From Google, a birthday tribute for James Welch

welchI’m probably late in noticing this, but James Welch, who surely ranks as one of the best writers in the history of Montana, is the subject of today’s Google doodle.

Today would have been the 76th birthday of the author of “Winter in the Blood” and “Fools Crow,” along with other novels and poems. The beautiful doodle by artist Sophie Diao nicely captures Welch’s thoughtful, placid demeanor.

Most references to Welch that I found today refer to him as a Blackfeet writer, but Indian Country Today has the more correct designation: Blackfeet/Gros Ventre.

I thought Google’s announcement was slightly off in one respect, in the way it confidently asserts that “Fools Crow” was his “best known work.” That was actually the first Welch book I read and I certainly loved it, but I would have to say that “Winter in the Blood” is his best-known work, especially after the release of the Smith brothers’ film of the same name.

Anyway, it’s a cool tribute, and a worthy one. As Google explains, the tribute is part of its recognition of National Native American Heritage Month. On a related note, the Google Cultural Institute is also highlighting six Native American artists, among them Supaman (a.k.a. Christian Parrish Takes the Gun), the Crow Indian performer who combines traditional Native American music with hip hop.

Thanks, Google, and happy birthday, Mr. Welch.

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