It’s our past coming back to life

image Wow. 32-page typewritten transcript – from 100 years ago – provides a description of a pictoral history of Sioux nation. The Twin Cites (MN) family finds it in a trunk of Grandma’s old possessions (Great-Grandma typed it up), and gives a copy of it to members of the Lakota tribe.

Libby Holden [pictured with transcript, above] said her grandmother, who inherited the oral history, never spoke about it. It’s possible she never knew she had the document. When she died, her possessions were stored at the family’s printing company.

Last summer, Libby Holden and several other family members began sorting through the items. Holden says one big musty old trunk was especially interesting. [… It] contained the White Horse oral history. She said it’s possible the items were packed away by her great-grandmother and left untouched by her descendants.

Holden’s great grandparents had lots of contacts with Native Americans; their great grandfather was a lawyer representing members of the Lakota tribe, and their great-grandmother was the one who typed up the interview. (The trunk that held the oral history transcript also held many other artifacts).

The front page says ‘transcript of the pictorial history of the Sioux nation as kept by the White Horse family. Told by Chief White Horse of White Horse Station, Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, South Dakota, on September 8th, 1910’.

What was Chief White Horse talking about? He was describing a pictograph that the tribe created in order to keep track of time. View the pictograph and read some of the associated “entries” about the year in question.

Holden’s family gave copies of the transcript to the tribe. located on the Cheyenne River reservation in north central South Dakota. People from the town of White Horse welcomed the history with a ceremony.

[Donna Rae Petersen, a tribal member,] said, like many Indian communities across the nation, the people of Cheyenne River are becoming more interested in their cultural heritage.

“People were just genuinely happy to have something wonderful like this come back to their community as far as information goes,” Petersen said. “It’s our past coming back to life.”

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Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on February 03, 2009 in • MemorabiliaOral history in the news
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