Posts Tagged ‘Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals’

Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals

May 13, 2010

Yesterday, a reader asked about Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals, wondering if it would be a series of blogs or a book. That tells me it’s time to talk about it a bit. Last year I wrote Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals, Volume I of the Native American Sports Heroes Series. I have now completed Volume II of that series. Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals will be released on September 1. Like the earlier book, it follows 17 football stars with ties to a particular state, Wisconsin in this case, from their childhoods on the reservation, generally, to their time at Carlisle, and through their later lives. Background chapters on Carlisle Indian School, its legendary football teams, and coach “Pop” Warner set the stage for the individual biographies.

Not included are busts of the players drawn by Bob Carroll. Bob graciously drew those for Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals just before the end of his life. In their place, is a map that shows all the Indian Reservations in the state of Wisconsin which is intended to assist the reader in knowing where these people spent their early childhoods and, in some cases, returned to after finishing at Carlisle.

Chapters are included for:

Chauncey Archiquette

Wilson Charles

Wallace Denny

Lone Star Dietz

Louis Island

James Johnson

Frank Lone Star

Jonas Metoxen

Thomas St. Germain

Caleb Sickles

George Vedernack

Gus Welch

Joel & Hugh Wheelock

Martin Wheelock

Charles Williams

William Winneshiek

It is my hope that historians, teachers and librarians review this book and make it more available to students who would learn a lot about how disadvantaged people overcame obstacles to excel.

Copies of the softcover version of Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals are now in stock for June 1st release.

Review of Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals

March 19, 2010

Writer’s Digest just sent me a review of Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals that included something interesting. Before we get to that, you can read the short review in its entirety:

I knew Jim Thorpe would be in this book, and he is; but I didn’t know how many honors he had earned. Didn’t the Olympic Committee restore his medals, also? Well, besides Thorpe and his athletic prowess, this fine little book offers stories about a number of other fine students, All-Americans and later coaches. The U. S. tendency to treat Native Americans like animals means that their biographies reflect the glory of sports—and the sorrow of poverty and bigotry. If those students had cried all the tears they earned, Oklahoma would be a swamp. I wish the author had had time to write a book about each of the men.

I take the comments that “this fine little book” and the wish that I had “time to write a book about each of the men” as compliments. However, I feel that I should address some of what was said in the review lest the reader be misled. Of course the reviewer is correct in stating that I don’t have time to write book-length biographies for all these men. But time isn’t the reason I didn’t and don’t expect to be able to do that. Availability of information is the determining factor. The men about whom I write typically left few papers behind and none wrote memoirs. Occasionally, I locate one of their children but most of them are now deceased. Grandchildren are often interested in their grandfathers’ lives but most have little information about them. It is wonderful when they do.

These men, like most Americans of all races, generally worked at their jobs, paid their taxes, supported their families, survived the depression as best they could and sent sons off to fight in WWII. After being famous in their youths, they lived quiet, productive lives typical of their generation. Unfortunately, that usually doesn’t create enough material for a book.

A grandchild of one such man wrote me recently to inform me that she had read the chapter about her grandfather and told me that she was amazed at the amount of material I had found about him. Granted, his name found its way into his local newspapers much more than most but he left far too little information behind for a book.

Some of the reviewer’s other statements deserve comment and will be addressed next time.

Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals Now Available

July 21, 2009

I received some great news over the weekend– Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals have shipped and should be available for sale and immediate shipment by mid-week at and next week from other booksellers. This book is not recommended for people who already have Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs because most of the material in the new book can be found in it. This may not sound like it makes sense, so I’ll explain.

Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs, in my opinion, contains a lot of information that is of interest to young people. However, at 160,000 words, it is inaccessible to youngsters. As an aside, adults tell me they don’t necessarily read it in sequence because its organization allows readers to skip around, reading sections or chapters they find interesting at a particular time and others at other times. Still others use it as a reference book because most of these men’s life stories have been told nowhere else. By splitting this book into a series by state, each volume is short enough that children can read it. A benefit to me is that I was able to include two people who weren’t in Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs: Mike Balenti and Henry Roberts. Perhaps when I finish the series I will make a second edition of Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs that includes all the new people that were added in the series.

Also, Oklahoma’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals is in hardback with a glossy cover, something that should make it an attractive Christmas gift, particularly for children with roots in Oklahoma. If it sounds like I am on a soapbox, it is because I am. Our children and grandchildren should know about these people and much of what has been written about Carlisle Indian School is distorted at best.