Title: Hatchets For Buffalo Bill

Periodical: Evening World

Date: July 21, 1890

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His Indians Coming Home Angry, Sick and Disgusted.

They Complain that He Has Abused, Starved and Deceived Them.

Gen. James R. O'Beirne, Superintendent of Immigration at the Barge Office, is indignant at the way W. F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) is alleged to be treating the Indians he took from the Pine Ridge Reservation two years ago, and this afternoon he will forward a letter to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs formally complaining and relating the facts that have recently come to his knowledge.

He has already written a letter to Col. Gallagher, the Indian agent at Pine Ridge, telling him substantially the same story.

Gen. O'Beirne got his information from the three Indians who arrived on the Augusta Victoria, from Hamburg, last Saturday.

They are Shunka-Ka-Scar, which translated means White Horse; Marto Chenumpa, alias Bear Pipe, and He Chunka Sackta, alias Kills White Weasel.

Bear Pipe was the most important individual of the trio. He is a daring and expert horseman and is one of the Indians who took part in the famous attack on the Deadwood coach. He is a fine-looking, well-built fellow.

White Horse used to take the part of one of the friendly Indians, who come to Buffalo Bill's rescue when the white settlement is attacked by hostiles. Kills White Weasel is also one of the Indians who make the wild charge on the coach.

All three of these Indians arrived at the Barge Office sick and disgusted. Although unable to speak English they managed by gestures to convey the impression that they wanted to complain to some one.

Gen. O'Beirne sent for an interpreter, and through him he managed to learn that the whole colony of Indians under Cody's management are complaining of ill-treatment.


White Horse was the spokesman for his companions. They complained about the way they were handled. In all sorts of weather, cold or warm, wet or dry, they are compelled to strip naked to perform their acts. They urged that they should be allowed to wear clothes, but Buffalo Bill said that they must be stripped.

Their meals, they claim, are horrible. The food, in their words, is absolutely unfit for a dog to eat. Many of them are subsisting on biscuits, as White Horse says, and he also says that if the Great Father at Washington could only see the gaunt, lean bodies of the Indians he has left behind, he would surely declare them ill-treated.

Another thing that White Horse claims is that Buff lo Bill has violated his promise to furnish the Indians with horses. He compels them to use their own animals, and the result is that many of the Indians have lost their fine steeds.

White Horse alleges that Rocky Bear, the Chief, and Broncho Bill, the interpreter, are cruel and harsh in the treatment of the Indians and that the latter have to submit in silence.

White Horse is a cousin of Red Cloud, [1] and to the latter he will relate his story of cruel treatment. Red Cloud will probably demand that his men be sent back at once to the reservation.

That White Horse and his companions are broken down and dispirited is evinced by a remarkable occurrence at the Barge Office yesterday.

When the body of Otakte (Kills Plenty), who died on the ocean while on his way home, reached New York, Gen. O'Beirne had it photographed.

Yesterday he called the Indians to him and showed them the picture. White Horse took the photograph in hand and gazed at it steadfastly for at least five minutes.

It was apparent that a terrible struggle was going on in that powerful frame, a struggle to keep back tears and other evidences of emotion, the betrayal of which is considered unmanly in Indian tribes.

Finally, the photograph dropped from the shaking hands of the powerful redskin, and it fell on the floor. White Horse covered his face with his hands and wept like a child, while the eyes of his two companions filled with tears, but their faces retained their stolid expression.

"I have spent many years among the Indians," said Gen. O'Beirne this morning, when relating the incident, "and I never saw an Indian cry before."

Gen. O'Beirne shipped the Indians to Pine Ridge yesterday afternoon.

Note 1: Red Cloud (1822-1909), Mahipiya Luta, was a great war leader and chief of the Oglala Sioux Indians from 1866 to 1881. [back]

Title: Hatchets For Buffalo Bill

Periodical: Evening World

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West , MS6.3772.007.07 (Crager scrapbook)

Date: July 21, 1890

Topics: Lakota Performers

Keywords: American Indians Atlantic crossings Horses Indian agents Oglala Indians Passenger ships Stagecoaches Translators United States. Office of Indian Affairs United States. Office of Indian Affairs. Pine Ridge Agency

People: O'Beirne, James Rowan, 1844-1917 Red Cloud, 1822-1909 Rocky Bear

Places: Hamburg (Germany) Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (S.D.) Washington (D.C.)

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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