|About the Book|
A rare and deeply personal look into the lives of Dakotah Indian warriors during the mid to late 1800s. These elders come alive in these original interviews preserved and compiled by Col. A.B. Welch. Illustrated with over 75 fully annotatedMoreA rare and deeply personal look into the lives of Dakotah Indian warriors during the mid to late 1800s. These elders come alive in these original interviews preserved and compiled by Col. A.B. Welch. Illustrated with over 75 fully annotated photographs, you cant help but be moved by the beauty and charisma of these people.“War Drums” was written by Col. Welch in 1924. This manuscript records his conversations with old warriors of the Sioux, Arikara, Mandan and Hidatsa tribes. Welch’s writings are essentially unedited. The stories are presented in their original order. Photographs and three stories from his collection have been added to enrich the manuscript.See and read the letters that prompted the arrest and subsequent death of Sitting Bull. Read the first hand account of Sitting Bulls arrest from Red Tomahawk as told to Col. Welch. Learn about the bravery of these people in the stories of The Stone by the Road, Four Bears Revenge and The Battle of the Buttes. Hear the words of Charging Bear, Crows Heart, Enemy Heart, Red Tomahawk as you read their interviews.Col. Welch, born 1874, became acquainted with these people of the plains as a child at play with young Sioux children. His family was living on their Dakota homestead in the 1880’s when, unknown to them at the time, the Sioux had considered kidnapping this six year old boy to raise as one of their own. Thirty-nine years later, in 1913, Col. Welch was indeed symbolically kidnapped and adopted by the Sioux Nation, becoming the son of the revered Chief John Grass.Col. Welch served in the Philippines Insurrection of 1898-99, helped to chase Pancho Villa in 1917 and then, in 1918, fought in France in the trenches of World War I along with his Indian recruits. His adopted status, his being recognized as a warrior, along with his deep feelings for these people, undoubtedly helped him gain their confidence. He was related to and spoken to as an Indian, not as just to another white man.He operated The Golden Rule Department Store upon his return from France and was postmaster of Mandan in the 1920’s until 1932. His Golden Rule account book shows the cost of articles taken, but few records of payments. Many of these stories originated from his Indian friends dropping in for chats, purchases and trades.Col. Welch recognized the plight of these people and the cultural losses that were occurring even in the early 1900’s. He was an avid recorder of conversations, documenter of photographs and collector of letters and news articles. Welch could speak a little of the various Dakotah languages, but it was his practice to use an Indian interpreter so he could compare notes and come as close as possible to what the old men meant to say both in words and gestures.I would hope that you will treat this book as a way to gain access to the minds of these people, many who were born as early as the 1830’s, and to learn a bit of how they lived before the white man took away their Nations. And lastly, that you gain a sense of this man who fell in love with a people and their story, going to great lengths to see that their legacy was preserved.