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Launch party by OCC Historical Society for Anderson's 2nd prayer-trees book

The cover of John Anderson's new book displays an example of a prayer tree.
Courtesy of John Anderson
Aug. 14, 2018
       The publishing of John Anderson's second book on prayer trees will be celebrated with a launch party at the Old Colorado City History Center Sunday, Aug. 26 from 1 to 3 p.m.
       The center, consisting of a bookstore, museum and program area, is in a converted church at 1 S. 24th St.
       Titled “Native American Prayer Trees of Colorado,” the book follows Anderson's first on the subject - “Ute Indian Prayer Trees in the Pikes Peak Region” in 2015.
       A retired law enforcement officer, Anderson served two terms as El Paso County sheriff (1995-2003).
       The public is invited. Plans call for Anderson to talk about his book, take questions and sign copies. Related artwork will also be on display in the center, according to Susie Schorsch, treasurer for the Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS), the all-volunteer nonprofit that owns and operates the center.
       She noted that some controversy surrounds Anderson's writings, primarily because of lack of consensus among the Ute Indians about the nature of prayer trees and how many types there were. According to his research, the term comes from the practice by some American Indian tribes in past centuries to "culturally modify" trees in different ways - often as trail markers - accompanied by a prayer to sanctify what had been done.
       Schorsch said that all points of view will be welcome at the launch party, and she hopes for a “nice discussion” with a “respectful debate and intelligent conversation.”
       Both of Anderson's prayer-tree books - as well as his 2017 history on Rankin Scott Kelly, El Paso County's first sheriff - have been published by OCCHS, in cooperation with Ryolite Press, which is owned by long-time OCCHS member Don Kallaus.
       Schorsch, who coordinated the publishing effort, said the society has published six books in all since 2012. She pointed out that the retail sales income is “how our bookstore makes its money.”

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