Individual taste in books varies as much as the favorite rod or fly.  With that in mind, we hope to review books and videos from the ever-growing fly fishing world, and share them with you.  Books will be the best of all worlds, new and old.  Many of the old books are now available in reprint, and the wisdom contained is timely today.  Others can be found in second-hand book stores, or by mail order dealers. As we find videos we feel are outstanding they will be included. Be assured, reviews are based on what we have actually read, and due to that fact, may not appear weekly.

August 8th, 2005

Native Waters;A Few Moments In A Small Wooden Boat
By Roger Emile Stouff


Reviewed by Ron Eagle Elk

Native Waters;A Few Moments In A Small Wooden Boat
Like many of you FAOLer's, I am a huge fan of Roger Emile Stouff's articles on FAOL called Native Waters. With each new issue of FAOL on Mondays I eagerly look forward to a new column from Roger's pen (or computer). I know that each new article will either have me rolling with laughter or pondering some event in my life. In several instances it has done both at the same time.

When his book Native Waters, A Few Moments In A Small Wooden Boat came out I knew I had to have a copy. Like Roger, I get distracted, and only recently purchased a copy. Before getting my very own book, I had read posts on the Bulletin Board by others who said it was a page turner, couldn't put it down til the last page and similar comments. I must tell you that it wasn't that way for me. It took me almost two weeks to get through the 284 pages of Roger's year. It's not because this isn't a good book,..well, it's not a good book, it's a great book. It's because Roger and I share similar backgrounds. We are both mixed bloods, the term half breed is usually said with a sneer of disgust where I come from, and we both live in circular, not linear, time for a good part of our lives. We also both turned away from our ancestral ways for a time, only to follow the circle that brought us home again to the important things in life.

Rogers writing reminds me of sitting around with the elders in the winter as they told and retold the oral history of a people. Elders have a way of allowing you to think about the things that were said over the last couple of hours. I call them elder pauses. Like they are catching their breath before continuing, but it's for you to catch up and reflect a bit about what has been said, and how one part of the story connects to another in a never ending circle.

Roger's finely written words evoked such strong memories in me that I had to make my own elder pauses. I'd read a bit, find a part that struck a chord, then put the book down to ponder the impact of the words or the memory that they brought out, only to pick the book up again and continue on with the story. Like any good story, there are parts I missed, or weren't perfectly clear with the first reading, so it will have to be retold, in this case reread, several times to get a clear understanding and exhaust the memories that each retelling brings forth.

When Roger speaks of the things that most people would consider myth or legend, I know that they are the simple truth of a people connected to the land that supports them. Science can attempt to explain these things away, but the truth of a people that have inhabited an area for thousands of years rings true to my ears.

In many ways I envy Roger, living in a house that has sheltered his family for 160 years, for my Father's people were nomads of the Great Plains. Our houses were made from the hides of buffalo, in a shape given to us by the leaves of the cottonwood tree. Any shelter of ours which is that old surely is sealed away in some climate controlled museum, never again to shelter the people who created it. What a pleasure it must be to live within a thin spot in the universe.

Those who read the book and find a fascinating story will realize they have spent their money well, and just as important, will get their monies worth. Those who read the book and have the written words trigger a response deep within their spirit will soon realize this isn't just a book, but a treasure, to be read and reread, time and time again.

You can order it direct from: www.iuniverse.com, Amazon.com, or Barnes & Noble.com. ~ Ron Eagle Elk (REE)

Native Waters; A Few Moments In A Small Wooden Boat
Roger Emile Stouff
Published by iUniverse
Softbound, 6 x 9 inches, 284 pages, color
ISBN: 0-595-34316-3
Price: $21.95 US

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