Title: Low Neck Gives a Better Report

Periodical: Herald

Date: July 30, 1890

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Tahu Waniece, "Low Neck," the Indian chief of police in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, was a passenger on the Norddeutscher Lloyd steamer Kaiser Wilhelm II., which arrived from Bremen yesterday. "Low Neck" is a full blooded Ogallala, weighing over two hundred pounds. He has a very short neck, from which originated his name, and a rather fleshy face for an Indian. He is forty-four years old.

Low Neck was met at the pier by Indian Interpreter George C. Crager and the Rev. Father Crafts, the Sioux missionary, and escorted to the Barge Office, where he was registered. He then went to General O'Beirne's office, where the General waited to receive him. Mr. W. O. Snyder, American ticket agent for the Wild West show, was also on hand to represent Colonel Cody.

Through Interpreter Crager and Father Crafts Low Neck proceeded to give an account of the treatment received by the Ogallalas in Europe. He agreed with White Horse, who preceded him, in saying that Rocky Bear, who was in charge of the Indians, treated them cruelly, giving them insufficient time to eat and swearing at them in the Sioux language, but in general Low Neck's report was quite favorable to Buffalo Bill.

He acknowledged that Red Shirt, who left the show at Barcelona and returned to America, was in charge of the Indians up to last December, when he had a quarrel with Rocky Bear at Marseilles. Agent Snyder suggested that it was because Red Shirt did not restrain the Indians as Buffalo Bill wished, but Low Neck said Rocky Bear did no better. In fact, he said, it was impossible to keep the Indians from leaving camp. They received $25 per month and all expenses, but many of them spent this money in gambling and for whiskey. Some of them had saved their money and bought clothing, others kept the cash intact and a few were utterly penniless. Five had died since Rocky Bear took charge. The men who died, Low Neck said, were put in nice boxes and buried in cemeteries. Doctors were supplied for the sick Indians, but they were usually afraid of the red men. The food given was all right, Low Neck said, and he gave a list of supplies.

As to wages, he declared that no more Indians would go for less than $50 per month. When he left Colonel Cody gave him $100 and told him to give a good report to newspaper men. Low Neck wanted it understood, though, that this money was given for his care of the Indians. As chief of Indian police he had eleven men under him, and he went about the tepees every night.

The trouble between Red Shirt and Rocky Bear was jealousy. When asked if he was instructed to tell untruths for the $100 presented, Low Neck said "No," but he added with childlike simplicity that he would tell any kind of a story for that amount, and vary it for every $100 presented.

Low Neck came home because three of his children have died and his wife is ill. He is anxious to go back to Pine Ridge agency. He said he did not care to go back to the Wild West show. Interpreter Crager took him to the Occidental Hotel last night, and to-day he will start West.

Title: Low Neck Gives a Better Report

Periodical: Herald

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West , MS6.3772.009.02 (Crager scrapbook)

Date: July 30, 1890

Topics: Lakota Performers

Keywords: American Indians Atlantic crossings Lakota dialect Missionaries Oglala Indians Passenger ships Sioux Nation Translators United States. Office of Indian Affairs. Pine Ridge Agency

People: Craft, Francis M., 1852-1920 O'Beirne, James Rowan, 1844-1917 Red Shirt, 1845?-1925 Rocky Bear

Places: Barcelona (Spain) Bremen (Germany) Marseille (France) Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (S.D.)

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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