Tuesday, February 5, 2013

David-Michael Harding's Novel, Cherokee Talisman, Endorsed by Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker

"White people claimed to have ownership of the
land, as if they held dominion over it. He had
abandoned any measure of comprehending this
peculiar white-way years before. Even now as the
thought seeped through his mind again, Dragon
smiled slightly at the absurd notion. The land
could not be owned. Does anyone own the sky?
Do they pretend to own the water that flows? The
wind? The rain? Trees? Stones? The soil? No
one can own the land. The Tsalagi understood
that the earth was provided for them. If they took
care with it, it would support them...

Cherokee Talisman

By David-Michael Harding

The new historical novel by David-Michael Harding is an epic story covering generations of one family in particular and the Cherokee nation in general. Of importance to any potential reader is the Foreword written by Cherokee National Principal Chief Bill John Baker in November, 2012, which ended with, "History is written by the victorious, but when almost forgotten historical characters are brought to life, and their stories told, they are preserved for the ages, and in this preservation David-Michael Harding has succeeded."

Indeed, Harding has done an outstanding job in writing from the principal characters, so much so that you may feel it was written by those individuals who actually lived the stories. Readers will quickly understand the depth of reading and research done by the author in order to present the lineage of his characters, based upon that research. Note that on my own referencing, I did not find the name T'si'yugunsini, and all the other names by which he was known. However, Chief Baker has stated--most history has been written by the victorious...and we all know that our Native Americans were not those victors. The novels and the one coming next, are of course fiction but the words of this author ring true to me...Sad to say...I am thankful that I've had the opportunity to read this book and help spread news of  it...

Readers enter the lives of the Cherokee, Tsalisi, family, at the point when settlers and the government have started to "negotiate" land acquisition. Of course, there was no attempt to ensure proper compensation, even if the Cherokee believed they owned the land. What they did believe, however, was that it was given to them by the Everywhere Spirit and it was always to be available to them, by right!

There were many going into land trades, on their own, making deals and selling the land. When the government put a stop to that, many, such as John Sevier were given officer positions in the armed forces. They were as ruthless there as they were while making deals...
"That's true. But since we are in agreement about these savages, I need to assume that we are also in agreement on the present condition of our scalps. If you want to keep yours where it is and I know that I wish to retain mine, I say again, let's not insult these people. There wasn't a one in this room tonight who wouldn't take our hair if it profited him. I'm certain that Attakullakulla can be included in that group and I wouldn't put it past Boone to take a white man's scalp if he had a mind to.
"Now Sevier smiled outright. "Probably so. He's been so long in the wilderness he can't remember what side he's on...
'Henderson hesitated over his own papers but smiled through the side of his mouth. "We'd kill every one for a single acre of land just to have them out of our way...
"Good? This has got nothing to do with good. It's about land..."
"Land equals money. When this is said and done it's about money. Good or bad. Right or wrong is immaterial to me. And you..."
It was Attakullakulla, Tsi'yugunsini's father, who finally entered into the first treaty, even knowing that Tsi'yugunsini would not agree and thereafter would continue to fight and raid the settlements...

One happy connection, though, had been made that day. A young orphan named Totsuhwa became connected to his hero. Later when his only relative, his grandmother Ama Giga died, he went to find and live with Tsi'yugunsini as his son. He became a great warrior but also was a shaman, having learned everything from his grandmother.

It is Totsuhwa's story that is most central outside of the battles that were fought. For he fell in love and had a young son, who, even as he was very young, followed after his father in all ways, in order to become like him. But their loving relationship was also shattered by white men...

There is so much to learn in the pages of this novel. What I found most compelling, however, was what happened to Tosuhwa's family... It is one thing to read of the battles fought among men. It is another thing to read of the rape, the abuse, and the capture of women and children, to be sold for a profit...

Daniel Boone leads more settler's into land previously housing
The Cherokee Nation.

"Totsuhwa eventually found the cabin in the village of dead. As he got near he saw soldiers running from other
roughhewn log houses carrying all manner of spoils and trinkets. No one came out of the cabin that held his attention
and in a moment he knew why.
"When he reached the cabin door he peered in cautiously, remembering the woman with the small knife and the boy
with the tiny bow. Movement to the side of the single room captured his eye and he saw soldiers. One was going through the family''s belongings and had already placed a decorative belt under his arm. A second was standing near the woman buckling his pants and refastening his suspenders. A third was still hunched over the woman between her legs. At the moment Totsuhwa understood, the third soldier raked his knife across the woman's throat..."

Cherokee Talisman is an excellent historical novel about what happened in early America--from the Native Americans' standpoint...Give yourself the opportunity to understand what our heritage is really about...and read some of the truth you never learned in history class... Highly Recommended!


David-Michael Harding, seen here working on Book 2, is a life-long writer whose work has appeared in national publications and has been recognized by the international writing community. He is a former collegiate writing instructor and semi-professional football player. His experiences provide readers with well researched, crushing fast-paced action. Most of his days are spent writing from the cockpit of his sailboat, Pegasus, somewhere off the Nature Coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. 


  1. This sounds like an interesting and informative book. Congratulations.

  2. Gail - Sheila... if you enjoy American history, you need to read this one...