7/15/2006

Excuses

Ok my patient friends and acquaintances, I know I know - it's been so long since I sent out any HELPER's. The Man-on-the-band-stand would scold me proper for such neglect. It's all because of new babies and old promises and projects and messes and a million trillion excuses that I neglect you all. Maybe this week...

There's just one thing I have to say. With certainty. Lone Star Dietz was an imposter. It's time to make the record show it - and for the scholars to accept it. Very sad, but then, we know Carlisle was the place for inventing new identities. So it was with Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance Sylvester Long, and so it was with Dietz. He was never a One Star - never a Lone Star. He was a smart, savvy, athlete who figured out how to get into Carlisle by taking on the identity of a former student, James One Star (Sioux), who by 1907 had disappeared into thin air.

Barbara

6 comments:

Linda Waggoner said...

Hi Barb. I've never blogged before, but will give it a try. I just received my copy of Tom Benjey's Keep A-goin': The Life of Lone Star Dietz today. I was amazed to find my name and the title to my Indian Country Today article featured prominently in the back of the book. Wow!

To set the record straight, I'm the only "activist" responsible for concluding Lone Star was impersonating James One Star--whether he did so consciously, or unconsciously. And I'm no activist as Benjey implies, just the biographer for Lone Star's wife, Angel DeCora. That's how I discovered the problem with Dietz's identity--which totally blind-sided me in the middle of my research.

I found out about the Redskins issue much later. I have little investment in the sports mascot controversy--though I have a hard time understanding why the term "redskins" is not stamped as a racist moniker today. There were many racist terms used in the 1930s that are no longer appropriate. I believe language does impart different meanings through time (so I do not necessarily agree that "redskins" still denotes the scalps of Native people--though it may still connote it to some). But any reference to skin or color calls up the old racial distinctions, whether it means to or not.

I was more interested in the argument that since Dietz was "an Indian," the team name was justified. I wrote the article for ITC very quickly because of the impending Redskins' trial. It was based on a paper that I gave at an academic conference in Syracuse, New York a couple years ago. Unfortunately, I could not cite my many sources or give my full argument due to time format and space constraints of the newspaper.

The manuscript for Angel's bio is under consideration with Oklahoma University Press. Tentative release date won't be till 2008, so I probably should offer a response to Benjey's book (and his response to my article) sooner than later. Would this be a good venue for that? I could write something up, if anyone's interested.

I noticed Benjey did not seem to have access to several of my sources, including Ewers' papers from the Smithsonian archives or to any tribal or military records. I do lots of tribal genealogy and historical research for the Winnebago/Hochunk Metis, and so have that expertise to offer as well as research(and teaching) in multicultural studies.

Let me know if I should write something up to clarify some of the issues at stake.

Keep up the great work!
Linda Waggoner

barb said...

Yes, I'm aware of the claim that the Boston (later Washington) team was named Redskin as a moniker of honor. And Dietz had already invented himself as Lone Star, the Indian, hence he represented that honoring. So, regardless of your views about the mascot issue - naming a team after a pretend Indian doesn't exactly strengthen the "honoring" case.

I look forward to some real scholarship about Dietz' true identity. I think it's time to clear this up. Please keep a'goin with this.

For those unaware, "Keep a'goin'" is the phrase that repeats in the chorus of the Carlisle Indian School song Pop Warner is credited with writing. Pop Warner is another very interesting, complicated and suspect character who is attracting attention too, lately.

Tom Benjey said...

I came across this message some time ago but didn’t understand her comment that I apparently didn’t have access to John C. Ewers’ Smithsonian file on Lone Star Dietz. Now I know. In a chapter on Dietz that was removed from her recent book on Angel DeCora, Linda Waggoner makes the following statements:

When his sentence was over, Dietz returned to the east, taking a temporary job at the Philadelphia School of Industrial Art in “Design and Lettering” for the 1920-1921 academic year.[63] Perhaps, he wanted to revisit the past he spent with Angel, but football was still his first love. In 1922 he was hired to coach at Purdue University in Indiana. At the end of January 1923 he married Doris O. Pottlitzer, a “Jewish heiress,” just a week after he was fired from Purdue for illegal recruiting.

Like Ewers before her, Waggoner appears to have misinterpreted The Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art Circular for 1920-21. Beginning on page 41 of that circular is a list of former students and their last known occupations. Dietz's name appears on page 53. They were probably not aware that Dietz was no longer teaching at Carlisle and hadn’t been doing that since 1915. Sara MacDonald, Public Service Librarian at The University of the Arts, successor organization to The Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art, explained this to me some years ago.

Waggoner’s explanation would have been convenient for me because I haven’t found out what Dietz was doing in the year between when he got out of jail in 1920 and the time he took the coaching job at Purdue in 1921. I have no explanation as to why Waggoner has him coaching the Boilermakers in 1922 and marrying Doris in 1923. He coached Purdue in only one year, 1921, and married Doris in early 1922. They then relocated to Ruston, LA where he coached Louisiana Tech in 1922 and 1923. Lone Star may have thought Doris was a cracker heiress, but it doesn’t look like she was. I suspect that his 1-6 record at Purdue had more to do with his firing than the accusations made against him.

This topic will be explored further in a future blog at www.TomBenjey.WordPress.com.

Tom Benjey said...

Here’s something else that deserved some real scholarship. “Keep a-goin’” was NOT a phrase that Warner repeated in the Carlisle school song. I intended to include the school song here but this blog does not appear to support graphics. The school song was published in the January 25, 1907 edition of The Arrow. I will post a copy of the school song and the poem from his 1927 book, Football for Coaches and Players, the place where the phrase can actually be found.

I picked this phrase for the title of Lone Star Dietz’s biography because of the way he kept going in spite of numerous setbacks and because he had it in his hand when he died. He also illustrated the book from which it came. Tomorrow I visit the Sports Immortals museum in Boca Raton, FL where among a million (literally) other things, they have a Dietz painting of Pittsburgh.

Look for the school song and poem in one of my future blogs.

Tom Benjey
www.TomBenjey.WordPress.com

Oscar said...

Hi Barb,

Thanks for sending me this week's blog.

Wow! I'm flattered someone is actually reading the things on my web site! I recently posted the chapter on Dietz's trial because my brother and a couple of friends wanted to see it. It was pulled early from the manuscript, and is unedited. My publishers did not want the emphasis to be on Dietz, especially because his trial took place after Angel's death.

Yes, Tom Benjey is absolutely correct! Dietz was hired by Purdue in 1921 and married Doris in Tippecanoe County, Indiana on Jan. 29, 1922. That was a typo. Good eye, Tom! And, Tom, thanks for looking into the Industrial Art Circular. I had a hard time understanding why the school would hire Dietz back after everything that had happened.

Tom Benjey said...

Hi Linda,

I visited with Joel Platt at his Sports Immortals museum in Boca Raton today. He verified that he does in fact have Lone Star’s baby curls as a decades-old newspaper article claimed. Perhaps someone with deep pockets will acquire the curls and have DNA tests run.

After “Keep A-goin’” was published I learned that a man I *might* be descended from had two families, one white and one Cherokee, at the same time. Shortly after that I noticed a Lone Star family on the same census page with Gus Welch who grew up in the Wisconsin county immediately north of the one in which Dietz lived. The close proximity of the Lone Star family creates additional possibilities.

Tom