SAMMAMISH RESIDENT Walks Four Days (95 miles): Honouring The Cherokees & Her Story-telling Father
March 28, 2005
Joanne E. Galliher, a Cherokee-Irish-German-Filipino-American 53-year-old author flew from her home of 18 years, Australia (10,000 miles) to marry her First Love” (from 38-years ago), only to fly from their Sammamish WA home (about 2,000 miles) just to WALK 95 miles, Mar. 27 Apr. 1 2005, to honor the thousands of Cherokees who died on The Trail of Tears” and to honor her favorite story-teller, her father. Her trail was: Ft. Smith AR to Sallisaw OK (23 mi.), then over 2 days Sallisaw to Ft. Gibson OK (51 mi.) and from there to Tahlequah OK (21 mi.)
At the end of that trail, on April 1st, she presented The Cherokee Heritage Center's curator, Mickel Yantz, with: Cherokee Rose” bushes (white for Trail of Tears” mothers' tears & golden color for gold stolen from the Cherokees), an IOU and the synopsis plus some excerpts from LIKE AN EAGLE, her first of a three-book series, umbrella-entitled: EAGLES OF THE RAINBOW FOREVER VPOL 1. She had to arrive there by Apr. 1 to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of when her father told her he was dying, back on April 1st 1995. He died Nov.12 '95. To her great surprise, her novel's synopsis and excerpts were placed in The Cherokee Heritage Center's Archives.
EAGLES OF THE RAINBOW, centers-around Joanne's fictionalised great great grandparents, First Light (a Cherokee) and Private Franklin Galliher (an Irish immigrant/soldier), back in the early 19th Century. Unlike the soon-to-be shown (6-week TV miniseries) INTO THE WEST and other very popular tales such as DANCES WITH WOLVES and ROOTS, Joanne's series of books portray FIVE, diverse cultures AND they show how cultures can truly MESH rather than CLASH. Her underlying theme, Unity in Diversity” was the slogan on the sign that she proudly carried all 95 miles. Her characters and their adventures show a trail of tears and triumph” as they eliminate all forms of prejudices: racial, religious, age, gender and socio-economic.
She just had to show her appreciation to The Trail of Tears” descendents and to her father. Thus, she wrapped the IOU in RED symbolic of wisdom through wounding”. Naturally she will be over-the-moon when a lit. agent/publisher represents her books. Then she can donate 8% of the 1st 20,000 book sales to Cherokee youth education. Four years ago, she quit her 30-year career as a special education teacher and speech therapist to live on US $400/month. Living in the peaceful seclusion, on her Australian 25-acres along with Kookaburras, Koalas, Wallabies, Bush Turkeys and lots of poisonous snakes plus having no electricity those 19 months insured her of no writer's block. Now-a-days, not many writers write in the dark”, holed-up in a rainforest…alone and THEN WALK nearly 100 miles to thank those who inspired them.
Over the years, Joanne tried various titles... As she spent hundreds of hours revising the manuscript. But her trilogy novel is entitled EAGLES OF THE RAINBOW FOREVER.
Scroll back up to the Menu to find out more about Joanne Galliher
October 29, 2003
from: The Gold Coast Sun Newspaper. JOANNE Galliher takes a while to explain her background, should anybody ask.
She’s an all-American girl, born and raised in California but a resident of Australia since 1988.
Her boyfriend’s parents rejected her as a teenager, thinking she was Mexican but the truth is rather more involved.
Her parents were born and raised in the Philippines but one grandfather was Irish-Cherokee-American and the other German-American.
And her great great grandmother on her father’s side is a Cherokee, which Joanne suggested, tongue in cheek, made her ‘a Chigfa’ ---- Cherokee, Irish German, Filipino, American and Australian.
Using stories told to her by her father, Joanne has put the family history into a manuscript for a fictional saga novel, EAGLES OF THE RAINBOW FOREVER VOL 1, VOL 2 AND VOL 3.
Holed-up on her property in the Tallebudgera Valley, it took Joanne 19 months to complete the tale, a staggering 500,000 words long first draft and it spreads over 10 folders.
“It’s a fictional biography,” she said. “Sixty per cent is true, 40 per cent is embellished. “In it, I die at 98, but I’m still here!”
With a master’s degree in education and speech therapy, Joanne taught at St. Francis Xavier in Runaway Bay and taught exercise classes at Palm Beach for the over 60’s, all the time living in a shack with no electricity or running water.
She had no driveway during the first 18 months and walked half a kilometer to the road.
“I’d buy enough food for the day, and I’d that and ice to go in the Esky and my books, and be staggering up the hill,” she said.
Joanne cooked on a camp fire, making several meals at the same time and stored them in a fridge in a shed half a kilometre away.
Not having a washing machine, she agitated the clothes with a potato masher.
Joanne’s father died in 1995 and, to the end, she pumped him for stories about the families, resolving to write the whole tale though she was still working and raising her daughter, Danielle.
“I started it on the first day of spring of the new millennium,” she said. “There was no writer’s block. It kept pouring out
It had taken me a long time thinking I wouldn’t write it, because I didn’t think I had the ability --- that I wouldn’t do it justice. So I wrote another book about single life, poetry and ordinary stuff.”
The half-million words took 19 months, followed by another 18 months of editing.
Hating to leave home to go to work, she quit in 2001 to embark on writing full-time.
“I knew it was time to write the book,” she said.
“I was lucky if I left the property three hours every two weeks. For three years I became a recluse. I think you get kind of goofy living out there for so long.”
Most of the story was already in Joanne’s head, a legacy of the days when her mother and sister would go shopping for clothes and she would stay home talking with her father.
Her two grandfathers had been soldiers in the 1896 American-Spanish War in the Philippines, and both chose to settle in the country.
“Grandpa Waltenspiel had eight children but he didn’t marry my grandmother. That was the common colonialist behavior,” said Joanne.
“He also owned bars and brothels. He wasn’t a very nice man.”
“Grandpa Galliher had five children and started the first dairy in the Philippines.”
Her parents were mestizo, half breeds, but both families were very wealthy, with maids and servants and the children were raised in the strict, formal manner befitting colonials.
Then came the Japanese invasion.
Joanne’s father became a guerrilla fighter at the age of 13, eating stew made from monkey and padded out wit maggots.
Her mother once ran through the shelling to go to the library, returning home triumphantly with a book of Japanese.
“She told the family she could learn the language and barter for food,” said Joanne.
After being barricaded in a bombed out hospital for nine days without food, the teenage girl went to retrieve the family dog and killed it, never telling her family where the meat came from.
“I wasn’t a kid who grew up with Alice In Wonderland and neat stories,” said Joanne.
“I got stories about the Japanese soldier on a white horse, who came to surrender, but was tortured and killed.”
Only in the year her father died did Joanne learn he had a Dawes number, indicating Native American descent.
It was a part of her history no one could tell her about, so before working it into the story she set about learning how the Cherokees lived, their spiritual beliefs, marriages and culture.
The manuscript is now finished and Joanne has set out with an innovative strategy to find a publisher.
She got a graphic arts student to design a cover and last week, hosted a reading session at a function room in Surfers Paradise.
Members of the local Native American community presented a celebration dance of welcome and displayed artefacts and carvings.
Guests were asked to read excerpts from the book, and provide feedback, which Joanne would then take to publishers.
With the huge task now complete, she has embarked on smaller writing projects, including a kid’s self-help book, a book about single life and another from her experiences called We’ll Always Love.
After 37 years, she is reunited with Jim, the boyfriend whose German parents forced him to stop seeing her on the basis she was Mexican.
“I hadn’t seen him in 18 years. I thought I would have to wear a name tag to the airport,” she said.
“He gave up a 45-foot boat and sending his shirts out to be laundered to come here, so he must really love me.”
ABC Radio's Jane Cowan gave Joanne's novel a bonus coverage - she put a very indepth article up on the radio station's website. She gave it such a wonderful title: 'Pen Mightier than Prejudice' -
January 05, 2004
from: Jane Cowan
Joanne Galliher is excited.
She's just finished her first novel.
EAGLES OF THE RAINBOW FOREVER, VOL 1, VOL 2 AND VOL 3 is a story 200 years in the making, a blend of fantasy and fact based on stories told to her by her parents.
And if writing what you know is the key to literary success, Galliher could be onto something. The Gold Coast writer knows from painful experience what it's like to have each toe dipped in a different culture. Her Cherokee, Irish, German, Filipino, American and now Australian heritage has produced an interesting life. She's even coined the acronym 'CHAIGFA', to capture all the elements of her cultural identity. Growing up with dark skin and long black locks in a Californian town with a population a quarter Mexican, the young Galliher was often confused as Mexican. Later, after moving to Australia, she remembers cutting that magnificent hair and staying out of the sun in hopes of fitting in.
Not surprising, then, that prejudice emerges as the central theme of her first book. But Galliher hopes to approach things from a new angle, rather than following the well-worn path popular culture has tended to tred when it comes to the P-word. "In books and movies there's always a black hat and a white hat and it's usually the non-whites who are being subjugated. But they (the non-whites) also have their prejudices to get over." Galliher considers herself lucky to have grown up in a family that was relatively prejudice-free. But she admits even she developed some prejudices. She blames negative experiences with white people and biased historical accounts of relations between whites and non-whites. "My father was a historian. I'm sad to say he gave me an awful lot of historical accounts about Anglo Saxons. So that made me dubious and then of course when I was going through high school looking the way I look..." Galliher held onto her prejudices for some 30 years after that.
It was her first love, with whom she reunited at 50 years of age, who finally put things into perspective. He reminded her that some of her most loyal friends were from cultural groups traditionally considered enemies of the Cherokee. "I thought, If I can accept one enemy from my ancestries I can certainly accept that there are no enemies anymore for me."
A personal battle with prejudice won, Galliher set about writing a book that would change the way readers saw prejudice in their own lives. "I was obsessed. I would work on it every free minute I had which could be up to 14 hours a day with minimal sleep. I think once you're bit by the writing bug that's what happens." Strangely for a first-time author, Galliher never hit any writer's block. "It just flowed. It's almost as if my ancestors were badgering me to say this, do that."
The writing has consumed 19 months of Galliher's life. Like any labour of love, it has claimed its casualties. Galliher has sacrificed at least one job, one relationship and a computer to the book, two of those losses in one fell swoop. "I had a relationship with someone who was very jealous of the book and he decided to take the whole tower of the computer and throw it into the creek." As far as the job was concerned, Galliher doesn't miss speech therapy. "To write the book I knew I had to quit. Writing never leaves you. It's always 24 hours in your heart and your mind. You can't turn it on and off."
Holing herself away on her isolated Tallebudgera Valley property, Galliher developed a back-to-basics lifestyle centred around writing. "This place has had everything to do with my writing. I can't describe it. It's a part of me. I've tried to write anywhere else and I just couldn't. I could write 50 pages and then tear 'em all up. I need to do it here." Home and office is a converted shed perched on a small clearing at the bottom of a blink-and-you'll-miss-it track. Galliher furnished the entire space for 75 dollars from the Tugun tip. "My neighbours must wonder if I live in a tee pee down here somewhere."
"I write on this crazy desk I made from dried, dead stumps with tree bark. It's very wobbly and anyone else who tries to do anything on it just looks at me like I'm half nuts. Being out here by myself, some of my best writing's been done real close to nature on a hot summer's day with nothing on. I've done some crazy things with my laptop. I've gone down to the creek and sat up in trees. I must sound like a real feral but I've done it - until I saw a couple of black snakes and said, 'That's not a good idea'."
Weighing the finished manuscript in her hands, Galliher is visibly proud. She explains that she's bound the pages in red because to the Cherokee the colour symbolises wisdom through wounding. "Sometimes it blows my mind. I can't believe I did it, you know, I still look at it and go, 'No, I didn't do that in 19 months. No way.' It's a nice feeling."
Galliher is now into the business end of the writing process. After some book readings to test the waters, now comes the intimidating task of approaching publishers. If all goes well, Galliher hopes people will soon be able to read her words for themselves. Whatever happens though, you get the sense that she doesn't think it's been a bad swap: a computer, a relationship and a job for 500 000 words.
Joanne was interviewed live by Jane Cowan from ABC Gold Coast Radio Dec. 3, 2003
Joanne was on the CBS Evening News in Oklahoma, USA March 29, 2005 after she and her uncle did an 80-mile walk to the Cherokee Historical Society to honor the 20,000+ Cherokees who were marched on The Trail of Tears. The Curator honored her by placing her trilogy novel's Synopsis in the Archives. She left a beautiful Rose bush with white blooms. The white symbolizes the Cherokee women who cried on the Trail of Tears. The yellow-orange centers in the Rose symbolize the gold/greed of many Colonial Americans of that era - stealing Native American land.
Celebrating Her 60th Birthday with Children and Local Residents
October 30, 2011
Celebrating Her 60th Birthday
with Children and Local Residents
And then, she’ll hit-the-road in her very colourfully-painted van named ‘Freedom’, marketing her trilogy novel.
Games in the park, chatting in a shopping centre, singing as well as cultural dancing and more will be shared with Charters Towers and Townsville residents from 27 Oct. – 13 Nov. 2011, hosted by Joanne (‘Joey’) Galliher, author of Eagles of the Rainbow: An Awesome Hybrid A colourful heritage: Cherokee-Irish-German-Filipino-American living ‘Unity in Diversity’ Volumes I, II and III (a fictional trilogy novel, based on some true stories).
Oct. 30 2011. ‘Sharing songs, games & ‘Fun Bags’ with 30 Charters Towers’ Children – fun and free’.Centenary Park’s ‘Wedding Rotunda’ will be filled with red balloons, laughter, singing and games starting at 10.30am. By belting-out the song ‘Put a Little Love in Your Heart’, children enter a raffle to win a lucky parent a copy of Joanne’s Volume I. Games to be played include: Cherokee Marbles, Irish Potato, the German game – ‘Topfschlagen’, the Filipino game – ‘Piko’ & the American game ‘Pin-the–tail-on-the–donkey’. There will be three 90-minute sessions, each with 10 children, ages 6-13. To register, parents must phone Joanne by 20 Oct. (0487425152). Her trilogy novel & interesting photos will be displayed and brochures handed-out.
Oct. 27 – Nov. 3, 2011. ‘Sharing Her Trilogy Novel with Charters Towers’ Shoppers’. With background music playing, representative of her heritage (Cherokee-Irish-German-Filipino-American), Joanne will exhibit her trilogy novel, relevant photos and have brochures available. She will mingle with shoppers at the centre where ‘Woolworths’ is located) from 9am to 1pm.
Scroll DOWN to find clear re-typed copy of of media articles.
Book Tells of Shedding Prejudice
September 25, 2003
from: The Gold Coast Mail Newspaper
SET to test the waters of the literary world with her first novel “Eagles of the Rainbow” based on her family history is Tallebudgera Valley resident Joanne Galliher.
Ms. Galliher, a former teacher and speech therapist, said she had spent almost three years writing and polishing the book and was now ready to publish.
“I decided to write because my parents were wonderful story-tellers and our heritage makes such a compelling story – the book is a tribute to them,” she said.
“The story is a mix of tragedy, romance and spiritual discoveries which starts in the year 1833 and ends in 2011.”
“The story crosses The Trail of Tears, American Civil War, World War II, Spanish American War and more.”
Ms. Galliher, who has lived in Australia since 1988, said her ancestry was a mix of Cherokee, Irish, German, Filipino, American-Australian.
“My parents, Alice and Bob, were a classic ‘East Meets West’ story,” she said.
“Both travelled from the Philippines to America after World War II and fell in love.”
Ms. Galliher said her father put himself through high school in America and was an aircraft mechanic for the US Government for many years while her mother became and executive secretary and dabbled in real estate investment.
“I can look at my finished book now and say it is the best thing I’ve ever been able to give back to my ancestors and parents.” She said.
“This book has been my best friend for the past three years and it was therapeutic to get it all out.”
“And I had not one second of writer’s block – the entire 500,000 words just flowed.”
Ms. Galliher said her book has a message for all readers about shedding prejudice and promoting peace.
“For my parents to come through the atrocities of World War II and still believe in peace for all people and learning right from wrong through the past is amazing,” she said.
Ms. Galliher will hold a special ‘Book Celebration’ in early October ’03 where she will read a synopsis and excerpts from the book and there will also be Native American dance performed.
By Nadine Fisher
Joanne Is A Breed Apart
October 04, 2003
from: Gold Coast Bulletin Newspaper
BLT can report from experience the level of commitment required to write a book. However, Gold Coast resident Joanne E. Galliher has taken dedication to the extreme.
To write her book Eagles of the Rainbow Forever, which will be launched next week, Galliher buried herself away on her property at Tallebudgera, lived without electricity and plumbing and for almost three years poured her concentration into her work.
The result --- a none too trifling 500,000 words later --- is said to be a novel of action, romance and spiritual discovery spanning a vast tract of history.
Galliher, a retired teacher and speech therapist, says the sweep of her novel takes the reader on a journey through events such as the subjugation of the Irish and Filipinos, The American Civil War, guerrilla fighting during World War II, the Flower Power of the 60s and lessons of spiritual, cultural and environmental importance.
Galliher will read excerpts from Eagles of the Rainbow Forever at a launch to be held at the Islander Resort Hotel, Surfers Paradise, from 4.30 7pm next Friday. It promises to be a spectacular event with Native American generation dance and art, a display of woodcarvings, food and drink.
For more information on the event and Eagles of the Rainbow Forever, telephone 5533-8572 or firstname.lastname@example.org
By Michael Jacobson