We live very close to the Tule River Indian Reservation. With the advent of their casino (small by most Indian casino standards) life for these Native Americans has been a change for the better. The reservation is tucked away in a narrow valley between huge mountains. The reservation has more acreage than any other California reservation. However, much of it is inaccessible and includes part of an old growth Sequoia forest.

The Indians now have their own health clinic, a modernized recovery center, day care, their own police force and fire department. Off the reservations they own and operate an air park at the Porterville airport where they do all kinds of air plane repair and other industry. They have plans for a hotel and a new casino in that area.

Something else they have done off the reservation is built a gas station and mini-mart which is state-of-the art–the nicest gas station and mini-mart I’ve ever seen. It’s built off the main highway to Springville, where I live. The gas is the cheapest you can find anywhere around. The place is well-lighted at night and there is always a Tule River tribal policeman on duty.

With this new establishment, they’ve also created a new place to meet people and see old friends. Obviously since the gas is cheaper, people make the extra drive to buy there. Sometimes you have to wait for an open gas pump. Because they also sell essentials along with Subway sandwiches and drinks, many customers venture inside.

It’s amazing how many old friends you bump into while pumping your gas. My husband manages to make new friends every time he takes one of our vehicles to fill up. You see people smiling and chatting everywhere. The last time I was there, I got a big hug from one of my son’s first girlfriends–when we knew her best she was a single mom with a three-year-old son, now she’s a grandma.

These are the Indians I borrow from in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. In my books they haven’t quite reached the enterprising spirit that they really have. It’s amazing to watch how they’ve not only provided new jobs for themselves, but also employment opportunities for non-Indians.

My latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery is Kindred Spirits available from the publisher, http://www.mundaniapress.com or any online bookstore. Though this book focuses more on the Tolowa people of Crescent City, other books in the series describe life on the fictional Bear Creek Reservation and the people who live there.

Marilyn Meredith

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Comment by Marilyn Meredith on December 28, 2008 at 3:51am
Patricia, I know what you mean about the animals. I pay my granddaughter $10 a day to feed inside and outside cats, change cat box, and feed one dog.

We'd sure love to have you though, I know you'd love it.

Comment by Marilyn Meredith on December 28, 2008 at 3:49am
Joylene, thanks for you comment.
Comment by Patricia Harrington on December 28, 2008 at 3:38am
Gosh, Marilyn. I have to get off the dime and do decide. Will try to do so in the next few days. Part of the problem is that I have so many animals (4 cats and 1 big, dog) that I pay folks a bundle to watch, love, feed and walk. I really like the idea of the organization--my style. Just finished a great ridealong with a cop I've known for years. We did all the homeless (and former) homeless camps that he's worked to clean up and help. Great stories. And my ex-cop, unofficial mayor of a homelss camp protag, Gus Maloney, made it into the Seattle Noir coming out in April 2009. Yippie!
Comment by Marilyn Meredith on December 28, 2008 at 3:32am
Hope we do get a chance to really catch up. Did you decide whether or not you were coming to the PSWA conference?

Comment by Patricia Harrington on December 28, 2008 at 3:27am

Found your post and information about the Tule Indians very interesting. I'll get out the old map to look them up. In the last few months wrote two grants for the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis that awarded them close to a half-million dollars for assisting their youth to finish high school and to help their elders. Very rewarding stuff. And I hope that the fourth book in the Bridget O'Hern series will take place near the Chehalis Reservation--working title will be Death of a Dream Catcher.

And I'll "catch" you later--and will look up the latest Tempe Crabtree. Have a great New Year.


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