If Cold Morning Shadow were a theatrical play or a movie scrip instead of a novel, it would provide a biographical sketch of the players. So, apart from a few who appear only briefly, here they are.
The principle players are the two sets of siblings, Lionel and Cyleine Comosh, and Wilton and Garnette Straed. The story is told from their interwoven perspectives and using only what they have for knowledge of places, events, and other people including their parents. In fact, these four may not even provide substantial details about some things about which we wish we knew more. For instance, neither of the Straed children mentions their parents’ birthdates, so we don’t have that detail about Wilma or Leroy Straed.
The Comosh Family
The Comosh family are all indigenous people of the Oglala Lakota tribe. Lionel refers to himself as a pre-American or pre-Am, although he accepts being referred to as an Indian. Cyleine follows her brother’s lead in these matters.
Henry Clay Comosh – born August 13, 1913, in or near Spearfish, South Dakota. Henry Clay’s father was Silence Comosh, born in 1872 or 1873. Silence had a little sister, Kee, who is mentioned briefly in Chapter 3.
Madeleine (Wahkan) Comosh – born Madeleine Wahkan Horse, May 21, 1916, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Madeleine and Henry Clay (always goes by both names) and are the parents of four children:
Rayleine Comosh – born November 1936 in Spearfish, died in 1952 when the younger two were babies.
Webster Comosh – born in 1938 in Spearfish.
Lionel Kohana Ohanzee Comosh – born February 6, 1950, in Spearfish.
Cyleine Nahimana Macha Snana Comosh – “Cici” – born August 20, 1951, in Spearfish.
The Straed Family
The Straed family are all, in Lionel’s words, post-Europeans, that is, people who have come directly from Europe or whose ancestors did. No longer Europeans, they are post-Europeans.
Leroy Straed – “Rex” – born in 1923 in Zürich, Switzerland, son of Alfred and Sela Stræde.
Wilma Tifga Straed – born early summer 1927 in Enigma, Georgia, daughter of Maletta and Francisco Tifga. Wilma and Rex are the parents of two children:
Wilton Albert Straed – born January 5, 1950 in Lima, Ohio — no mention why he was born in Ohio. One may assume that the family may have been on a trip to visit friends or relatives when Wilma went into labor.
Garnette NMN Straed – born September 5, 1951, in Richmond, Virginia.
Dennis Turnbull – “Turn-bullet” – English teacher at Spearfish High School.
Larry Lorbiecki – a worker in the Comosh Company shop.
Brigglee Quarry – “Brigg” – a worker in the Comosh Company shop.
Hector Alder – “Heckie” – a local (Spearfish) friend of both Lionel and Wilton.
Brent Shambley – Wilton’s friend.
Yvonna Della Raye – Eventually a staff sergeant in the Air Force who becomes Brent’s wife.
Carrie Morelli – a high school friend of the four principal players.
Alice Prings – secretary in the admissions office at Black Hills State College.
Toleda Aucoin – Cyleine’s childhood friend.
Colonel Ben Autlaigne – a member of General William Westmoreland’s staff.
Helen Quarry – Brigg’s wife, bartender.
For more on the characters in the novel, see Naming Characters.