"Indians" in South Dakota Newspapers 100 Years Ago, May 31, 1921

31 May 2021

Here are three stories about “Indians” that appeared in the pages of two South Dakota newspapers 100 years ago on Tuesday, May 31, 1921. 

Argus-Leader (Sioux Falls), Page 2. “(Special to The Argus-Leader). Chamberlain, May 31—Some years ago Dr. Charles Eastman, the well-known educated Sioux Indian, was assigned by the Indian bureau at Washington to visit the different Sioux reservations in South Dakota and give the Indians modern names, so they could discard their old Indian names. He was employed many months in the task.

“However, the new names given the Indians at that time appear to have been used only temporarily, for the Indians generally again have assumed their old tribal names, and in dealings with the government these old names are used. Many of these tribal names are very unique. 

“On June 20 bids will be opened at the Rosebud Indian agency for the sale of a large number of tracts of land, and in the legal notice of sale the names of the Indian owners are required to appear. The list contains many names of an unusual nature. Among them are the following: 

“Alice Little Chief, Bull Eyes, Leading Horse, Fat Woman, Daisy Greyhound, Martin Sharp Fish, Hurricane Chasing in Timber, Plenty Nests, Bell White Crane Walking, Agnes Iron Shell, Louis Comes the War, Stephen Bear Heels, Wilson Kills, Herbert Eagle Hawk, Charles Spotted Elk, Lucy Blue Horse, Jealous of Him Lone Elk, Evelyn Rose Roan Eagle, Horned Hound, Gilbert Little Battle, Amelia Dog Soldier, Lawrence Shooting Cat, Holy Breath, Alice Holy Tract, Old Black Crow, Half Good Boy.

“The Indian tracts to be sold have been appraised by representatives of the government, and at the sale cannot be sold to bidders for less than the appraised valuation. Some of the tracts are appraised at prices as high as $6,000 or $8,000.”

Rapid City Journal, Page 1. “The residents of eastern Montana are arranging for a grand spectacle on the scene of the battle of the Little Big Horn, in which Custer and his men were wiped out of existence in 1876. The demonstration is to be on the site of the battle, at the same hour of 11 o'clock, June 25, forty-five years ago, when the battle started which ended the picturesque and noted commanders in the field against hostile Indians of those days.

“It is very fitting at this time to bring to the Journal readers a story concerning 'Sitting Bull.' Now 'Sitting Bull' in this case is not a name of the old time Indian Chief, but is that of a 45-Colt which took an active part in the early day Indian scrap, and especially during Custer's last charge. 

“Our 'Sitting Bull' was among the assignment of firearms issued by the United States government to General Custer's men and come to make its home with Vest P. Shoun, an old Indian fighter and freighter, who still resides in Rapid City and has for many years in what you will agree a very exciting way. 

“A Journal reporter called at Shoun's home not long ago, and hungry for a story which contained a kick, he asked Mr. Shoun to tell him about his early days in the west. In answer, Mr. Shoun told about some of his early day experiences 'fightin' Injuns.' The one which stands out most vivid in the writer's mind was, how Mr. Shoun became the owner of 'Sitting Bull.'

“'In company with my pal, we were rounding up a bunch of cattle on the plains a mile south of where the little village of Whitewood is now built,' said the old Indian fighter.

“'It was getting towards sunset, but we had the cattle fairly well rounded up and were about ready to hit the trail for home.'

“'Upon riding over a knoll, when we reached the opposite side, we came face to face with two Redskins, on horses, who were evidently hiding to get us when we came over the top. But we spoiled their little game and brought one of them down, the second one escaping.'

“'My pal and I then agreed on division of the spoils, he to take the buffalo robe and the Indian's Winchester, while I got his scalp and the 45-Colt, which I immediately christened 'Sitting Bull.'

“Mr. Shoun thinks a great deal of the gun and to him it is indeed a precious relic. He wanted it to pass into kind and appreciative hands and so not long ago he presented the ancient warrior to Albert Halley of this city. Mr. Halley said he was going to take good care of 'Sitting Bull,' thus carrying out Mr. Shoun's wishes.”

Argus-Leader (Sioux Falls), Page 5. “The girls' glee club of Augustana College will put on an operetta this evening, 'The Feast of the Red Corn,' an American Indian production, in the college chapel at 8 o'clock. This is the annual entertainment given by the girls' glee club as a fitting ending to their school year. 

“There are 35 characters in the operetta, which is under the direction of Miss Aletta Jahren, teacher of theory and assistant piano instructor. 

“The leading characters are Gudrin Henjum, the queen, Emelie Brendsel, 'Impee Light,' and Miss Leona Ristvedt, the old squaw.”

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