Laughing Whitefish

May 25, 2011

Michigan's famous Supreme Court Justice John Voelker says he retired from the Supreme Court in part to write a book. Voelker had achieved national fame with his novel Anatomy of a Murder and the movie starring Jimmy Stewart. But Voelker, who wrote under the pen name Robert Traver, called Laughing Whitefish the "toughest writing job" he'd ever "tackled". Laughing Whitefish is the story of the daughter of a deceased Chippewa Indian who was cheated by a mining company in the nineteenth century. It's based on a landmark Michigan Supreme Court case that said state courts must defer to tribal law to decide domestic issues like marriage, divorce and child custody for Indians living in their own territory. A new edition of Laughing Whitefish comes out next month from Michigan State University Press.