The Round House

Curtis Yeltow Character Analysis

Curtis Yeltow is the governor of South Dakota (in the world of the novel). He is well known for giving lip service to his commitment to Native causes, which he hypocritically pairs with policy that oppresses and disadvantages people living on reservations. Curtis Yeltow has also been caught on tape saying extremely bigoted things about Native people. When Mayla goes to work for him as a high school student, Curtis, a much older man, begins a relationship with her. When Mayla gets pregnant with Yeltow’s baby, Yeltow pays Mayla for her silence and he tries to adopt the child after Mayla’s murder. Yeltow, who never gets punished in the book, seems to represent how powerful people and politicians can grossly mistreat Native people (both as a group and as individuals) without recourse or reproach.
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Curtis Yeltow Character Timeline in The Round House

The timeline below shows where the character Curtis Yeltow appears in The Round House. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter Three: Justice
Storytelling, Formality, and Writing Theme Icon
Parenthood, Foster Families, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...Bazil says he is not sure. Bazil explains that Linden was recently working for Curtis Yeltow, the governor of South Dakota. Linden now lives in Grace’s old house. (full context)
Chapter Eight: Hide and Q
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
Storytelling, Formality, and Writing Theme Icon
Land, the Judicial System, and Justice Theme Icon
...also intends to talk with the governor of Minnesota, who Bazil notes spoke with Curtis Yeltow, the governor of South Dakota, about the fact that he is trying to adopt a... (full context)
Land, the Judicial System, and Justice Theme Icon
...Joe and Pearl home with them. As they drive home, Joe asks Whitey about Curtis Yeltow and Whitey lists the many ways that Yeltow has perpetuated the oppression of Native people... (full context)
Chippewa Tradition vs. Catholicism Theme Icon
Parenthood, Foster Families, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
...a program that places Native students in government jobs, and went to work for Curtis Yeltow. (full context)
Chapter Nine: The Big Good-bye
Land, the Judicial System, and Justice Theme Icon
...he was arrested. Nothing significant was found. The police connected that the child that Curtis Yeltow wanted to adopt was Mayla’s child. Social workers claimed to have found the baby in... (full context)
Chapter Eleven: The Child
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
Land, the Judicial System, and Justice Theme Icon
...Linden’s obsession with Mayla. When Geraldine filed Mayla’s daughter’s tribal enrollment form, Mayla named Curtis Yeltow, not Linden, as the father. This meant that Mayla had gotten pregnant while she was... (full context)
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
Linda imagines that Linden wanted to find the enrollment form in order to blackmail Yeltow, and that Geraldine would not give it to him. Linda says that Linden raping Geraldine... (full context)
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
Parenthood, Foster Families, and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Land, the Judicial System, and Justice Theme Icon
...finds a manila folder. Inside, Joe sees Mayla’s enrollment form for her daughter, with Curtis Yeltow listed as the father. Joe puts it back. Then he writes a note to his... (full context)
Women, Bigotry, and Sexual Violence Theme Icon
Land, the Judicial System, and Justice Theme Icon
...Cappy about finding Mayla’s file in Bazil’s desk and how Mayla’s baby’s father was Curtis Yeltow. Joe surmises that Mayla stored the money that Yeltow had given her in her daughter’s... (full context)