The Surrounded: Murder of the Game Warden

This haunting scene is eerily reminiscent of the Swan Valley Massacre of 1908.

The way he remembered the scene afterward, Louis was lying face upward with blood on his shirt front. He had been shot in the back of the head. The warden had plunged his face into the dirt and lay still. The old lady had covered her head again and was wailing for the dead. That was how he remembered it, and he could not explain how his mother had been able to move without being seen or heard. That was inexplicable. (127-28)

McNickle, D’Arcy. The Surrounded. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1936.

About the Book

The Surrounded

McNickle spent nine years writing and rewriting The Surrounded. An earlier manuscript, The Hungry Generations, was published in 2008. During his lifetime McNickle was a leading expert in ethnic studies. But he will be remembered most as a ground-breaking writer.

In the Salish language, St.Ignatius is called Snyel’mn, which translates into English: “Place Where You Surround Something.” This description lends itself well to both the title and the theme of McNickle’s novel.

While the settings in The Surrounded are clearly drawn from actual locales, it is understood that the novel—including its places—is ultimately the product of the author’s imagination. The intent of this literary map is to enrich the reading experience by interpreting those places, not to render them literally or definitively.

About the Author

D’Arcy McNickle

D’Arcy McNickle was born in Montana in 1904 to a white father and a Metis mother. His 1936 novel The Surrounded is the story of Archilde Leon, a troubled young man who returns to the reservation and is caught up in family and community conflicts. McNickle chronicles shifting relationships between Europeans and Native Americans on a fictional version of the Flathead Indian Reservation. The novel was named the 2009 One Book Montana selection and is considered an early masterpiece of Native American fiction.

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