The Way of the Eagle:
An Early California Journey of Awakening
by D.E. Lamont
D.E. Lamont spent her childhood in the blossoming residential developments of the San Fernando Valley of Southern California in the 1950s and 60s, before the Valley’s hilly fringes were entirely blanketed by expensive homes.
She and her brothers explored the wild chaparral-covered hills and canyons, where they found signs of Native American presence, despite no mention of them in their schoolbooks. They found stone arrowheads, and in the yellow sandstone bluffs near Chatsworth they saw the shallow hollowed-out leaching basins that helped the Tongva prepare acorn meal, one of their staple foods. And high in the hills above Tarzana, they found a mysterious sandstone "Indian Cave" whose ceiling was blackened by decades, perhaps hundreds of years, of campfire smoke. Her younger brother found arrowhead remnants there as well.
These discoveries excited her interest in earlier times and peoples; it was a revelation that the fringes of her concrete and asphalt tract neighborhoods were actually doorways to what she, as a child, felt were somehow more authentic, natural worlds. In the open fields and rocky hills, she would experience an inexplicable, haunting feeling suggesting the long-ago presence and untold stories of the original Native American inhabitants.
Later she learned not only that Southern California had been the homeland of the Tongva original peoples for thousands of years, but that around two thousand of their descendents live there presently. Once again, they gather to celebrate their culture, their beliefs, and to work to protect remaining sacred sites from destruction.
D.E. Lamont wished to honor the Tongva and let more people know about them by writing a story set in the period just before the encroachment of Spain and the beginning of the devastation of the Tongva people and culture. By making the story a historical fantasy, she was able to explore the natural methods of practical and spiritual training used by Native Americans, while also creating a hint of hopeful continuity between the world of Tacu, the young Tongva initiate, and the one that was coming—one in which Tacu’s people might flourish again.
D.E. Lamont is also the co-author of three nonfiction books, with the latest, called Becoming a True Champion: Achieving Athletic Excellence from the Inside Out, by Kirk Mango with Daveda Lamont, just published in April 2012. She is presently working on the sequel to The Way of the Eagle, and another novel. She lives with her husband in an apartment building overlooking the Hudson River in Westchester County, New York.