The okanagan online book club



THe woman in the Trees

BY Gerry William


March 18, 2021: Okanagan Online Book Club

All are welcome to join us online at 7 PM on Thursday, March 18, to discuss The Woman in the Trees by Gerry Williams.

Time changes everything but memories, and the leaving of the geese, the falling of the leaves are with the Okanagans forever. – from The Woman in the Trees.


Often, the way a story is told is as important as the story itself. This is true of the most recent novel by Gerry William,The Woman in the Trees.

Set during the time of first contact, The Woman in the Trees takes place around what is now Vernon, BC. The novel moves effortlessly from myth to dream time to narrative real time. Spanning the historical period from 1780 to 1860, The Woman in the Trees addresses a time of massive upheaval for the Okanagan people (the syilx). The coming of the horse, relations with early Europeans, and the smallpox epidemic dramatically changed the lives of the syilx.

Using traditional oral storytelling techniques, Gerry William crafts a compelling story that weaves together First Nations and Western narrative traditions. The dominating presence of Coyote chronicles the dreams and poetry of Wolverine, Blue Dreams and Horse. Early settlers, ranchers and orchardists also tell their stories of arrival.

Part historical novel, part myth for our times, The Woman in the Trees will inspire and ultimately satisfy. For as the narrator says, “there are fifty ways to tell the beginning of everything, but there is only one ending.”


Gerry is of Okanagan-Shuswap ancestry and is a member of the Splatsin Indian Band in Enderby, B.C. William holds a BA in English Literature and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies, He is the first Splatsin band member to receive a doctorate. He is a poet, essayist and the author of The Black Ship: Book One of Enid Blue Starbreaks, the first science fiction novel written by a Canadian First Nations author. William is Associate Dean at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and lives in Merritt, BC.

William is also co-author with Jeanette Armstrong of River of Salmon People.


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Greater Vernon Museum & Archives is located on the Ancestral, Traditional and Unceded Territory of the Okanagan Nation and the Syilx People.