by Pat Filer, AKCHO Awards Selection Committee Chair
Unfortunately, author David Buerge was called away at the last moment due to an illness in the family so he was unable to attend the AKCHO Awards Program and receive the Virginia Marie Folkins Award in person. The award is presented every year to the author of an outstanding historical publication, and Buerge was selected for his new book, Chief Seattle and the Town That Took His Name.
This is the first thorough historical account of Chief Seattle and his times – the story of a half century of tremendous flux, turmoil, and violence during which a Native American war leader became an advocate for peace and strove to create a successful hybrid racial community.
Historian David Buerge has been researching and writing this book about Chief Seattle for the past 20 years. Buerge has threaded together disparate accounts of the time from the 1780s to the 1860s – including native oral histories, Hudson Bay Company records, pioneer diaries, French Catholic church records, and historic newspaper reporting. Also included in this account are the treaty signings that would remove the natives from their historic lands, the roles of such figures as Governor Isaac Stevens, Chief Leschi and Patkanim, the Battle of Seattle that threatened the existence of the settlement, and the controversial Chief Seattle speech that haunts to the day the city that bears his name.
David S. Buerge has been a teacher, historian, and writer. he is an alum of the University of Washington and the Peace Corps. He has been researching the early history of the city of Seattle since the mid1970s. he has published 14 books of history and biography.