Winneshiek’s Return to Carlisle

William Phineas Winneshiek, Winnebago from Hatfield, Wisconsin, wasn’t a star football player at Carlisle but surely had friends that were. He probably played on a shop team or for the band, because he was a musician. After leaving Carlisle in 1915, he played semi-pro football for the Altoona Indians and, in 1916, assisted fellow Altoona Indian and musician, Joel Wheelock, coach the Lebanon Valley College team. In 1922 he played in the NFL for the Oorang Indians. However, music was where he made his living. A website maintained by his grandson includes photos of Winneshiek: http://firstpeople.iwarp.com/phineus.html

On December 11, 1936, Bill Winneshiek, who was then known as Chief Winneshiek (probably because he was descended from a hereditary chief) wrote Hugh Miller to thank him for giving him some photographs of the Indian School. He also expressed his feelings about what he saw on his recent visit to the old school:

Mr. Miller, I know that you are one of the few White men living that will realize fully the great injustice that was brought upon the Indian Race when Our Great Democratic Government decided to: “Take Away From The Redman The Last Remaining Treasure (Carlisle Indian School) He Had in U. S. A.

Buildings had been burned down; complete destruction of the tall smokestack, which once answered the purpose of a monument; The Campus , which was once the pride of all who saw it for it was kept always in its natural beauty by the Indian students had faded into an unkept meadow; Our school mates who had been called by the Great Spirit and laid at rest near the Athletic Field, had been disturbed and moved to a more lonelier spot by the soldiers who now inhabit the Grounds where the American Indian made his last stand. No Government, no Race of People could have been more Cruel, No Christians, whether they be White, Yellow, Brown, Black or Red, could forget Providence long enough to commit that one last barbarous act as when Carlisle Indian School was taken from the Red Man. The saddest thing that has yet befallen the Indian.

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