Buffalo Bill Visits Indian Territory

As a scholar of American Indian Studies, I specialized in images and representations of American Indians.  I used to regularly teach a class on Images of Indians and I always included a segment on Buffalo Bill or Col. William F. Cody.  I’m not sure why I was always fascinated by him; maybe because I’m from Colorado and we used to go see his gravesite on Lookout Mountain, or because I read so much about him, or because he made the first movies about American Indians that used American Indian Actors,  or because the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show is still running at EuroDisney in France or the fact that Edison filmed the Wild West Show and you can watch it on YouTube.  Clearly, there are so many reasons that this historical figure is still so fascinating.

So, a few weeks ago, when my Dad gave me our family’s collection of Postcards from Indian Territory, I was mesmerized when I found in the collection a postcard of Buffalo Bill.  In fact, this one postcard is THE one that made me look at the rest of the collection.  It makes me wonder, did Eula and Frank Morris (my great-grandparents and the subject of the Postcards from Indian Country blog) visit the grave of Buffalo Bill?  He was buried there on Lookout Mountain in 1917; at that time they lived in Amarillo, Texas.  Turns out the postcard, made by Sanborn Souvenir of Denver, would have been made around the 1920s.

Col. Wm. F. Cody
Buffalo Bill Famous Plainsman and Scout

Well, I discovered there are other possibilities.  Perhaps they saw him on his tour and later visited the gravesite when they moved to Colorado. A quick check of the Buffalo Bill schedule shows that The Wild West Show played in Chickasha, Oklahoma in September 1912 (they lived there then) and Amarillo, Texas in October 1915 (they lived there then).  So perhaps when Eula and Frank (William F—coincidence?) moved to Colorado they went to see the gravesite where they bought the postcard after having seen the Wild West Shows. I know this is pure speculation, but it could be the case.

Published by Traci L. Morris

Dr. Morris, the Director of the American Indian Policy Institute at Arizona State University is a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma. Under her leadership, the AIPI has grown and diversified its service to Indian Country via an MOU formalizing a long-standing partnership with the Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA) and forming the Tribal Economic Leadership Program offering training in Tribal Economic Governance and Tribal Financial Management; access to Entrepreneurship training and tribal business support through Inno-Nations; and Economic Development Consulting; and, the formalization of the Institute via by-laws and an advisory board comprised of both internal ASU leadership and external tribal and non-tribal leadership. In her work at both ASU and prior, Morris has worked with Native American tribes; Tribal businesses; Native American non-profits; Native media makers, artists, and galleries; written a college-accredited curriculum in Native American new media; and has advocated for digital inclusion at the Federal Communications Commission and on Capitol Hill. Morris’s research and publications on Native American media and the digital divide is focused on Internet use, digital inclusion, network neutrality, digital and new media curriculums, digital inclusion and development of broadband networks in Indian Country. Her book, Native American Voices: A Reader, continues to be a primary teaching tool in colleges throughout the country. Dr. Morris is Affiliated Faculty at ASU's School for the Future of Innovation in Society, an Affiliate of ASU's Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology, a Senior Sustainability Scholar at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, President of the Board of the Phoenix Indian Center, Board member of the Arizona American Indian Chamber of Commerce, and on the Advisory Council of the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums. Formerly, Morris served member of the Advisory Board for the Department of Labor's Native American Employment and Training Council and served a two-year appointment (2014-2016 and 2010-2012) on the Federal Communications Commission's Consumer Advisory Committee. As an entrepreneur prior to her ASU appointment, Morris founded Homahota Consulting LLC, a national Native American woman-owned professional services firm working in policy analysis, telecommunications, education, and research assisting tribes in their nation-building efforts and working with Native Nations, tribal businesses and those businesses working with tribes. Morris has an M. A. and Ph.D. from the University of Arizona’s American Indian Studies, in addition to a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Colorado State University.

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