COOLIDGE ADOPTED INTO SIOUX TRIBE 89 YEARS AGO TODAY
Fort Yates, North Dakota (JFK+50) President Calvin Coolidge was adopted into the Sioux Tribe here at Fort Yates*, located at the south-central border of North Dakota, eighty-nine years ago, June 23, 1927.
The President was given a grand ceremonial feathered head dress by Sioux chief Henry Standing Bear. You can see in the photograph below that Coolidge looks somewhat odd wearing a full length Indian headdress with a suit and tie.
The idea to make Coolidge an honorary Sioux came from Chauncey Yellow Robe, a descendant of Sitting Bull and Indian school administrator. According to the Sioux County Pioneer, Chauncey Yellow Robe extended a "most sincere and hearty welcome" to the president.
President Coolidge had signed into law the Indian Citizenship Act** in 1924 granting automatic United States citizenship to all American tribes. Despite being a strong supporter of tribal rights, however, the Coolidge administration continued the policy of assimilation in which "all Indian children were placed in federally funded boarding schools...separated from their families and stripped of their native language and culture."
In 1928, the President vetoed two pieces of legislation that would have given tribes standing to sue in the Court of Claims.
*Fort Yates, located in Sioux County ND, was the tribal HQ of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. It was established in 1863 to supervise the Hunkpapa and Blackfeet bands. The fort was later named in honor of Captain George Yates who was killed at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876.
**Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 (a.k.a. Indian Freedom Citizenship Suffrage Act) was proposed by Representative Homer P. Snyder (R-NY) and supported by the Indian Rights Association. It was hopeful that the law would reward those Native Americans who served in the US armed services during WWI.
"Coolidge," by Amity Shlaes, Harper, 2013.
"Newspaper reveals Coolidge will be adopted into Sioux tribe," This Day in History: June 23, www.history.com/
Coolidge Adopted into Sioux Tribe