Yet Another Eagle Feather

Dennis Hildebrand 1924

After the dissolution of the Oorang Indians NFL team after the 1923 season, Eagle Feather’s name next appeared with Jim Thorpe’s in a December 18, 1927 article in The Sunday Repository out of Canton, Ohio.  This Eagle Feather was playing on Jim Thorpe’s World Famous Indians basketball team. The article discussed an upcoming game with the local Orphans team that consisted of former college and high school stars. Something different about this article was that it gave two names for the WFI players. Jim Thorpe was Bright Path, Nick Lassaw was Long Time Sleep, and Dennis Hildebrand was Eagle Feather. Could Dennis Hildebrand be the same Eagle Feather who played football with Thorpe on the Oorang Indians NFL team?

Since The Sunday Repository piece listed Hildebrand/Eagle Feather as having attended Haskell Institute, that institution would be a likely place to look for him.  The World-Herald of January 12, 1924 featured a photo of the Haskell basketball team. Dennis Hildebrand was one of the eight Haskell players dressed in the school’s basketball uniforms in the photo. Another was the famous football star John Levi, who played center on the basketball team. Articles written while Eagle Feather played for the Thorpe’s WFI said he was captain of the 1925 Haskell hoops squad and was a North Carolina Cherokee native of Oklahoma. (The 1905 census listed him as having been born in Oklahoma but living on a Navajo reservation in Arizona.) The December 21, 1927 edition of The Canton Daily News claimed that Hildebrand had attended Indiana University not Haskell. The Daily News was clearly wrong about him not attending Haskell because his playing on that team is clearly documented. But did he also play for IU at some point? Finding out if he did or not is my next task.

*** UPDATE ***

Mary Mellon of the Indiana University Archives responded to my inquiry about Dennis Hildebrand:

I’ve checked into your question about Dennis Hildebrand. The IU registrar’s office has no record of him attending IU, which would have been a requirement to play for the basketball team. There’s also a handy online IU basketball database:

Although it covers the years Hildebrand might have played college basketball, neither version of his name appears.



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4 Responses to “Yet Another Eagle Feather”

  1. Cathy Says:

    Eagle Feather was Sherman Pierce. His family has two pictures of him. One as an older man and one as the man in the Oorang uniform. I can send you the picture of when he was an older man if you can tell me how to attach a photo on here.

    • tombenjey Says:

      Hi Cathy,

      Due to a computer crash, I don’t have your email address. I’ve written a complete history of the Carlisle football team and am working on the appendices. In several places in 1903 & 1904 a player named Jamison or Jimerson is listed without a first name. I assume it is the same person but have no idea exactly who it could be. Jakey had left long before, so it couldn’t have been him. Do you have any idea who it might be?



      • Cathy Jimerson Says:

        Tom, my email is
        Roger Tandy Jimerson was at Carlisle from 1900-1902 and then again from 1903-1905. He was on the Carlisle baseball team. It wouldn’t be my husband’s great grandfather Jake as he graduated from Carlisle in 1898. I have a photo of Roger on the baseball team. I’ll email it to you if you want it. Just email me if you need it so I have an email address for you to mail it back.

  2. tombenjey Says:

    I don’t think it’s possible for you to attach a photo to the blog. I will most definitely post it on the blog and credit you for it if you email it to me at I don’t know what email program you use but attaching photos is usually pretty easy. On some email programs you click on a paperclip icon to attach a file. The one I use has an insert option. If the photos are large files, you may have to send each one with a separate message.



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