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Post by kingsleybray on Dec 19, 2006 6:32:57 GMT -5
Thanks clw, for pointing out my typo re the marriage of Red Leggings Woman. Let me take the opportunity to correct the record.
Corn was a Miniconjou chief painted by Catlin in 1832 - to judge by his appearance he may have been born in the late 1780s/early 1790s. Since writing the Crazy Horse biography I have located winter count evidence that he died in 1846 or '47. His children included such sons as Bull Head (possibly two bearing the name, the eldest dying before ca. 1850), Has Horn (and maybe some uncles of Crazy Horse that seem to fit in here: Ashes, Spotted Crow); and daughters Red Leggings Woman, Kills Enemy, and Iron Between Horns. The latter two married Oglala holy man Worm (father of Crazy Horse by his first wife Rattle Blanket Woman - also Miniconjou and related to the later wives). Red Leggings Woman married a Miniconjou called Woman Breast, and their children included Julia Iron Cedar - born 1864, who identified Crazy Horse as her brother - entirely correctly according to the Lakota kinship system.
See my long posting at the beginning of this thread, and other postings by Ephraim and others for more details on Julia's brothers and sisters.
Thankyou, Catherine, for passing on my first response to the people at Cheyenne River, and thanks to them for a more measured response. Let me add that the recent meeting at Agate Springs which Clown family members attended - again in the belief that I'd be present - is another case of mis-communication. I was in the USA briefly in the second week of October, attending a conference in Chadron, NE. I did not have the chance to attend Agate Springs, and only learned about it through the angry posting by "Tracker" on the Lakhota.com site. I repeat that I'd be more than happy to meet the Clown family and their representatives. About scheduling publication - it's really not in the author's hands. The fall 2006 (originally fall 2005) slot was determined by the publishers over twelve months ago. Neither me nor they were aware of the DVD release until this past week. Regarding sales, I'm a novice in these matters, but I would have thought that two new contributions to the Crazy Horse story would boost sales for each other. That, at any rate, would be my hope.
Thanks, Mr. Bray. The whole question hangs on that particular point in time it seems. The story (for Gordie cuz he likes stories and so do I ) is this. In 1844, when CH was four years old, Waglula was out hunting when he came across Corn's camp under attack by the Crow. Waglula and his warrior's engaged and turned the tide, but not before Corn's wife was killed. In gratitude to Waglula for saving his camp, Corn gave Waglula the daughters of his dead wife: Iron Between Horns, Kills Enemy and Red Leggins. They all returned with him. He took the first two as wives, but because Red Leggins was young, he didn't take her at that time.
Now he had been very happy with Rattling Blanket and this was an unexpected occurance but a gift impossible to refuse. Tragically, this is the sequence of events that led to Rattling Blanket's suicide. She felt replaced and unloved, became despondent and took her life.
It was several years later, when she had grown, that Waglula married Red Leggins. And that appears to be the reason for all the later confusion.
Now I see why it is very difficult to who was related to who. If we use Western ways we cannot see the "relationship" but American Indian ways makes it very obvious.
Even "unrelated" people are considered relatives. Again trying to interpret what Indians say or meant has resulted in numerous mix ups, confusion, wrong deductions, and so forth.
That is what makes trying to figure out much of what Indians say about their culture and events like the LBH difficult. Judging another culture by ours and putting words in their mouth only complicates matters more.
Mr Bray, Below is another response from Cheyenne River. I wish you a nice Christmas. PS: I confirm: I am not clw ***********************************************************************
Mr. Bray, I write to you thru this gracious woman I don't know, but she is a nice lady. I also write you to let you know straight up, no one has ever intended you any harm, with words or anything. At one time, you had the opportunity to get ALL your information at one location. I was the individual who called the Nebraska State Historical Society and requested a meeting with you, to "feel you out". The reason for that was to see if you were a man that could be trusted with the truth of the family. I reiterated my request 2, 3 times to the response of, and I quote, "oh no, Mr. Bray is the foremost authority on Crazy Horse". This of course spiked every one in the families interest in you, as you had never visited the one place where all the unknown truth was located. Needless to say, that door has long slammed shut for you. Maybe you had no idea that this opportunity existed, but if you were indeed the foremost authority, and a true investigative scholar, you would have exhausted more resources to explore ANY connection. The Clown family is not a connection, it is sir in FACT, the whole. As I write this, every now and again, I cast a look at the family tree, the real one. From my understanding, you followed the tree as it related to Waglula's demise. That was a bad mistake. Take for instance the individual named Roaming Nose. He is also known as Frog. Say anything to you? Waglula is also Woman's Breast, Breast of Woman and Kills at Night. I think one thing you failed to realize is that from the time of his death, to 2000, there was extensive DISINFORMATION purposely related. The family was in fact actively pursued into the 20th century, which included family assassination and attempted abduction and assassination. You also relied on census records, another grievous error. We were a nomadic people, fresh to a concentration camp, travel was in our bones, and families were at different agencies, and visitation was frequent, and being counted at one agency was common when you were only visiting. Did you check ration cards? Death records? Did you have the inside track by talking with the lineal family? some of these issues would have jumped out and slapped you if you had. But the fact is sir, some of our Lakota families you can not get an accurate picture with out talking to the family historian, just about every family has one, and then cross reference with other family members. Perhaps you followed a tree that one Big Crow tries to claim, he is not in fact related. His ancestor was married into the family, and due to unacceptability or incompatibility or whatever causes a divorce, it happened to his ancestor before a baby was ever conceived, notice I do not reference a birth. Therefore, at that point, there was no longer any connection what so ever to his family. Why, why do the Europeans insist on any thing dealing with Little Hawk? Another fact, the Ogalala connection is with Jack Greasy Hand, who married the Larrabee woman after Crazy Horses demise. They used his ration card to get scarce and scanty food rations, a clever move, and the Larrabee woman was a spy. End of Ogalala connection, no relation, no ties. Crazy Horse is Mnicoujou. Sir, I mean you no disrespect, but the truth is the truth. It is European obsession in ethnocentrism that we disrespect. You feel our oral history can not be correct, well, the only way I can say anything so perhaps you will understand is look at all history, is not it a fact that history is written by the victor? Was it not an American policy of Manifest Destiny, was Englands goal at one time to make the whole world England? We have our facts sir, despite how any scholar may want to scoff at it. Again, sir, I mean you no disrespect. Now enjoy the DVD, it is the truth, and the family made it themselves because of all the un truths that have been related in Crazy Horse's name. Why did the family wait, wouldn't you have? ever hear the term Indian Time? Does it mean because they are not nocking things over to get to a publisher a fault? Does it make the truth any less the truth? I feel sorry you feel you may have been insulted, but if you do, did you not expect to hear some thing back from a family that very much knows their history? This is just the tip of the ice berg, but enough. No, there is no photo of Crazy Horse. No, no one has guessed his resting place correctly, you are welcomed to keep guessing. No, Sandoz was not even close, as a matter of fact, she was hit with full blown disinformation. thank you
Let me just add a personal note about oral history. The written history of my Navajo family only goes back as far as my great-grandfather--though there have been some notable exceptions. When my grandfather died in 1987, as his only descendant, I was supposed to have a bunch of handy information about his parentage ... I could only guess his mother's name. We had a supposed Navajo name and little else ... it was a bit embarrassing, needless to say, to try and adjust our oral tradition to Anglo bureaucracy. I'm still not sure about the matter--or who she really was, as my great-grandfather had four wives and, perhaps, many lovers. Two years ago, I learned I had a cousin here in this state--related from my great-grandfather, but not a product of any marriage ... it gets real confusing, and hey, he was a saint, right?
Probably the most notable in-factoid of our oral history is the way my great-great grandmother died. I was brought up thinking she had been killed by Kit Carson himself--when what actually happened was that the entirety of his army--over time--had been reduced to just him. Certainly, it's easier to remember and more notorious than being killed by a drunk private ...
I'm not tossing water on anybody's oral tradition, but through my experiences, I've learned to look at it with a certain amont of healthy cynicism. What I've found about truth is that it lives somewhere between two extremes.
Just my story.
Another note: ethnocentricism is something of which every culture is guilty. We may have different terms for it ...
I recommend Kingsley's book (which I am half way through) and I intend getting hold of the DVDs. My reason for contributing to this thread however was ask how grahamew could possibly compare 'Modern Times' with 'Empire Burlesque'. Shame on you!
Post by kingsleybray on Dec 21, 2006 10:39:11 GMT -5
Thanks, Katherine for the new message from Cheyenne River. It's a shame that I missed the Fort Robinson connection to the Clown family back in '02 - and you know, I'd never dream of saying of myself that I'm the greatest expert on (whatever) . . . I'm afraid that's down to a failure in communication. However in 2001 and 2002 my friend Jack Meister did speak to several of the elders in the family who were kind enough to share facts and anecdotes with us. They also sent a copy of a 1920 interview with Leo Combing, one of Julia Iron Cedar's brothers, in which he carefully explained some of the family's connections with the Crazy Horse family. The interview is transcribed in my 'Notes on the Genealogy of Crazy Horse'. It clearly indicates that Crazy Horse's father (Crazy Horse Sr., or Worm) and Woman's Breast were two different men. Leo I reiterate was born in 1851 and was contemporary with the principals in our story. It is only in recent years, in the context of the legal cases waged between individuals and families claiming descent from Crazy Horse, that the Clown family have asserted that Worm and Woman's Breast are one and the same. Confusions of this sort are only to be expected in any culture - generations get confused, and when names recur across generations, then we have a hotbed for confusion. I have spent years researching these family histories. I don't claim to have the inside track on every one - not at all - but to approach reality we have to collate evidence from as many sources as possible. Inevitably this means that we have to make judgments on greater or less probability when we hit contradictions and ambiguities.
Crazy Horse is a good example of this, simply because we have such a wealth of information - it's like a jigsaw with half the pieces missing. Still, that's a lot better percentage than for most of his contemporaries. To identify some of my disagreements with how the Clown family perceive Crazy Horse's background, let's look at their latter-day claim that he was all Miniconjou. Now, his mother and stepmothers certainly were Miniconjou - no doubt about it. My feeling from the sources is that he actually felt a lot more comfortable among his mother's people than he did at 'home' among the Oglalas. Perhaps expectations were that little bit more relaxed among the mother's folks? Uncles and cousins were a little more indulgent of the growing youth Crazy Horse, than was the case among his father's people? In the biography I set out what we know of the young Crazy Horse's stays among the Miniconjou, including extended stays in 1851-2 and 1858-9. When he was recovering from the No Water shooting in 1870, it was among the Miniconjous that he convalesced. I think that's a very significant fact, indicating his comfort among the people of his mother.
However, it's just untrue to believe that he was not an Oglala. The Northern Oglala divisional council elected him as Shirt Wearer in 1868, and as tribal war chief in 1870. According to He Dog's nephew Joseph Eagle Hawk, who acknowledges that Crazy Horse's mother was "from Cheyenne River",Crazy Horse's father Worm was "an original Oglala Sioux". Again this is a statement from a contemporary - someone who knew these people in life. Such statements could be multiplied many times.
On ethnocentrism, yes, we all have to be aware of it - but the old-time Lakota had their own version of Manifest Destiny, too, you know. Many smaller farming tribes were subjected to appalling aggression by the Lakota. It doesn't make me any less fascinated by the Lakota, nor less impressed by their rich culture and social organization. It's just that all people are flawed in one way or other, as individuals or in groups. It's no good looking back to some idealised past community and think, well, they had all the answers. They didn't, and neither do we. We have, as the Lakota song, says, to accept these realities and "Take Courage!"
Great, great thread and I'm enjoying your part in this fascinating discussion. My parents have gotten your book for Spouse's Christmas present; it's at the top of his list! Can't wait to see his face ...
I just wanted to add another dimension--a personal one; *sigh*--to the conversation. It is an odd feeling indeed to learn someone is writing a history of an Indian family member, and perhaps a bit weirder to know an Anglo is doing so. I don't know how to put the feeling in words. It was quite by accident I learned a young woman is doing a dissertation (since then, I have been providing some primary source material) on one my grandfather's contributions to the tribe--it was strange, like someone was examining my family from the outside; there's a sense of "hey, it's my history!" So I can--to a point--understand the position the Clown family is in. But if this woman's work can help me better comprehend the more shadowy--even some of the negative aspects--part of my heritage, all the better.
Once again, I can't wait to see my husband's response to your book! Have a great season.
Post by kingsleybray on Dec 21, 2006 11:28:51 GMT -5
Thanks, Leyton. I do understand something of the alienating feeling you might get if you learnt that someone from the other side of the world is researching your family history. And I understand an ingrained suspicion from reservation communities mired for generations in poverty that anyone from that outside world must be making megabucks out of - let's call it their grandma's memories. In most cases where I've been able to make personal contact - regrettably, not with the Clown family - I've been able to convince people of my good faith.
To close on what I at any rate see as a positive note, when I parted with a Hunkpapa-Sihasapa friend a couple of months ago, she told me that, apart from her status as a tribal historian and story-teller, what she was REALLY (twinkle in eye) interested in was ENGLISH HISTORY! So I think we'll have completed the circle when I get a Native American researcher asking me about my family's account of conditions in 20th Century industrial Yorkshire, or my grandfather's WWI service in the English cavalry . . . I'd be happy to help!
Sometimes I think it CAN be more interesting when an outsider - albeit one knowledgeable about and sympathetic to the material and the sources involved - pens a history like this; someone who is less tied to one view or another of the protagonist; who can bring an objective eye to the sources available. I keep going back to Sugden's book on Tecumseh (and if you haven't read it, now's the time) and I think Kingsley's CH should be viewed in a similar light and as a comparable achievement - but I guess new sources/resources could well turn up and, as here, add to the enjoyment (or mine at least) of the debate. To be honest, it's not that long ago at all that it was taken as gospel that Crazy Horse's mother was Spotted Tail's sister. Look at the progress that's been made - and when books like Kingsley's engender more debate, that can only be healthy for those with an interest, cultural, academic or otherwise, in the subject.
I still feel Modern Times is more 'Dylanesque' than Dylan. I like it, but I prefer the two previous albums!
Last Edit: Dec 21, 2006 15:02:40 GMT -5 by grahamew