Woogie: Comanche Warrior

Woogie

This is a beautiful photo portrait of my dear friend, Woogie Watchetaker, graciously provided by David and Ruth Malhalab.  It was taken by their family member, Jonathon J. Malhalab, sometime between 1976 – 1977 when the family member was stationed at Fort Sill.

Mr. Malhalab is seeking any information whatsoever relating to this photo and the circumstances relating to it.  If you have  any information relating to this photo or the events relating to it, please email me and I will put you in contact with him.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy seeing Woogie, proudly displaying his great strength, pride and strong character. What a special man he was and I extend a special thank you to Mr. Malhalab for sharing it with me and for the permission to post it on my artblog so that the entire world can enjoy it as well. Jonathon J. Malhalab’s photographic skills were amazing.  I know Woogie must have been very pleased with the  results of the sitting.  I’m so thankful for whatever circumstances made it possible for the photo to be taken and appreciate David Malhalab generously sharing it with us.  This, my friends, is the Woogie I knew.  He always described himself to me as “strong, like Geronimo” and that strength Woogie always displayed was skillfully captured in this photo.

NOTE:  This photo is protected by a copyright.  You must have written permission from Mr. Malhalab or his representative to copy or use this photo.

Last World War II Comanche Code Talker, Charles ‘Charlie’ Joyce Chibitty

The following stories spotlight the service of Charlies “Charlie” Joyce Chibitty, WWII Comanche Code Talker, who was the brother of my dear friend, Woggie Watchetaker. On this 4th of July, I would like to pay tribute to Mr. Chibitty and the other many great warriors who served as code talkers and were a huge factor in achieving victory in the WWII conflict. I had the great honor and have fond memories of meeting Mr. Chibitty on several occasions.

This is ‘Charlie’s” great story.

CHARLES J. CHIBITTY served with the US Army from January 1, 1941 to July 3, 1945 earning the rank of T/5. He was a member of the Comanche Code Talkers. T/5 Chibitty was from the Mount Scott-Porter Hill area and a Golden Gloves boxer and fancy war dancer. He was the last surviving Code Talker when he passed away on July 20, 2005 at the age of eighty-three.

Charles Chibitty, the last surviving World War II Comanche code talker, donned his feathered Indian chief’s headdress and offered a prayer in the Pentagon Chapel for those killed in the terrorist attack on the building. Photo by Rudi Williams.

Arthur L. Money presents Charles Chibitty with a cased American flag that was flown over the capitol during ceremonies in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes. The 78- year-old Chibitty is the last surviving World War II Army Comanche “code talker.” Money is the assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications, and intelligence. Photo by Staff Sgt. Robert Broils, USA.

When Charles Chibitty, the last surviving World War II Comanche code talker, visited Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon in 2002, the secretary presented him a memento of a small engraved box. Photo by Rudi Williams

http://www.defenselink.mil/utility/printitem.aspx?print=http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=4290

DoD Honors Last Comanche World War II “Code Talker”

By Rudi Williams American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 1999 - Charles Chibitty, 78, was honored here Nov. 30 as the last surviving World War II Army Comanche “code talker” during an emotional ceremony in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes.The ceremony was punctuated by thundering drumbeats echoing through the Pentagon corridor and “vocables” of joy and sadness. “Vocables” are sounds replacing words so singers of various Native American tribes can sing together.

Chibitty received the Knowlton Award, created by the Military Intelligence Corps Association in 1995 to recognize significant contributions to military intelligence efforts. The award is named in honor of Revolutionary War Army Lt. Col. Thomas Knowlton.

Arthur L. Money, assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications, and intelligence, presented Chibitty the award in recognition of the role he and 16 other Comanche Indians played in cloaking military messages on the battlefields of Europe. The Comanches frustrated enemy code breakers by translating Army messages into their native language. The enemy never broke the code.

The code talkers are credited with saving countless American and allied lives, said Money, who also presented Chibitty an American flag that was flown over the capitol and a framed letter from Johnny Waugua, chairman of the Comanche Tribe of Oklahoma.

“Volunteers like Mr. Chibitty were key to the U.S. and allied forces’success from Normandy to Berlin,” Money said. “History has proven that our ‘code talkers’ thoroughly confounded our enemy’s intelligence collection efforts, which on several occasions gave us the tactical advantage to ensure success while minimizing the risk to our troops.”

“It’s incredibly ironic that my agency, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, dedicated itself for the first half of this century to destroying the native languages that proved to be so useful to our armed forces during World War II,” said Kevin Gover, the Department of Interior’s assistant secretary of Indian affairs. “It’s a great irony that in just two or three generations of being in conflict with the United States, our warriors would go forward and play such a crucial role in the victory over this country’s enemies.” Gover assisted with the presentations.

Chibitty said the French government recognized Comanche code talkers in 1989 by presenting them that country’s second highest honor — naming each a Knight of the National Order of Merit. But, he said, being honored at the Pentagon was special because “you’re home folks.”

“I always wonder why it took so long to recognize us for what we did,” Chibitty said, holding back tears as he spoke of his deceased Comanche comrades. “They’re not here to enjoy what I’m getting after all these years. Yes, it’s been a long, long time.”

Using the code the Comanches created in 1941 during training at Fort Benning, Ga., Chibitty sent the first message on D-Day which, in English, translated to “Five miles to the right of the designated area and five miles inland the fighting is fierce and we need help.”

“We compiled a 100-word vocabulary of military terms during training,” said Chibitty, who joined the Army in January 1941 along with 20 other Comanches. “The Navajo did the same thing. The Navajos became code talkers about a year after the Comanches, but there were over a hundred of them because they had so much territory (in the Pacific Theater) to cover.”

Choctaw Indians were used as code talkers during World War I.

Since there was no Comanche word for “tank,” the code talkers used their word for “turtle.” “Machine gun” became “sewing machine,” Chibitty noted, “because of the noise the sewing machine made when my mother was sewing.” “Bomber” became “pregnant airplane.” “Hitler,” he said with a grin, was “posah-tai-vo,” or “crazy white man.”

Chibitty said two Comanches were assigned to each of the 4th Infantry Division’s three regiments. They sent coded messages from the front line to division headquarters, where other Comanches decoded the messages. He said some of the code talkers were wounded, but all survived the war.

“The only thing I regret is my fellow code talkers are not here,” Chibitty said. “But I have a feeling those boys are here somewhere listening and looking down.”

When his last fellow code talker died in September 1998, Chibitty said, “All those other boys up there were welcoming him home. They were hugging and kissing him and, while they were doing that, they said, ‘Wait a minute, we’ve still got one more down there. When Charles gets up here, we’re going to welcome him just like we welcoming you.””

http://www.defenselink.mil/dodcmsshare/newsstoryPhoto/2002-11/scr_200211081b_hr.jpg

“You had this way of speaking that nobody could translate. The way you used your language was of such great advantage to your country,” Les Brownlee, the undersecretary of the Army, told Charles Chibitty, the last surviving World War II Comanche code talker during a visit to his Pentagon office. Photo by Rudi Williams.

Last WWII Comache Code Talker Visist Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery

By Rudi Williams American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2002 – After meeting with the defense secretary and other top Pentagon officials on Nov. 5, Charles Chibitty, the last surviving World War II Comanche code talker, donned his feathered Indian chief’s headdress and offered a prayer in the Pentagon Chapel for those killed in the terrorist attack on the building.

The aging code talker then placed a wreath and offered an Indian prayer at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington (Va.) National Cemetery. This marks the third time the 81-year old war veteran was honored at the Pentagon for his service to the nation. His visits in 1992 and 1999 were also in November during National American Indian Heritage Month.

While meeting at the Pentagon with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Undersecretary of the Army Les Brownlee and Raymond F. DuBois Jr., deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, Chibitty recounted his wartime experiences when his unit landed on the Normandy shores on “the first or second day after D-Day.” After his unit hit Utah Beach, his first radio message was sent to another codetalker on an incoming boat. Translated into English, it said: “Five miles to the right of the designated area and five miles inland, the fighting is fierce and we need help.”

“We were trying to let them know where we were so they wouldn’t lob no shells on us,” he explained with a chuckle. “I was with the 22nd Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division. We talked Indian and sent messages when need be. It was quicker to use telephones and radios to send messages because Morse code had to be decoded and the Germans could decode them. We used telephones and radios to talk Indian then wrote it in English and gave it to the commanding officer.”

Chibitty said two Comanches were assigned to each of the 4th Infantry Division’s three regiments. They sent coded messages from the front line to division headquarters, where other Comanches decoded the messages.

He said 20 Comanches signed up to be code talkers, but only 17 went to training at Fort Benning, Ga., and only 14 hit Utah Beach at Normandy. “None of us was killed, but two were wounded pretty badly; one was my cousin,” Chibitty noted.

Brownlee asked him if he was hit and Chibitty said, “Heck, no. I was like a prairie dog. As soon as I heard a whistle, I’d dive in that hole. I was little then. I weighed 126 pounds and it didn’t take long for me to dig my hole. My buddy weighed 240 pounds and some of them were more than six feet tall and they had to dig a long trench.”

Speaking in the Comanche language, Chibitty gave Brownlee another example of a message code talkers sent to other units, then translated it for him: “A turtle is coming down the hedgerow. Get that stovepipe and shoot him.”

“A turtle was a tank and a stovepipe was a bazooka,” he explained. “We couldn’t say tank or bazooka in Comanche, so we had to substitute something else. A turtle has a hard shell, so it was a tank.”

Since there was no Comanche word for machine gun it became “sewing machine,” Chibitty noted, “because of the noise the sewing machine made when my mother was sewing.” Hitler, he said, was “posah-tai-vo,” or “crazy white man.”

There are no other words in his language to describe a bomber aircraft, so they said, “Daddy and I went fishing and we cut that catfish open and he’s full of eggs. Well, that bomber was up there just like this catfish, it’s full of eggs, too, so we called it a pregnant airplane.”

“We got so we could send any message, word for word, letter for letter,” Chibitty said. “The Navajos did the same thing in the Pacific during World War II and the Choctaw used their language during World War I. There were other code talkers from other tribes, but if they didn’t train like the Comanche and Navajos, how could they send a message like we did? If they made a slight mistake, instead of saving lives, it could have cost a lot of lives.”

In 1989, the French government honored the Comanche code talkers, including Chibitty , by presenting them the “Chevalier of the National Order of Merit.” Chibitty has also received a special proclamation from the governor of Oklahoma. In 2001, Congress passed legislation authorizing the presentation of gold medals to Native Americans who served as code talkers during foreign conflicts.

“I felt I was doing something that the military wanted us to do and we did to the best of our ability, not only to save lives, but to confuse the enemy by talking in the Comanche language,” he said. “We felt we were doing something that could help win the war.”

Brownlee asked him if the Comanche language is written and Chibitty said, “There’s a book, but you’ve got to be awfully damn smart to read it. It’s not like alphabets, you have to learn the phonetics to pronounce the words.” The aging code talker then sang Silent Night in the Comanche language.

Chibitty said when he attended Indian school in the 1920s, teachers became angry with him because he was speaking the Comanche language. “When we got caught talking Indian, we got punished,” he noted. “I told my cousin that they’re trying to make little white boys out of us,” he said.

After joining the Army years later, he told his cousin, “They tried to make us quit talking Indian in school, now they want us to talk Indian.”

The retired glazier visits schools to tell the youngsters about what code talkers did and how they did it. He said officials at Comanche headquarters near Lawton, Okla., are trying to preserve the language by teaching it to children.

“The service you and your buddies provided turned out to be invaluable,” Brownlee told the aging veteran. “You had this way of speaking that nobody could translate. The way you used your language was of such great advantage to your country.”

Before returning home to Tulsa, Okla., Chibitty spent some time with researchers at the U.S. Army Center for Military History for oral history sessions. The Army wants to preserve the history of the Comanche code talkers and Chibitty is the last one to tell the story from first-hand experience.

http://www.defenselink.mil/utility/printitem.aspx?print=http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=16523

World War II Comanche Code Talker Laid to Rest – July 29, 2005

By Rudi Williams American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2005 – When Charles “Charlie” J. Chibitty, the last World War II Comanche code talker, was buried July 26, a friend wrote in the eulogy, “Charlie’s life has no foreshadowing or ending. As long as wind blows, his life and legacy will continue to twist and turn along courses only wild horses know.”

Charles Chibitty, the last surviving World War II Comanche code talker, told Pentagon officials that teachers at the Indian school near Lawton, Okla., became angry with him for speaking the Comanche language in the early 1920s, then the Army wanted Comanches to use their language as a code during World War II. Chibitty died July 20 in Tulsa, Okla. He was 83. He was invited to the Pentagon three times — in 1992, 1999 and 2002 — in honor of his service to the nation as a World War II code talker. He, along with 16 other Comanche Indians, was part of an Army company of code talkers who befuddled the Germans during the invasion of the beaches of Normandy, France.

During his 2002 Pentagon visit, Chibitty said his unit hit Utah Beach in Normandy “the first or second day after D-Day.” His first radio message was sent to another code talker on an incoming boat. Translated into English, it said: “Five miles to the right of the designated area and five miles inland, the fighting is fierce and we need help.”

“We were trying to let them know where we were so they wouldn’t lob no shells on us,” he explained with a chuckle. “I was with the 22nd Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division. We talked Indian and sent messages when need be. It was quicker to use telephones and radios to send messages, because Morse code had to be decoded and the Germans could decode them. We used telephones and radios to talk Indian, then wrote it in English and gave it to the commanding officer.”

The Comanche Indians frustrated enemy code breakers by translating Army messages into their native language. The enemy never broke the code.

Chibitty enlisted in the Army in January 1941. He earned the World War II Victory Medal, European Theater of Operations Victory Medal with five bronze stars, Europe-African Middle East Campaign Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. In 1989, the French government honored the Comanche code talkers by presenting them the Chavalier of the National Order of Merit.

He was presented the Knowlton Award, created by the Military Intelligence Association, in 1995 to recognize significant contributions to military efforts. In April 2003, Chibitty attended the dedication ceremony for a monument to Choctaw and Comanche code talkers of World War I and World War II at Camp Beuregard in Pineville, La., where he trained during World War II. When he visited the Pentagon in 1992, then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney presented him a certificate of appreciation for his service to the country. Chibitty also received a special proclamation from the governor of Oklahoma, who honored him for his contributions to that state and the nation.

When Chibitty visited the Pentagon in November 2002, he donned his feathered Indian chief’s headgear and offered a prayer in the Pentagon Chapel for those killed in the terrorist attack on the building. The aging World War II code talker then went to nearby Arlington National Cemetery and placed a wreath and offered an Indian prayer at the Tomb of the Unknowns. His 2002 visit included a meeting with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Before returning home to Tulsa, Chibitty spent some time with researchers at the U.S. Army Center for Military History for oral history sessions.

“Laying the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns really meant a lot to him,” Chibitty’s adopted daughter, Carrie V. Wilson of Fayetteville, Ariz., said during a telephone interview.

“When he talked about his code talking days, he always said he wished that all the other code talkers could have gotten the awards, attention and recognition that he did,” said Wilson, a cultural resource consultant. “But by the time they really recognized the Comanche code talkers, most of them were dead.”

“He never thought about any of the awards without thinking about all the others who had gone before him,” Wilson noted. Pointing out that Chibitty was a traditional Comanche speaker, Wilson said his death is a huge loss to the Comanche community. “He tried to teach Comanche to whomever showed an interest in it,” she noted.

“He was a big powwow Indian, and he took me into his family more than 35 years ago,” said Wilson, a Quapaw Indian, who is a former Miss Indian Oklahoma and a Quapaw tribal princess. “He adopted me, and put his daughter’s clothes on me, and took me out to a big powwow in Tulsa. He told everybody that he gave me permission to wear Comanche clothes because he’d taken me into his family as his daughter.”

Wilson said she has many fond memories of Chibitty, including going to powwow dances with him and his brother. Both of them were nationally known for their Indian championship dancing. “When he and his brother and other Comanches came out onto the dance floor, they looked like royalty,” she said. “They were always recognized in the Indian community as championship dancers.

“We’d laugh and tease, and he was always fun to be around,” Wilson said. “But an important thing is that he was always there for anyone who needed help, whether they had problems with drinking or just needed someone to talk to. He was always available to listen to them and give advice, or be a friend.

“Every night before he went to bed, he’d sit on the edge of his bed and pray,” she noted. “He was a very sincere person. He knew what war was about and how precious life is. And, he believed that education is one of the most important things.”

Chibitty’s son, a promising attorney, was killed in a car accident in 1982, and his daughter died about 10 years later, Wilson said. “After that, his wife died,” she noted. “So my role as a daughter became more real. Before his wife died, she told me to take care of him – I tried.”

In addition to Wilson, Chibitty is survived by two grandsons, Chebon Chibitty and Acey Chibitty, and another adopted daughter, Lacey Chibitty, who reside in Tulsa. He also leaves behind a number of nieces and nephews.

Musical tributes included the Kricket Rhoads Connywerdy, Comanche Sovo drum, Comanche hymns at the graveside. Chibitty was given full military honors, including a 21-gun salute by the Fort Sill Honor Team.

“They sang the Comanche code talkers’ song, which is a beautiful song, as they were putting him into the ground,” Wilson said. The Comanche Indian Veterans Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 577, American Legion Post 1, Masonic Rights and Millennium Lodge 543 attended his funeral.

Above: Charles Chibitty offers an Indian prayer at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery during a Nov. 5, 2002, visit to the site. Photo by Rudi Williams.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Chibitty

Charles ChibittyNovember 20, 1921July 20, 2005 was a Comanche code talker who used his native language to relay messages for the Allies during World War II. Chibitty, and 15 other Comanches had been recruited by the U.S. military for this purpose since Comanche was a language that was entirely unknown to the Germans, who were unable to decipher it. The Navajos performed a similar duty in the Pacific War.

Chibitty was born on November 20, 1921, in a tent 16 miles west of Lawton, Oklahoma. He attended high school at the Haskell Indian School in Lawrence, Kansas and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1941. He served in the Army’s Fourth Signal Company in the 4th Infantry Division. He earned the World War II Victory Medal, the European Theater of Operations Victory Medal with five bronze stars, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

In 1989, Chibitty and the other two surviving code talkers – Roderick Red Elk and Forrest Kassanavoid – were presented with the Chevalier of the Ordre National du Mérite by the French government. Chibitty’s work — and that of the other Comanches who served in Europe — was not recognized by the U.S. government until 1999, when he received the Knowlton Award from The Pentagon, which recognizes outstanding intelligence work. By the time this recognition came around, Chibitty was the only surviving Comanche code talker.

In interviews with the media he would name all of his Comanche colleagues, so that they would not be forgotten. They were Larry Saupitty, Willie Yackeschi, Morris Sunrise, Perry Noyobad, Haddon Codynah, Robert Holder, Clifford Ototivo, Forrest Kassanavoid, Roderick Red Elk, Simmons Parker, Melvin Permansu, Ellington Mihecoby and Elgin Red Elk.

He died on July 20, 2005 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

http://www.vajoe.com/blog/2007/08/13/history-is-our-stories-army-code-talkers/

http://www.scottishrite.org/web/journal-files/Issues/sep-oct05/cisep-oct.htm

Charles Chibitty was presented the Knowlton Award, created by the Military Intelligence Association, in 1995 to recognize significant contributions to military efforts. In April 2003, Chibitty attended the dedication ceremony for a monument to Choctaw and Comanche code talkers of World War I and World War II at Camp Beauregard in Pineville, La., where he trained during World War II. When he visited the Pentagon in 1992, then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney presented him a certificate of appreciation for his service to the country. Chibitty also received a special proclamation from the governor of Oklahoma, who honored him for his contributions to that state and the nation.

Bro. Chibitty was Raised a Master Mason on October 26, 1951, in Petroleum Lodge No. 474 in Tulsa, which merged with Millennium Lodge No. 543. He joined the Guthrie Scottish Rite in 1954, and affiliated with the Valley of Tulsa in 1974. Bro. Chibitty received his 50-year membership award from the Valley of Tulsa in 2004. He is survived by two adopted daughters, Carrie V. Wilson and Lacey Chibitty, two grandsons, Chebon Chibitty and Acey Chibitty, and a number of nieces and nephews.

AFRTS Video Reports: http://www.defenselink.mil/images/video.gifNative American ‘Code Talker’ honored at the Pentagon

http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=43012

Veteran Recalls Navajo Code Talkers’ War in the Pacific

By Cpl. Cullen James, USA Special to American Forces Press Service

FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz., Dec. 6, 1999 – America’s World War II island-hopping campaign in the Pacific was about to start in 1942, and the U.S. military still didn’t have something it desperately needed — a communications code the Japanese couldn’t break.

Then, Philip Johnston had a revolutionary idea: Use the native language of the Navajo Indians. Johnston, the son of a missionary to the Navajos, was one of the few outsiders who could speak the tribe’s tongue fluently. The language is unique to the Navajos and had no written form at that time, so a person who didn’t know the oral vocabulary was helpless.

Johnston tried several times to convince the Navy his idea had merit, but failed. “It was a call to then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt that finally convinced the Navy to give his idea a shot,” said John Goodluck Sr., a Marine Corps Navajo code talker during the war.

For the test, he said, the military set radios 300-400 yards apart and sent coded messages using both Navajo code talkers and regular Morse code machines. “The code talkers deciphered the message in under a minute, the machine took an hour,” Goodluck said. After military approval, the Navajo council had to decide whether to support the idea.

“Everyone on the council was for it except for one. They slept on it for a night and decided to do it — they said it was good and important to support it,” he said. Goodluck and others went to Camp Pendleton, Calif., for Marine Corps basic training and code- talking school and then headed to the Pacific. Eventually, 379 code talkers would serve.

“Some say there were 400, but many failed,” Goodluck said. “You had to understand both Navajo and English.”

Code talkers’ messages were strings of seemingly unrelated Navajo words. They would translate each word into English, and then decipher the message by using only the first letter of each English word. For example, several Navajo words could be used to represent the letter “a” — “wol-la-chee” (ant), “be-la-sana” (apple) and “tse-nill” (ax). The code was unbreakable so long as an eavesdropper didn’t know the oral vocabulary.

While the Navajos used more than one word to represent letters, about 450 common military terms had no equivalent and were assigned code words. For example, “division” was “ashih-hi” (salt); “America” was “Ne-he-mah” (Our mother); “fighter plane” was “da-he-tih-hi” (hummingbird); “submarine” became “besh-lo” (iron fish); and “tank destroyer” was “chay-da-gahi-nail-tsaidi” (tortoise killer).

Just by speaking their language, the Navajos could easily transmit information on tactics and troop movements, orders and other vital battlefield communications over telephones and radios. “We were always on the radio. We would see a ship or airplane and tell them what we saw,” Goodluck said.

Goodluck said he served in the 3rd Marine Division from March 1943 to December 1945 and participated in the invasions of Guadalcanal and Bougainville in the Solomon Islands, Guam and Iwo Jima.

After the war, Goodluck returned to Arizona and worked for the U.S. Public Health Service as a truck driver, ambulance driver and translator for English-speaking physicians on the reservations. “They didn’t have doctors or clinics on the reservations when I first started. The nurses had to carry these huge bags and would give the shots to people in the areas we visited,” he recalled.

The Department of Defense officially and openly honored its Native American code talkers in 1992. The services enlisted code talkers from many tribes during the war. While their purpose was a kind of open secret then, their contributions were still largely unknown to the public. Now, however, the Navajo code talker exhibit is a regular stop on the Pentagon tour.

Cpl. Cullen James is a staff writer for the Scout newspaper at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

http://marine73110.tripod.com/id20.html

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Charles Joyce Chibitty
1921 – 2005
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Charles Joyce Chibitty, 83 of Tulsa, ,Oklahoma, departed us on July 20, 2005.

He passed on after battling a long illness. he was the last of the Comanche Code Talkers from World War II. He was also a retired glass worker. He was very proud to be a World War II veteran and Native American.

Charles enjoyed speaking about both, especially to younger generations. He traveled across the U.S. to speak about what he had done in the war. He was preceded in death by his wife, Elaine; son, Sonny and a daughter, Pam. He will be remembered by many as a true hero, great dad and very dear friend. He is survived by his granddaughter, Lacey, which he has been raising as his own daughter for the past 13 years; two grandsons. Charlie was presented with the Knowlton Award in recognition of his significant contributions to military intelligence efforts. Along with16 other Comanche Indians, Charlie was part of the Army’s 4th Signal Company, also known as the Code Talkers. The unit was instrumental during the Normandy invasion. After attending Haskell Indian School at Lawrence, Kan., he enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 1941. Cpl. Chibitty earned the World War II Victory Medal, the European Theater of Operations – 5th Bronze Star – Victory Medal, the Europe African Middle East Campaign Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal. He was also a champion boxer in the Army. In 1989, the French Government honored the Comanche Code Talkers by presenting them the “Chevalier of the National Order of Merit.” In 1992, former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney presented Charlie a certificate of appreciation for his service to the country. Chibitty has also received a special proclamation from the Governor of Oklahoma who honored him for his contribution both to Oklahoma and the United States. He was also nationally known for his Indian championship dancing.

Eulogy for a Veteran ; Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there, I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the mornings hush, I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight. I.. am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die.

My Impression of Charles Chibitty

- By Geoffrey Armstrong Wright – My impression of him is fragmented. But I think that I found the central fragment, the core of his character. It seems as though, sitting down to a symphony, I heard only the finale. What fascinates me is that Charlie’s life has no foreshadowing of ending. As long as wind -’blows, his life and legacy will continue to twist and turn along courses only wild horses know. He is the result of love, tears, tradition, change, freedom, exile and most of all, pain. The loss of one’s wife is the loss of one’s whole present self. The loss of one’s children is the loss that was never meant to be. Charlie has survived both. I cannot, imagine how he escapee! depression. He still smiles. Smiles more than. I do, and I am only twenty-one; have all life and roads before rne, and -:. no one I love has died. The spirit of the wind truly abides with him. He spends his days like the wind spends itself: wild and with flair. He is, for all intents and purposes, though no offense is intended, a showoff. It seems he needs to be. Everything an average man would share with his wife and boast to his son, he flashes to neighbors and acquaintances in snips of newspapers and snatches of “that was when….” The center of his character is transformation. In this one man, this single Indian, there is vintage Comanche blood, and a modern American standard of living. There is the sediment of age and a volcanic youth embodied in his adopted daughter. Dominating the horizon, there is a burial mound. But by its side and next to his heart, there is a stone – and it is rolled away. Charlie Chibitty, like the wind, is just passing through…and might just circle around again.

Funeral Services for Charles “Charlie” Chibitty

As representatives of the YL-37 Group, Gerald and I joined the many hundreds to the entry of the Chapel as flute music played to sign the guest book outside. We made our way inside with standing room only for the Memorial services for a good father, brother, patriot and the last Comanche Code Talker (Saw you woo kee) Charlie Chibitty. Standing next to Lisa Pahsetopah the ministers wife we reminisced a few moments on Charlie and his good sense of humor who was always ready for a joke. I told her of his blessing of YL-37 and meeting the Marines of Squadron HMM-362 the Ugly Angels and she told me of him being a mentor for her husband and there time in the TV series Walker Texas Ranger and the many powwows’ they were together. The room fell silent as Mike Pahsetopah began by thanking all who came to show their respect for such a hero. Many in Native American regalia from fancy beadwork to the Comanche princess hi full regalia they came. Comanche members of the congregation sang two tribal hymns followed by two Kiowa hymns. An announcement was made that if there were any other tribes present they were welcome to sing also. A creek song was sung. A drum was brought in and an old friend who had known Charlie since 1940 led the drum group as they sang songs that Charlie had asked to be sung many times. Everyone stood as a True Memorial Song began followed by a Chief Song and I’ll See You Again. Two tribal members brought a Sovo drum and gourd rattle forward and two songs were sung. Two medicine men in war bonnets made their way up the isle with cedar smoke to purify and cleanse the coffin and the immediate family starting with his adopted granddaughter Lacey and grandsons. A song written for Comanche Code talkers was sung by Kricket Rhoads at Lacey’s request as this song was sung many times by the two girls for Charlie. Mike gave the eulogy stating the Charlie was born N. of Lawton and had 3 brothers and 2 sisters. He went to Chilocco Indian School and enjoyed Boxing and continued to box after enlisting in the Army in 1941. Around the drum another song was sung entitled Dressed and looking our Best Fancy dancers were asked to join in. About ten dancers answered his call and came forward to dance. What a great site to see, as they were some of the best. Charlie was also a fancy dancer who preformed many times in this category at powwows. A message by Mike continued as he once again told of Charlie being his mentor who taught him many things one being the correct protocol in entering the powwow arena. He quoted many scripture verses starting with John 11 Verse 24. John 14 Verse 1-6 He said that Charlie belonged to the Native American Church. A prayer was said and Mike encouraged the congregation to pray for the family and practice 2nd Timothy 4-7. Paula Chibitty came forward and talked about her grandfathers all being in the service, as was she from 1996-2000. She said that she knew he was in a better place and was at peace. She was happy to carry such a well-respected name. Wallace Coffee, Chairman of the Comanche tribe introduced all the Chibitty family which were many in number and told about them coming from the line of Ten Bears. He stated that of the 17 Comanche code talkers 3 were discharged and never served. He talked about a Monument in Lawton erected to honor the Comanche Code talkers. A frequent saying of Charlie’s was” He wished all who served as Comanche Code Talkers could be with him” as honors were later bestowed upon him. Wallace thanked all non Indian Veterans who were in attendance. Jesse Burns -Scottish rite did the honors, as Charlie was a member of the Masonic Lodge in Tulsa. The Comanche singers sang many songs as the congregation viewed the body. Tune passed and the Chapel remained full as many came from outside. As we made our way single file up the isle the voices of the singers filled our hearts with sadness as the native songs could be heard with an occasional baby cry that seemed to echo our creators plan for us, WE go on. Many, many braved the near 100 degree weather to follow the hearse while others walked to the Veteran Field of Honor as he was laid to rest with a Comanche color guard, 21 gun salute, taps and War Mothers song along with Code Talker songs on the drum accompanied by singers. 4 Hours passed quickly as we made our way to go as far as we could and say goodbye with the last handshake. -A fistful of dirt taken from the grave to sprinkle on his casket.- Wado – Thank You Charlie, We will never forget you and you will be forever in our memories a reminder of the day you made your way to Inola to bless YL-37 the old girl who has a soul and meet other brave men the Marines of HMM-362 the Ugly Angels. Oh

- Lillian Hail

http://osdir.com/ml/science.cryptography.bletchley-park/2005-07/msg00031.html

OBITUARY – Charles Chibitty

THE TIMES
July 28, 2005

OBITUARY - Charles Chibitty
November 20, 1921 - July 20, 2005

Comanche code-talker whose messages in his native
tongue baffled German attempts to read American
signals on D-Day.

WHEN the US Army sought a code for its forces in
the North West Europe theatre that the Germans
would be unable to decipher, it turned to a group
of Comanches of whom Charles Chibitty was the last
survivor. Like the much larger numbers of Navajos,
who performed a similar function for US forces in
the Pacific theatre, Chibitty and his select group
of colleagues provided a secure medium for trans-
mitting messages between HQs and units which
totally baffled the enemy.

One of a number of Uto-Aztecan languages scattered
across the western United States and northern
Mexico, the Comanche tongue was ideal as a secret
code. By the outbreak of war, after decades
of proscription by the US authorities, the
language was spoken by very few people - today only
800 speak it - and it had no written alphabet.
- One was not adopted until 1994.

From the moment the Americans landed on Utah and
Omaha beaches German specialists monitoring signal
traffic were mystified by the sounds they heard
coming over their receivers, and remained so during
the rest of the campaign, as they vainly tried to
crack the American  "code". They were never to know,
for example, that the sound which they heard as
"posah tai vo"  was the Comanche for â"crazy white
man", and referred to their supreme warlord,
Adolf Hitler.

Charles Chibitty was born in 1921 near Medicine
Park, Oklahoma.  From the late 1800s onwards there
had been discrimination against native American
languages and, like many Comanche children before
him, he was educated in a boarding school, Haskell
Indian School,in Lawrence, Kansas. There he was
required to speak only English, and like his
schoolmates he was punished if he did otherwise.

This atmosphere changed when war came. The use
of native American languages as codes in wartime
was not new. In the First World War Choctaw had
been used as a means of rendering messages
unreadable by the enemy, and had played an
important role in the Meuse-Argonne battle of
September-October 1918.

In January 1941, before the Japanese attack on
Pearl Harbour had led to America's direct
involvement in the conflict, Chibitty was
one of 20 Comanches from Oklahoma who enlisted
and were selected for special communications
duty in the European theatre.

They were trained at Fort Benning, Georgia,
where they compiled a vocabulary of military
terms. Since the Choctaw language was not rich
in the vocabulary of modern warfare, Chibitty
and his comrades had to improvise. Thus, since
Comanche had no word for "tank", the code-
talkers, as they were known, substituted the
word "turtle". For "Âmachinegun" they decided
on "sewing machine", while"bomber"
became  "pregnant aeroplane".

As Allied forces built up in the vast armed
camp England had become by early 1944,
Chibitty and his colleagues crossed the Atlantic
and prepared to go ashore on the Normandy beaches
on D-Day. For the assault, Chibitty was one of
the two Comanches who were attached to each of
the regiments of the 4th Infantry Division, which
was commanded by General Joseph "Lightning Joe"
Collins.

This landed on Utah Beach on the right flank of
the Allied landings, and Chibitty sent the first
Commanche message on D-Day which, in English,
read: â"Five miles to the right of the designated
area and five miles inland the fighting is fierce,
and we need help.".../snip/

...Charles Chibitty, Comanche code talker, was
born on November 20, 1921.  

He died on July 20, 2005, aged 83.



http://www.nmai.si.edu/education/codetalkers/html/chapter7.html

Volunteers like Mr. Chibitty were key to the U.S. and allied forces’ success from Normandy to Berlin —Arthur L. Money, Assistant Secretary of Defense – The Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia, 1999

Comanche Code Talker Charles Chibitty attending the dedication of the Comanche Nation Memorial to the Comanche Code Talkers in Lawton, OK.

Eventually, Charles Chibitty and the other Comanche Code Talkers were recognized around the world for their contributions. Charles was honored at the Pentagon on three occasions. He was awarded special recognition from the Secretary of Defense and the Governor of Oklahoma. He received the Knowlton Award, a special honor from the Military Intelligence Association. He was invited to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers in a ceremony at Arlington Cemetery. He was invited to speak at countless gatherings from small community centers to large national events. When he spoke, he always mentioned his fellow Comanche Code Talkers. He wished that they had received the same awards and recognition that he did, but by the time the recognition for Comanche Code Talkers began, many of them had already passed away. Charles was the last surviving Comanche code talker at the time of his death in 2005. Geoffrey Wright wrote this about him: “Charlie’s life has no foreshadowing or ending. As long as wind blows, his life and legacy will continue to twist and turn along courses only wild horses know.” – “YL-37 Flies Again: Charles Joyce Chibitty,” in YL-37 Group Foundation Inc., 2005

[Charles sings] That’s the Comanche “Code Talker Song.” And then when we was all living when they sang it, we would always get together and dance and boy, they all come out. Now, I’m the only one living.—Charles Chibitty, Comanche Code Talker, National Museum of the American Indian interview, 2004

BOOK:

The Comanche Code Talkers of World War II

By William C. Meadows

http://books.google.com/books?id=PwVFeIF6K-IC&pg=PA113&lpg=PA113&dq=Charles+J+Chibitty&source=web&ots=hx3iqfhcit&sig=UlE4hxfw4hMSNgp1xDP4ldhmt6s&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=6&ct=result

//bymyart.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/waving-flag.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Published in: on July 4, 2008 at 9:55 pm  Comments (9)  

Plains Madonna by Charles Banks Wilson

While attending the Annual Quapaw Tribal Pow Wow the weekend of July 4, 5, 6 & 7th in 1984, I purchased this program. Mary Beth Skye was the Head Lady Dancer at this event. The portrait on the front of the program was the beautiful and well-known portrait by Charles Banks Wilson of Mary Beth Skye, titled Plains Madonna. After the great honor of meeting both of them, they graciously signed my program.

Plains Madonna by Charles Banks Wilson
Plains Madonna by Charles Banks Wilson

Written on the inside cover:

Within the great Oklahoma Capitol Murals which crown the vaulted rotunda, is a buckskin dressed figure visitors have singled out for special attention and given the title the “Plains Madonna.” In the mural panel, Indian Immigration, the Oklahoma Artist, Charles Banks Wilson, has shown her in an attitude protective of her baby, however, others have seen more than this in the figure. She has become a symbol of motherhood through the ages.

In researching his murals among Oklahoma’s 63 Indian tribes, the artist considered many young women as possible models for the Indian mother. He finally selected Mary Beth Skye as having the most ideal features he had seen in his travels. Coincidentally, this full blood girl lived only a few miles from the artist’s home in Miami, Oklahoma. Her expressive dignity and ethnic beauty as captured in his art, will be an inspiration to millions in the years to come.

Indian Profile by Charles Banks Wilson
The Young Chief (…or sometimes called Indian Profile)
By Charles Banks Wilson

For a fun little flashback into the past, here is what was written on the back inside cover (in 1984) along with a list of the Head People.

Surprisingly few Oklahomans know the historical fact that this land, which became the State of Oklahoma, was originally owned by the Quapaw Indians. This tribe, the southern-most of the Sioux, also owned all of Arkansas, (a fact most Arkansans are aware of) and the rich western edge of Louisiana. Today only four pureblood Quapaw remain alive as survivors of this great tribe which was here first and was known and respected by explorers DeSoto and Marquette. The purebloods of all the tribes, who are fortunate to have any, represent the Indian heritage as does nothing else.

The four drawings of the Quapaw purebloods (featured in his “Search of the Purebloods” book) are a part of an ongoing project begun by Charles Banks Wilson in 1937. He began by drawing Indians of the tri-state area, later enlarging this phase of his varied art career to include drawings of over 200 representatives of American Indian tribes. Not since George Catlin in 1828 has any artist drawn so many tribes. An exhibition of 60 of the original sketches, drawn from life, “Search for the Purebloods”, has been touring Oklahoma and neighboring states under the sponsorship of the Stovall Museum, University of Oklahoma, and the Kerr Foundation. The current exhibition is to be expanded this year to include an additional 25 tribes and will be seen in other sections of the country.  (…as written in 1984)

Charles’ daughter, Carrie is a former Miss Indian Oklahoma. Her son, now nearing two, was the first Quapaw baby born in Arkansas in over 200 years. His wife, Edna, is a historian of the Quapaw tribe.

HEAD PEOPLE:

Head Lady Dancer: Mary Bootsie Skye Alexander of Norman, OK; Head Northern Dancer: Delilah Conner Whitaker, Sapulpa, OK, Quapaw-Seneca-Cayuga; Head Gourd Dancer: Rufus Squirrel, Wichita, KS; Head Singer: Troy Littleaxe, Bartlesville, OK, Shawnee; Head Man Dancer: Tony Shawnee, Tulsa, OK, Quapaw-Shawnee; Masters of Ceremonies: Charles Dawes, Ft. Smith, AR, Ottawa and Jake Whitecrow, Denver, CO, Quapaw-Seneca; Arena Directors were Charlie Blaylock and Bill Griffin.

Published in: on March 12, 2008 at 10:51 pm  Comments (3)  

To Woogee…

within-each-sunset.jpg

Your path was not without struggle.

But your keen-eyed spirit always saw the better parts.

My friend, you are seeing a new dawn now.

You dance before the Creator.

I catch glimpses of you in the brilliant colors of every sunset,

and in the midst of every grand scene of nature and life.

And I look to my own new dawn,

when we will once again dance together.

Cheryl Davis – Copyright 1994

 

Hebrew 10:24-25

woogie.jpg

Published in: on June 28, 2007 at 6:04 am  Comments (1)  

The Creator blesses me today…

The mountains circle their arms around me here.

The meadow provides a calm place through which a stream composes music.

The Creator blesses me today with a world that nourishes me.

I am thankful for the blessings.

Published in: on June 26, 2007 at 9:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Photo of me and Woogee

me_woogie.jpg

I am 5’3″….

He wasn’t tall in stature…

but Woogee was a giant of a man in heart & spirit!

Published in: on June 26, 2007 at 12:23 am  Comments (1)  

Wealth

I am wealthy when I
touch the earth around me,
when I know my roots,
and when I am grounded
in a culture that nourishes me.

Author Unknown

Published in: on June 11, 2007 at 7:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Woogee was friend to all…

He who wishes to accept & serve others…

will never be without friends.

Woogee had this incredible warm presence about him.  When he walked into a room, it didn’t matter how many people were there.  You always felt like he was there to see you.  People were drawn to him.  I remember walking through the airport with him, on our way to Florida to the Seminole Festival…  he was rather short in stature, but it was like I was walking with a giant.  All eyes would turn to him as we passed and he would make a point to speak to everyone.  He was always friendly and open to talking to anyone, no matter who they were.  I think he truly enjoyed people and was always very accepting of them.

He never seemed “old” to me.  I remember at one of the calendar signings, he came walking in with a boom box under his arm.  He walked over to his table, plopped it down, plugged it in and “cranked it up!”  He looked over at me, grinned and said, “I like Rock-n-Roll!”  He was so funny!

He told us a story one time about his truck….  he said a guy asked him, “Hey Woogee…. what would you do if someone stole your truck?”  Woogee said, “I’d run after him and yell – Hey!  Come back!  You forgot your wife!”  He had a good sense of humor.

He would always compliment you when he saw you… tell you you looked beautiful or something like that.  He used to tell Laura (Jerome Bushyhead’s wife at that time) that she looked beautiful and had “curves“…. and she said if she gained a little weight and ran into him, he would say “Hey, Laura, you’re one big curve!”  Ha!  He could say things like that and get away with it.   When Woogee passed on, Laura and I agreed that it would never be the same.  We said to each other, “Who is going to tell us we are beautiful now….

Woogee had a special spirit about him.

Published in: on June 10, 2007 at 10:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Charles Banks Wilson’s Sketches of Woogee and Eva – In Search of the Purebloods

Charles Banks Wilson

Charles Banks Wilson is a well-known Oklahoma artist known for his contribution to the Indian art world. Growing up with a blind grandmother, Wilson learned to interpret the details of life both verbally and artistically. Wilson has sought out the last of the “pure bloods” and captured them ‘forever’ in his lithographs and paintings.

This is the sketch of Eva that Charles Banks Wilson did, as published in his book, “In Search of the Purebloods” where he says of her, “I found her Comanche face reflecting a delightful personality. Of her it is said: She sings the old song.” She “did indeed” sing the old songs! He did an incredible job capturing her personality, I think. She was delightful and I will write more later about Eva.

Of Woogee, he said: “Rainmaker” was in his trailer, near Elgin, Okla. and 14 or more dogs were in the yard. A fine artist and Indian dancer. However, it often rains when he is at a powwow – and when it does people are apt to say, Woogie, go home!” I have written previously about how Woogee would be brought in to places suffering from drought… but rain and powwows don’t always go very good together and they would sure give Woogee a hard time when he showed up at a powwow with the rain!

The thing that I think Mr. Wilson best captured about Woogee was his inner strength and powerful pride. He was small in stature, but he resonated with such strong pride. He was a true warrior. Charles Banks Wilson portrays this well in his sketch of Woogee, perhaps more so than any other portrait I have ever seen of him.

 

 

 

I had the great pleasure of meeting Charles Banks Wilson at the QuaPaw Powwow one beautiful summer night. He was very gracious to me. He was accompanied by his family and a woman who is well known due to a portrait he painted of her. He is one of my favorite artists, and I have great respect for both him and his work. Mr. Wilson attended the Chicago Art Institute, a dream I had when I was young, but which “unfortunately” was never fulfilled. I was able to visit it though… for a day, with my “primitive” portfolio in hand… and with great hopes that one day “perhaps I could find a way to become an artist like those I saw that day! My journey did not include going to the great Chicago Art Institute for professional training, but “fortunately,” I did find another path... another way to achieve those dreams. Or maybe… perhaps it was the path that “chose me.”

The Quapaw Powwow is held on July 4th and it is the oldest Indian Powwow in the United States. For more than 130 years the celebration has been taking place and is well worth attending. It is one of my favorite powwows. It is at Beaver Springs State Park which is located about 3 miles from the Kansas state line.


Charles Banks Wilson – Biography

Few other artists have become so identified with their state as Oklahoma’s Charles Banks Wilson. He was a painter, printmaker, teacher, lecturer, historian, magazine and book illustrator. His work has been shown in over 200 exhibitions in this country and throughout the world. The permanent collections of major museums and galleries that contain his paintings and prints of Oklahoma life are some of the most renown in the world. These include New York’s Metropolitan Museum, Washington’s Library of Congress, The Corcoran Gallery, Oklahoma State Capital, and the Smithsonian.

When Charles Banks Wilson was born in 1918, his father was overseas fighting in World War I and his mother was visiting her parents in Arkansas. Despite the events surrounding his birth, Wilson grew up in Miami, Oklahoma, and today considers himself an Oklahoma native. Wilson’s thirst for art was reflected at an early age when he began drawing on virtually any flat and/or empty space including on the bottom of drawers, backs of pictures, and even under tables. In grade school, Wilson appeared in nine school plays and expressed his desire to be an actor. This notion changed however, under the influence of his father Charles B. Wilson – a professional trombone player. In the fifth grade Wilson began playing the trumpet, a hobby he would continue throughout high school. At this point in his education, Wilson took up drawing again. He started decorating various notebooks and blackboards in an attempt to improve his grades. His strategy proved successful, as after graduation Wilson was able to enroll at the Art Institute of Chicago. At the Art Institute, Wilson began a project whereupon he sketched portraits of numerous members of Oklahoma Indian tribes – a project that would soon become a lifelong artistic journey. While in Chicago, Wilson was also given an award from the Chicago Society of Lithographers and Etchers, and his work was added to the Art Institute collection as well.

In 1941, Wilson completed his education at the Art Institute. Afterwards during his return to Oklahoma, he attended a stomp dance fire at a Quapaw pow wow. Here he met Quapaw Indian Princess, Edna McKibben, the very woman Wilson would later marry the following year. Next, Wilson was called to New York City with a commission from the Associated American Artists. Here he illustrated his first book, The Hill, exhibited a portrait of his wife in a National Academy show, and had his “Freedom’s Warrior” lithograph shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

During the late 1940s, Wilson was kept busy with three one-man shows which took place at the Oklahoma City Art Center, the Amarillo Tri State Fair, and the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. Wilson also continued illustrating; working on over five books including Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, and completing a series of Will Rogers national calendars. Perhaps one of his greatest achievements came when the United States Senate selected four of Wilson’s paintings to be shown in 20 world capitals.

Commissioned by the Oklahoma State Legislature, Wilson completed life-size portraits of Will Rogers, Sequoyah, and Senator Robert S. Kerr in 1963 for the state capitol rotunda. These portraits were so successful that they led to a second commission in 1966 for a similar style portrait of Indian athlete, Jim Thorpe. The portrait was unveiled one year later by Elmer Manatwa, Chief of the Sac and Fox Indians, and celebrated with a large Indian pow wow on capitol grounds. Merely three years after, Wilson was commissioned yet again by the Oklahoma Legislature to complete four major murals depicting Oklahoma history for the state capitol – thus cementing his legacy as an Oklahoma Art treasure. Wilson has since been awarded with the Governor’s Art Award and inclusion into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

Published in: on June 10, 2007 at 12:28 am  Comments (2)  

Old Postcard Titled “Comanche Indians of Oklahoma”

This is an old postcard I found that I wanted to share…

woogie_postcard.jpg

Could this be our dear friend, Woogie?

Do you know?  Do you recognize anyone else?

Published in: on May 29, 2007 at 11:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Biography of George “Woogie” Watchetaker – All Music Guide

George “Woogie” Watchetaker

Active: ’30s, ’40s  -  Genre: World

Biography

A performer of powwow music as a vocalist, drummer, and award-winning fancy dancer, George “Woogie” Watchetaker was above all a spiritual leader for Comanche people. Watchetaker was a five-time world-champion fancy dancer, a style of American Indian dances regularly performed at powwows throughout the Indian nations. He was often involved in effective lobbying for recognition of Native Americans within his community, and in the ’90s, he helped spearhead the Crowell, OK, Chamber of Commerce decision to change the name of its annual spring festival to Cynthia Ann Parker Days in honor of the great female Comanche chief Cynthia Ann Parker, or Qanah Parker.

 ~ By Eugene Chadbourne,  All Music Guide

Posted @

http://www.answers.com/topic/george-woogie-watchetaker

Published in: on May 29, 2007 at 6:58 pm  Comments (6)  

An Interesting Exchange

Posted @

http://www.bluecorncomics.com/2007/02/medicine-man-heals-new-yorkers.html

BY

Newspaper Rock

  February 13, 2007

Medicine man heals New Yorkers

American Indian Chief Performs Healing Ceremony for Upper West Siders

A fragrant mix of smoky sage and red willow bark filled an Upper West Side meeting room that’s windows were covered with blankets and plastic sheeting and whose door jams were sealed with duct tape. Standing near the center of the room, an American Indian chief and medicine man, Harold “White Horse” Thompson, chanted and waved stone-filled rattles that pierce the darkness with streaks of light. About 30 men and women who had come to the Children of Life interfaith center sat around the chief. They had come to participate in an American Indian healing ceremony called a Lowampi.

A small but growing number of New Yorkers are embracing Mr. Thompson’s holistic healing philosophy and making periodic trips to meet with him in South Dakota. In November, some of his adherents paid for him to travel to New York City, and last week they brought him back for another two-week stint.  “It’s not about slowing down the pace of New York but bringing a different perspective on life and how we make decisions,” a resident of the East New York section of Brooklyn who is studying to become a Lakota medicine man, Omar Miller, said on Sunday. “New York needs this kind of energy.”  posted by Rob at 10:59 AM

3 Comments:

writerfella said…
Writerfella here –
Ordinarily, writerfella impugns no one’s faith or belief system, save for Tom Cruise’s slavish devotion to Scientology as writerfella is a science fiction writer and knows fully well the scam perpetrated by the Technocrat L. Ron Hubbard. But the ‘Native medicine on demand’ racket is nothing new. True Native healers accept no money or other recompense other than meals, lodging, and transport. This is a prime example of Rob’s stating that Americans do not regard contemporary Native Americans as real people but rather as mystical and ethereal creatures of past history. The ones that writerfella knows as genuine perform their rites and ceremonials for the benefit of all, not merely for an enclave and a paying one, at that. George ‘Woogie’ Watchetaker, a Comanche healer, made quite a name for himself in the 1960s and ’70s by traveling nationwide to do his Comanche rain ceremonies. It seemed a grand show and it attracted people by the hundreds to witness the ceremonials. But what history and news cameras recorded was that ‘Woogie’ never failed to draw rain, no matter how long it had been since it had rained in a given area. Yet, ‘Woogie’ never accepted payment but merely asked for his meals, travel, and lodging.He was a close friend of writerfella’s parents and, before he went on his first such personal appearance, he came to the Bates Motel to speak with writerfella’s mother. “Agatha,” he said, “I want to do this, but am I doing wrong or hurt to the beliefs of our people?” Agatha laughed and said, “No, if for no more reason than you will find out what the White man believes and what he disbelieves. And you’ll get to see parts of our land that you might not see otherwise. Just stay true to what you know and believe, and it will all come out right.” Thus counseled, ‘Woogie’ became a Native man in demand and, surely enough, he saw many parts of the United States that he might have been unable to see on his own.
Sometime soon, writerfella may relate how he brought rain and thunderstorms to Seattle in the summer of 1973, using the same Native knowledge as did ‘Woogie’.
Examine any such reports with those criteria in mind, and then you will know. Yeagley’s gonna be jealous because he picked the wrong game to pursue…
All Best
Russ Bates
‘writerfella’
10:07 PM  
AJ CHIBITTY said…
ALL DO RESPECT TO YOU ROB, BUT A TRUE NATIVE MEDICINE MAN NEVER CHARGES TO HEAL. THAT IN OUR CULTURE IS LIKE GOD CHARGING TO LET THE BLIND SEE IT JUST DON’T HAPPEN. OUR BENEFITS ARE TO SEE THE JOY AND POSITIVE OUTCOME AFTER A HEALING.
MY GRANDFATHER THE LATE GEORGE WOOGIE WATCHETAKER NEVER HAD THE PEOPLE PAY FOR HIS SERVICES. ALSO BEING A MEDICINE MAN ISN’T FOR A SHOW AND TELL PARTY IT IS TO BE TAKEN SERIOUS AND USED FOR ONLY THE HEALING OF A PERSON(S) OR THE HEALING OF OUR MOTHER EARTH.
SEE MY GRANDPA WAS TAUGHT AND LEARNED THE WAYS OF A MEDICINE MAN ALSO HE HAD TO MAKE SACRIFICE TOWARD THIS HONOR. I REMEMBER HIM TELLING STORIES A RELATIVE RECORDED, HE SAID HIS LIFE WAS AT A POINT WHEN HE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT HE WANTED TO DO WITH IT. HE DRANK AND SMOKE A LOT ACTUALLY TOO MUCH. WELL ONE DAY HE ASKED THE GREAT SPIRIT TO GUIDE HIM TO HIS DESTINY AND SHOW HIM HIS PURPOSE. WELL THAT NIGHT MY GRANDPA SEEN A SPIRIT AND HE ASKED HIM WHAT HE WANTED. THIS SPIRIT TOLD HIM HE WAS TO BE A MEDICINE MAN BUT BEFORE HE COULD DO THIS HE HAD TO HEAL HIMSELF. MY GRANDPA ASKED WHAT DO I DO TO ACCOMPLISH THAT. THE SPIRIT TOLD HIM HE HAD TO GIVE UP SMOKING AND STOP DRINKING. THAT ONE NIGHT MY GRANDPA COLD TURKEYED. HE BROKE ALL HIS CIGARETTES AND THREW THEM AWAY. HE POURED OUT THE REST OF HIS LIQUOR AND TRASHED THE BOTTLES. HE THEN SET OUT ON THE FIRST VISION QUEST OF THIS NEW CENTURY. HE SAID TO HIS MOM I WILL NOT SHAME MY TRIBE ON THIS QUEST IF I DO NOT SEE ANYTHING I WILL NOT RETURN, BUT IF I DO HAVE MYSELF A VISION I WILL RETURN AND SHARE IT WITH MY TRIBESMAN. HE SET OUT ON THIS VISION QUEST AND HE WAS GONE FOR THREE NIGHTS AND YET DIDN’T HAVE NO VISION. ON THE FOURTH DAY HE SAID IF I DON’T HAVE MYSELF A VISION TONIGHT I WILL START MY TRACK AWAY FROM THIS PLACE AND AWAY FROM MY TRIBE COME DAY BREAK TOMORROW. WELL THAT NIGHT HE SEEN THAT NIGHT MY GRANDPA SEEN A VISION THAT TOLD HIM HE WAITED LONGER THAN ANYONE ELSE MEANING HE WAS DETERMINED. SEE USUALLY MEN WHO GO ON A VISION QUEST WAIT THREE DAYS BUT NO MY GRANDPA WAITED FOUR. WELL HE SAW HIMSELF AN OLDER GENTLEMAN HEALING. HE SAID I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WAS HEALING OR WHO BUT I KNEW I HAD TO BE A MEDICINE MAN. SO HE CAME BACK AND TALKED TO THE ELDERS. HE TOLD THE ELDERS WHAT HE HAD SEEN. THE ELDERS ALL AGREED THAT HE SEEN THE VISION OF A VISIONARY THAT THESE ISION’S CAN NOT BE MADE UP. THEY ALLOWED HIM TO LEARN AND SACRIFICE WITH THE ELDEST OF THE TRIBES MEDICINE MEN. YOU SEE ROB MY GRANDPA WENT THROUGH AL OT JUST TO BECOME A MEDICINE MAN AND FOR SOME PERSON TO TRY TO MAKE THIS A WHITMAN’S SHOW AND TELL PARTY IS A LITTLE DEGRADING AND VERY UNETHICAL TOO. I DON’T ASK FOR YOU TO APOLOGIZE OR FOR SYMPATHY JUST I ASK FOR STORIES LIKE THIS TO NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY CAUSE MANY NATIVES WILL READ THIS STORY AND BOYCOTT BUSINESS’ NAMED IN THE STORY.
TO YOU MISTER WRITERFELLA MY GRANDFATHER BROUGHT RAIN TO WICHITA FALLS, TEXAS TWICE ONCE IN 1971 AND ANOTHER IN 1982 AS WELL AS MANY OTHER PLACES IN THE USA. I JUST THOUGHT FOR FUTURE REFERENCE YOU MAY FIND IT USEFUL TO SLAP SOMEONE WITH THIS PIECE OF INFO TOO.

 WELL PUT, AJ Chibitty!

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Woogie (George Smith) WatchetakerComanche, 1916 – 1993
Eagle Dancers
, n.d.,  Tempera on board
21 1/2 x 29 1/2″
Purchase, Richard H. and Adeline J. Fleischaker Collection, 1996

 

Published in: on May 29, 2007 at 6:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Oklahoma Capitol With Statue, “As Long As The Waters Flow”

REMEMBERING A MOMENT IN HISTORY

Oklahoma Capitol With Statue,  “As Long As The Waters Flow

Allan Houser’s monumental tribute to Native Americans, As Long As the Waters Flow, was dedicated on June 4, 1989. Among those in attendance was legendary Comanche medicine man George Woogee Watchetaker, traditional Indian flute players Doc Tate Nevaquaya and Woodrow Haney, as well as Governor Henry Bellmon. Watchetaker led a prayer of dedication and conducted a native ritual by use of smoke from burning cedar chips and sage. The traditional elements of the dedication held true to the powerful meaning of legacy within the statue. As Long As the Waters Flow refers to President Andrew Jackson’s vow to Native Americans that they shall posses their land “as long as the grass grows and the rivers run.” The fifteen-foot bronze statue exudes Houser’s artistic style. Lacking intricate representative detailing, the large solid planes among the surface denote strength within an everlasting presence. Her traditional attire is complete with an eagle feather fan, which is considered a sacred symbol among Native American cultures.

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 Allan (far right) at 1989 dedication of “As Long as the Waters Flow” at the Oklahoma State Capitol Building.

Published in: on May 29, 2007 at 6:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Florida or Bust!

Woogie and I traveled together to a show in Florida!  This one will make you laugh!  Story will be posted soon!

Published in: on May 25, 2007 at 5:36 am  Leave a Comment  

How Woogie and I met!

Story Coming Soon!  Check back!

Published in: on May 25, 2007 at 5:34 am  Comments (1)  

George “Woogie” & Eva (Tooahimpah) Watchetaker

Within Each Sunset

Within Each Sunset by Cheryl Davis

I created “Within Each Sunset” to honor my dear Comanche friend and fellow artist, George “Woogie” Watchetaker. I wrote the following as a companion to the painting:

His path was not without struggle.

But his keen-eyed spirit always saw the better parts.

My friend is seeing a new dawn now.

He dances before the creator.

I catch glimpses of him in the brilliant colors of every sunset…

and in the midst of every grand scene of nature and life.

And I look to my own new dawn, when we will once again dance together.

Woogie was of the Comanche Tribe and was a Chief, not by election but by stature;  he was a Spiritual Leader;  he was a medicine man; rain maker; Indian flute maker and flute player; artist; a seven-time national champion and three-time world champion Fancy War Dancer; singer and a good friend to all who met or knew him.

Woogie had a very distinct style as a dancer.  He once told me he didn’t go for all the modern “fancy feathers & frills” that a lot of young dancers wear.  He said he liked to stay more traditional and that he danced “strong.”  He flexed as he spoke.  Woogie liked to impress the ladies.  Many say to this day that Woogie was the best dancer they had ever seen.  He was certainly the best I ever saw.  He was so quick on his feet and danced with great power, but it was the way Woogie would glide around the dance arena that kept those who watched in awe.  Woogie always encouraged the young Indian people to dance and practice their culture because the are the ones who will be called upon to carry the Indian culture on.  Woogie was the first Native American to dance before Congress at the United States Capital in Washington, DC.  He danced for two (2) United States Presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.  In 1970 Woogie, along with is friend and Comanche brother, Doc Tate Nevequaya, toured Europe.  They gave a Royal Command Performance before the Queen of England.  She was so impressed by them, that she knighted them.

In addition to dancing, Woogie was an artist.  He began painting in the 1930′s.  He never went to art school but was encouraged by other Native Americans and their art.  Woogie painted the old two dimensional style with his paintings reflecting Comanche stories.  Painting was Woogie’s way of leaving the Comanche history with us for years to come.  He was one of the few traditional artists left and his style of painting has become a lost art today.  His paintings hang in many galleries and private collections around the world.

Woogie was a man who respected Mother Earth and as a medicine man found his cures for everything from her.  He used plants, roots and herbs to help the people who would come from long distances.  There is an old saying that the farther you travel, the stronger the medicine.  Woogie’s medicine was powerful but it had nothing to do with the distance you traveled.  The power came from deep within him.  He was a very spiritual man.  Woogie loved the creatures of this earth as well.  He had the rare ability to communicate with the creatures of the earth, which is and will remain a mystery to many.

In 1971 Woogie was called to Wichita Falls, Texas to bring rain to drought stricken areas and rain always came within minutes after his dance and tobacco ceremony.   In the summer of 1982, one of the hottest, driest summers on record, he broke a drought in Pompano Beach, Florida where it had not rained for two months.  The temperature had soared into the hundreds day after day.  An eye-witness recalled:

We were all getting pretty edgy.  The merchants at the  Sher-Den Mall decided to seize the moment.  They hired a rainmaker in Oklahoma to come down and do a rain dance.  They publicized it in the newspaper and on TV:   “come to Sher-Den Mall this Saturday morning at 11:00 o’clock and see Mr. Woogie Watchetaker perform an authentic Indian rain dance.”  When the time came the parking lot was full!  There was a carnival atmosphere in the air.  Most doubted and did not believe the old Comanche Indian could make it rain.  They laughed at the thought.  Sure enough, at 11:00 o’clock Woogie Watchetaker made his way through the crowd.  He was dressed to the nines, I guess you could say.  He had more feathers and beads;  and the finest pair of moccasins you could imagine.  When he got to the center of the crowd, he stopped.  The folks backed away to give him plenty of room.

He mumbled some sort of incantation, then started to dance.  He sang as he danced, twisting and turning as he moved about in a circle.  Every once in a while he looked up at the heavens and gestured but, for the most part, he kept his head bowed to the ground in reverence.  His feet never stopped moving.  I don’t know how long the dance lasted, as we were all mesmerized – maybe ten to fifteen minutes.  We gave him a polite round of applause and went home.  As far as we were concerned it was back to business as usual.  Only continued drought conditions were forecast, with no rain in sight.  And yet, that night we heard the sound of thunder.  And it started to rain… and rain it did for three days.

In 1993 Woogie returned to South Florida to bless a Powwow.  While there, it rained for four days which prompted the Seminoles to say that all Woogie had to do was raise his arms to the heavens because he was so close to the Great Spirit and the Great Spirit would make it rain.  Charles Banks Wilson, a great artist who authored “In Search of the Pure Bloods” did a sketch of Woogie and called him “The Rain Maker.”  He also sketched Eva, Woogie’s wife, and called her “The Woman Who Sings the Old Songs.” When Woogie would show up at Powwows and it would start raining, with tongue in cheek and a smile they would always say, “Woogie, GO HOME!”

Many people have said that Woogie was one who had a special connection to the Great Spirit;  all he had to do was raise his arms to the heavens and the Spirit would listen.  In his latter years he became the spiritual leader of the Comanche Tribe.  With his Eagle Feathers and his Sacred Smoke he was called on from around the country to bless many activities and participators.

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In 1993 Woogie passed on and five days later his bride, Eva Tooahimpah, joined him at his side.

Woogie’s name means “hide-real-good,” which his paternal great-grandmother earned when she hid from soldiers by staying beneath a buffalo robe to escape certain death.

The Watchetakers were members of what was knows as the wildest band of Comanches in the pre-reservation days, and the last band to surrender the Kwee-ha-ree-nee or “Antelope” band.  However, Woogie’s mother was a member of what was the most numerous and northernmost band of Comanches, the Yamparika or “root-eaters.”  They were the last group to break off from the parent Shoshone nation in Colorado.

The Comanches named their bands for their preferences in food.  Woogie’s wife, Eva, was a member of the Penatakes or “Honey-Eaters.”  They were in the cross timbers and upper Texas hill country, the closest Comanches to white settlement.

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  • George “Woogie” Watchetaker (March 1, 1916 – May 27, 1993)
  • Eva (Tooahimpah) Watchetaker (December 15, 1905 – June 3, 1993)

Buried together at:  Otipoby Cemetery, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Published in: on May 25, 2007 at 5:03 am  Comments (8)  
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