Wind from an Enemy Sky
One School, One Book
This year, the PHS English Department invites the community to join us in a One School, One Book reading adventure. All of our students in grades 9, 10, and 11 will read Wind from an Enemy Sky by a local author, D’arcy McNickle. Our seniors, who already read McNickle’s novel, will test drive next year’s One Book title, Neither Wolf Nor Dog by Kent Nerburn, which all students will read next year.
Wind from an Enemy Sky is a fictional exploration of life during the early reservation period. It tells the story of the fictional Little Elk people and their response to a dam built on their reservation, as well as their response to the rapid changes occurring around them. Loosely based on the Flathead Reservation, where McNickle was born and raised until being sent to boarding school in Oregon, the novel raises some important questions: how should we respond to loss? How can we restore something that has been lost or broken? How can events of the past affect individuals and communities as they move forward? What is the best way to respond to challenges we face in our daily lives?
Students will explore the way that the novel answers those questions and will also have the opportunity to hear from local experts about the challenges we are facing in the Mission Valley today and the ways various groups and individuals are meeting those challenges. We will focus on a variety of themes: ecosystem restoration and the challenges of restoring natural habitats and endangered species, managing invasive species, and working to live with recovering wildlife populations; cultural restoration and the goal of preserving indigenous languages and cultural practices; and cultural misunderstanding, which will include educating ourselves and our students about historical and present issues on the Flathead Reservation.
We invite the community to read the novel with us, to offer suggestions about research topics and resources for exploration, and to attend our student showcase in November.