firmly in the center of everything. She rebels against her family in choosing the man she wants to love. Julia has to deal with a husband who’s a bit of a mother’s boy with no clear idea of what manhood means to the world outside his tribe. She has this invisible tug-of-war going on with Grandma Noya over ownership of her husband and children. And to top it all off, while people hide things from her, Julia’s forced to find her superpower within herself – her intuition and use it to battle those with far greater powers than hers. This woman has so many layers that I could write a separate story on her alone.
Most Difficult Character
Mr. Green was hard as hell to create. He definitely made this one of my most difficult books to read. Why? The temptation to unleash all his evils was so strong that I had to do several rewrites. He’s one of the characters I had to shroud in mystery because of the impact I want him to have as the story continues.
The Cherokee language. Library trips were regular when I was trying to piece together a conversation. Hard AF!
Location: I chose Asheville and Georgia because I grew up in the two places. I’m intimately familiar with the history of both and the cultural nuances of being a child there. It was just a natural fit.
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