Copyright © 1997 McGee
SO SINGS THE BLUE DEER is the result of my 17 years of living in Mexico where I worked as a freelance photojournalist and taught photography classes at the Mexican government's fine arts institute in San Miguel de Allende.
Writing about the Indian People comes naturally to me because I grew up in northwestern Missouri on the banks of the Missouri River in an area that was a sacred meeting place for many nearby Indian tribes including the Sauk, Fox, Osage and Missouri Indians, My greatgreatgrandparents were among the first settlers here. I was often treated to family stories of their experiences raising 12 children in a log cabin surrounded by local tribes and passing Indians. Our local museum had one of the finest Indian collections for miles around and I spent many afternoons there.
I first became aware of the Huichol Indians when a friend of mine did an article on them for National Geographic Magazine in 1978. Not long after that, Huicholes began passing through our colonial village of San Miguel selling their art objects. I became interested in writing this book after seeing an article in the Mexico City newspaper announcing the Huichols had won the 1988 National Ecology Prize of Mexico for their efforts to repopulate their Sierra Madre mountains with white-tailed deer.
I did first hand research for the book. I also spent many hours in the archives of the National Museum of Antropology in Mexico City studying the first recorded encounters with the Huicholes. From the studied accounts of anthropologists, I wanted to weave a story that would communicate not only tenets of Huichol traditions in danger of being lost, but also the gentleness and warmth of the people I had come to admire.
Last fall I returned to Mexico to the state of Nayarit to deliver a copy of my book to the Huicholes themselves. My book is being sold in their area at museums that Feature their wonderful yam paintings, beadwork and embroidery. I hope my book helps communicate the value of this endangered people. I will also be working to sell their art here in the United States so they can have an additional source of income that would allow them to remain in the mountains and not have to face the life-threatening danger of working in the contaminated tobacco fields along the coast.
I am presently trying to find a publisher to produce a Spanish language version of SO SINGS THE BLUE DEER. Many Mexican citizens have expressed an interest in the story. It is a story of Mexico, so I hope to reach the largest possible audience there. Meanwhile, I am speaking at meetings of multicultural educators and youth librarians. It is a labor of love.
"the People's Paths Site Inex!"