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.
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
Chapter Eight: Hide and Q
Chapter Nine: The Big Good-bye
...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
...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)
...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)