Chauncey Yellow Robe

A Biography of the American Indian Educator, ca. 1870–1930


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About the Book

In 1883, 12-year old Canowicakte boarded a train on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, beginning a journey his friends said would end at the edge of the world. Raised as a traditional Lakota, he found Carlisle Indian School, with its well-documented horrors, was the end of the world as he knew it.
Renamed Chauncey Yellow Robe, he flourished at Carlisle, developed a lifelong friendship with founder Richard Pratt, and went on to work at Indian boarding schools for most of his professional life.
Despite his acceptance of Indian assimilation, he was adamant that Indians should maintain their identity and was an outspoken critic of their demeaning portrayal in popular Wild West shows. He was the star and technical director of The Silent Enemy (1930), one of the first accurate depictions of Indians on film. His life embodied a cultural conflict that still persists in American society.

About the Author(s)

David W. Messer is a retired associate professor in teacher education at Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia. He has presented at the College Board Native American Student Advocacy Institute and the Lakota Nations Conference. He lives in Brevard, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

David W. Messer
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 178
Bibliographic Info: 14 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7322-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3304-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by Rona Yellow Robe 1

Preface 5

Introduction 9

“Chauncey Yellow Robe” by Badger Clark 11

 1. Lakota Creation Story 13

 2. Pratt Comes Calling 16

 3. Canowicakte’s Early Life 20

 4. Clothes, Hair and Names 24

 5. Killing the Indian 33

 6. Chauncey in the White City 42

 7. Thriving in an Unlikely Environment 48

 8. A Demented Indian 50

 9. The Indian Service School System 54

10. On the Move 60

11. The Rapid City Indian School 65

12. Lillian 73

13. Relationship to Sitting Bull 77

14. The Society of American Indians 81

15. Carlos Montezuma 86

16. World War I 91

17. The Spanish Flu 101

18. Wounded Knee and Wild West Shows 108

19. The Silent Enemy 115

20. Latter Years 129

21. The Yellow Robe Daughters 133

22. Chauncey’s Death 141

23. Yellow Robes 145

24. The Yellow Robe Name 151

Chapter Notes 155

Bibliography 167

Index 171