John Joseph Mathews was an Osage Indian born in 1894. Thanks to the oil found on their land in Oklahoma, the Osage would be about the only rich tribe in the United States in the twentieth century. Their money allowed Matthews to go to Oxford University. In World I, he was a fighter pilot. After the war, he moved to the big city and became a writer. Wah'Kon-tah (which describes life for the Osages with their agent Major Miles on the reservation established for them in the 1870s) was a best seller in 1932. That same year, Mathews moved back to his family's land in Oklahoma, where he built a house. This book, which can be compared to Thoreau's Walden, describes a year there, concentrating on Mathews' observations of nature and the people around him. His house he has built out of the locan sandstone - it's centered around a huge fireplace and sits on a high ridge, from which he can see the surrounding blackjacks, scrubby twisted oaks with an incredibly hard wood. A cowboy friend named Les Claypoole always comes at that time of year, to eat a steak and drink some beer and talk about the changes they've seen over the years. At the start of the summer, Mathews describes the roaring of a buffalo bull and the Osages' traditional dances. It begins to get cold and Matthews goes out to hunt geese. He loves the relationship he has with his faithful dogs.
All told, Mathews will spend ten years in what he comes to describes as his world.
This book has little line drawings by Matthews himself, mostly of animals. Its introduction is by Elizabeth Mathews, the woman he will finally marry.
This report prepared by Ann Gaines