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This is our loving salute to one of Natural Life News’ long-time and elder writers, Elnora A. (Old Coyote) Stenersen. Here are ALL 18 of the articles she published with us from 2007 to 2012 — collectively named, “The Rainshadow of the Rockies.”

We consider her lifetime of knowledge and writing—with the help of many tribal people—on the ecology and the medicinal and food uses of the native plants and trees of our region, as one of the most valuable series we’ve run in the magazine. For survival and sustainability, we suggest you print these out and make a field guide from the perspective of the natives who lived here long before us.

Elnora came to us in 2007, saying, “I have a truckload of manuscripts and I’d like to publish them in your magazine.” Thus began our six-year collaboration and friendship. Elnora is a Norwegian whose father was a new settler to Montana in the early 1900s, Harvard educated, and married to John M. Old Coyote, a full-blooded Crow Indian. She taught at MSU Bozeman and authored several books. Well into her nineties, she now resides in Billings, Montana.

She loves the arid area that is her home. She often described to me the concept of the “rainshadow,” where the moisture coming in eastward from the Pacific Ocean is all dropped to the west of the Rockies (the rainy northwest) and does not climb over the expanse of the mountains, thus creating the dry ecosystem she called, “The Rainshadow of the Rockies.”

Elnora interacted with the Native-American tribes in this area and learned all she could about its native plants, how these early peoples cherished them and used them to sustain life, in ceremony, and in healing. She then went on to teach this valuable information about our land, which must be preserved—for all times and for all peoples.

Natural Life News is proud to have published these articles featuring her favorite and most important of the local plants and trees.

Denis Ouellette, Editor

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