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Today in
S.C.V. History
June 18
1945 - PFC Johnny Cordova of Castaic killed in action on Okinawa [story]
Johnny Cordova

Dr. Mary Louise Contini Gordon, author of a newly published biography of Santa Clarita Valley Indian elder Charlie Cooke, will be signing books Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Antelope Valley Indian Museum, and Sunday, Oct. 13, at the Vasquez Rocks Interpretive Center in Agua Dulce. Both events start at 11 a.m.

Cooke, who was of local Santa Clarita and Antelope Valley Indian heritage, died Sept. 21 at his home in Acton. He was 77.

The Kindle version of the book, “TIQ SLO’W: The Making of a Modern Day Chief,” was released two  days before his death. The large-format paperback version was released two days after.

The book contains never-before-published information about Cooke’s rich and varied experiences as a Newhall cowboy, Korean War veteran, cement truck driver and native American leader who helped establish two cultural centers and acted as a bulwark against the desecration of archaeological sites as the region gave way to suburban development.

Click to order book

According to the publisher, Amethyst Moon Publishing of Tucson, Ariz.: “TIQ SLO’W (pronounced Teek Slow) is Charlie Cooke’s Chumash name. Its meaning, eye of the eagle, is apropos. Charlie could see far ahead to a vision which integrated preservation of the environment with the restoration of native heritage. Then, without great means or official power, he drew people together across professions, locations, and perspectives to realize this overarching goal. For decades he stayed intimately involved at site after site whether they be burial sites, lost villages, or new construction for freeways, businesses, homes, or Indian cultural centers. Native Americans, state and national park management, civic leaders, and the general public came to admire and listen to Charlie as a leader of causes that would shape the Southern California landscape and change the mindset of its peoples.”

“Charlie Cooke’s story follows the leadership path he grew into, unveiling the cooperative networks he formed as he went along, adding fuel to the native American resurgence of the time, to the emergence of state and national parks, and to related civic and environmental causes.

“The foreword by Joe Edmiston (executive director of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy) and the epilogue co-written by John Reynolds, retired deputy director of the National Park Service, and Woody Smeck, superintendent of Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks, spell out Charlie’s leadership style with its wide ranging, long-term effect in Southern California and beyond.”

About the author: “Mary Louise Contini Gordon, Ed.D. crosswalks between the analytical and the creative. Her background makes her a thorough researcher and an engaging writer. She holds advanced degrees in theater, TV production, and educational psychology. On the analytic side, she designed and managed large ethnographic research projects and leadership development programs for major corporations. She has written in-house works for corporations and public agencies based on extensive interviews. On the creative side, Mary has written stories, plays, and poems since childhood. For a time she produced and developed educational media and hosted a local TV talk show in Thousand Oaks. She encountered the subject of her book, Charlie Cooke, as a guest on one of her shows.”

Additional book signings are scheduled as follows:

Autry National Center, Los Angeles – Nov. 3

Satwiwa (NPS site), Newbury Park – Dec 1

Thousand Oaks Library – Feb. 1

Satwiwa – Feb. 2.

The paperback version is available for $22.99 [here]. The Kindle version can be found on Amazon.com for $8.99.

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