By Matt Brown
On a misty Saturday morning, the elder from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria chanted a blessing in Coast Miwok to the centuries-old tree that provided generations of her people with acorns and inspired London’s writing.
London gazed at the oak while writing novels such as “White Fang” and “Valley of the Moon.” One of his last works, a play called “The Acorn Planter,” was likely inspired by the tree, Parkman said.
As I vaguely recall, his Native characters were individuals who starred in their own stories. They weren't just sidekicks or "local color" for white heroes. But they tended to fall into the standard chief, shaman, and "noble savage" categories. They probably were generic and somewhat stereotypical, not multifaceted representatives of diverse cultures.
For more on Indians by classic authors, see Charles Dickens on The Noble Savage and Burroughs the Conservative Racist.
Below: "At Jack London State Park in Glen Ellen, Saturday Aug.10, 2013 a small group of park visitors, including docents and state parks officials, held a ceremony and prayer for a large oak tree, foreground, that will be taken down in front of Jack London's cottage due to the tree being diseased." (Kent Porter/Press Democrat)