Posts Tagged ‘Geronimo’

Old Sioux Chiefs Didn’t March In 1905 Inauguration

April 17, 2009

Previously, I wrote about the Carlisle Indian School contingent that marched in the 1905 Inauguration Parade to celebrate Theodore Roosevelt’s election as President. Six great chiefs, led by Geronimo, rode on horseback in front of the Carlisle Indian School Band. I didn’t write about the others who wanted to participate in the festivities.

Over a dozen old Sioux chiefs paid their own way to travel to Washington from the Rosebud and Standing Rock Reservations “…to march in their eagle feathers and war bonnets and paint down the avenue after the great Father who once lived out in their country.” Indian Commissioner Leupp would have none of it. He would not let the inauguration be a Wild West Show, that there was no place for these red men. He said, “The Indians will be represented by the chiefs of six famous nations at one time hostile to this country. …Directly behind these old chieftains, each of whom represents a nation once at war with this country and subdued only at great loss of life, will be 350 students of the Carlisle Indian School. My object is to contrast the old Indians of the warpath and the educated, manly Indians of today.”

Leupp would not budge and the old chiefs returned to Dakota without marching in the parade. They were not greeted by President Roosevelt who clapped his hands with delight and, like the others in his box, rose to his feet when the six chiefs passed.

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1905 Inaugural Parade

January 23, 2009

The 1905 Presidential Inauguration was a big deal, especially for Carlisle. They had marched at inaugurations before, but this one was special. President-elect Teddy Roosevelt wanted to “make a big show,” likely because his first inauguration was a short, somber affair held in the home of Ansley Wilcox after President McKinley’s assassination. They pulled out all the stops to make his 1905 inauguration a day to remember. Already a staple of inauguration parades after appearing in two previous ones, the Carlisle Indian School Cadets (essentially the large boys) and the renowned school band were expected to march again. However, this time some celebrities would appear with them.

A week or so before the inauguration, six famous chiefs from formerly hostile tribes, arrived in Carlisle to head the school’s contingent in the parade. But, before they left for Washington, there was much to do. First, they spoke to an assembly of students through interpreters. A dress rehearsal was held on the main street of Carlisle to practice for the parade. The Carlisle Herald predicted that the group would be one of the big parade’s star attractions.

Those marching in the parade were woken at 3:45 a.m., had breakfast at 4:30, and were the special train to Washington at 5:30. As the train rolled out of Carlisle, a heavy snow fell, but later the sun burned through, making for a fine day weather-wise. Fortunately, the travelers had lunch on the train because it was late in arriving in Washington. They were hurried into the last division of the Military Grand Division. Originally, they were to have been in the Civic Grand Division, but Gen. Chaffee transferred all cadets under arms to the military division, putting them in a separate brigade. Leading the group was Geronimo, in full Apache regalia including war paint, sitting astride his horse, also in war paint, in the center of the street. To either side, on their horses in their regalia and war paint, rode the five other chiefs: American Horse (Oglala Sioux), Hollow Horn Bear (Brulé Sioux), Little Plume (Blackfeet), Buckskin Charlie (Ute), and Quanah Parker, (Comanche). Following them came the 46-piece Carlisle Indian School Band led by Claude M. Stauffer. Capt. William M. Mercer, superintendent of the school and member of the 7th Cavalry, led the 350 Carlisle Cadets from horseback.

All in President’s box rose when the Carlisle contingent passed. The old chiefs were the object of the most interest from the crowd. Roosevelt said, “This is an admirable contrast-first the chiefs, in their native costumes and then these boys from Carlisle.” Marching ahead of Carlisle in the Military Grand Division were the Cadets from West Point and the 7th Cavalry, whose band played “Garry Owen,” their regiment song, when they passed. President Roosevelt remarked, “That is a bully fighting tune, and this is Custer’s old regiment, one of the finest in the service.” Capt. Mercer surely heard his regiment’s song and may have requested the Carlisle band to play it on occasion.

Perhaps being in close proximity to the War Department and West Point officials gave Mercer the opportunity to discuss a football game between Carlisle and Army. About six weeks later a game between the two government schools appeared on a schedule published in the school paper. The historic event would take place the following November 11.

Six chiefs lead, followed by the CIIS band and 350 students

Six chiefs lead, followed by the CIIS band and 350 students