OROVILLE — Arnie Marchand, a member of the Okanogan Tribe, will soon release his second book, “What is Your Name” the follow up to his popular first work, “The Way I Heard It.”
The new book is being published by Heritage Productions, an independent publishing company headed up by Marchand’s fellow historians and members of Oroville’s Borderland Historical Society, Kay and Mike Sibley.
The author is described on the back of the book as an “Okanogan Indian, who continues to explore the vast history of the Okanogan people, the impacts of change and the way of life that will never be again….”
The Gazette-Tribune sat down with Marchand and the Sibleys at the publishers’ dining room table to talk about the book and what it takes to be a small publisher.
Marchand said he was motivated to write the second book because he wasn’t able to get everything he wanted into the first book.
“I was going to put all this in the first book… but I thought, no, that’s too much to put in. The book would be that thick,” said Marchand holding up two fingers to indicate a large book with a lot of pages. “I don’t know anybody that would want to read it.”
The author said he decided for his first book it would be something that was easy to read, something that was a little lighter and easier to enjoy.
“Then, after it was done I thought there’s more that’s got to go in there. I want to let people know more about, mostly about the Okanogan Indians. Most of us still live here, this is our valley. A lot of of people who live here, whether they’ve lived here a long time or a short time they don’t know very much. I’m not just talking about the non-Indians, I’m talking about all the people that live here. They know very little about the history of this area or it’s people.”
He said this time he would focus on the people who lived here or affected or were part of this county.
“So I wrote about famous people and people who aren’t famous at all. They’re just fine people and they were good people. Some of them were my relatives, just everybody. There’s a lot of people in this valley you just don’t know about. Some of the people did extraordinary things.”
The author said he could think of one person off the top of his head to illustrate what he was trying to get across.
“He was from Nespelem. He was interviewed in 1934 I think. Judge Brown was helping to interview him. Judge Brown was pretty famous for delving into our history, interviewing a lot of people and that story is just extraordinary and Judge Brown interjected his thoughts into it, whether it was from his perspective or he wanted to introduce what he thought the guy was saying. It is just an overwhelming story. The guy had perfect recall and at the time he was pretty much well over middle age. He did such a good job remembering everything. This story should be made into a movie, it’s really fantastic.”
Marchand said it was just one of many stories like that. He said Dan Iyall taught here and was the first Indian he ever saw who had beyond a high school education.
“I realize I had a very small world, but to see him come down the hall and I thought, God, he made it,” said Marchand. “He helped a lot of people in the class above me and the class below me and a lot of people in my class with a lot of things. He was just one special kind of cat. After he left here he did a lot of pretty important things that affect all the schools in the state of Washington. He’s an Indian and he did this. He’s another person in the book that I think is important for you to know. He lived here and he taught here.”
The author said he hopes his readers want to learn even more after reading his second book.
“I hope they go ‘this can’t be everything, I want to know more.’ Because I touch on a lot of issues I hope they start looking, they get curious. Not only about the history but about this area because some of the stories I tell are pretty current, like now and some of the stories are pretty old, like ancient, ancient stories,” Marchand said.
“It’s just everybody that talked to me about my book, everybody said they enjoyed what I wrote and said it was an easy read, could put it down and not forget where they left off at. That’s because I wrote it as stories. I had a pretty good response from the first and this is much the same, but there is more in it than the last one,” he said.
Marchand begins his book talking about the traditional lands of the People of the Okanogan who were known as Nysilxcon speaking people. He also discusses the tribes that make up the Colville Confederated Tribes. He then writes about some of the first non-Indian people that his people encountered, including Lewis and Clark and David Thompson. There is a chapter on the 1855 Indian Wars, as well as the story of McLaughlin Canyon, told from the view of prospectors and from the Indians, who were accused of carrying out a massacre.
The author goes on to write about other historical events, traditional ways and daily life of the Okanogan people and other area tribes. From there he relates stories from various people, including his parents. He even writes about Harry S. Truman and WWII U.S. Marine ace fighter pilot “Pappy” Boyington and Ogopogo.
When asked how they became publishers, Mike Sibley said it was his wife’s idea.
“We’ll Arnie wanted to write a book, his first one and he asked ‘How do I do that?’ I said it’s no big deal and then it has expanded,” said Kay Sibley.
“Computer programs and uploads and downloads,” added her husband.
Getting into publishing, the Sibleys have made their services available to a growing number of would be authors.
“There’s been more people. I have a lady that’s over in Nespelem that writes lovely poetry, but then has done a smaller book than this that are stories that her mother and aunt told her when she was young. That’s going to be coming out soon,” she said.
The Sibleys also did books by the late Clayton Emry, former publisher of the Gazette-Tribune and his wife Joyce “Boots” Emry, who writes the “This & That” column in this newspaper. They also have a book coming out on Harry Stanton.
“That is quite a big book. It was written by Harry and I’m not to change a word. I just have to add some local pictures for the section on Oroville, because he lived in more places than Oroville,” said Kay Sibley.
“That’s sort of fun because you get to hear Harry went to school in the blue house at the north end of the elementary play ground. That building is the original school in the 1890s. It was moved there from the Alison store area. It is interesting because that school opened and it was quickly too small and a few years later they’re having to have third grade or second grade in a building that had just been vacated by a business. That was before they built the south side school,” she said.
She said the process was fun, but had a few too many on the list at the moment.
“In general I enjoy doing them because they’re for local people… just some of the things that need to be done to turn into a book are not as easy as people think it is. Well, you just put it right up there, but you have to design a cover and things like that.”
The Sibleys, both retired Oroville educators, say at this point they print through Amazon, which has the books printed at different places around the country. Currently Marchand and the Sibleys are making the final corrections to the book, adding or replacing copy and images and correcting typos.
“I figure it will be close to a month before we see Arnie’s book in print and on sale,” adds Mike Sibley.
In addition to being sold on Amazon, the book will be available at many local outlets, including Oroville Pharmacy in Oroville, Lee Franks in Tonasket, Rawsons in Okanogan, city hall in Pateros, Valley Goods at Twisp Works Campus and they are available at any NCW Library and online.