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Letter to Doane Robinson from Sam Charger

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 30 Jan 1946 [unknown]
Location: [unknown]
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(The following letter is transcribed with actual punctuation, spelling, and grammar used in the original. The original letter is available online at South Dakota Digital Archive; Doane Robinson Collection, Folder 58, Martin Charger)

Dear Mr. Robinson,

Your letter of January 28, 1946, is received and in reply will say that I have made some inquiries, about my Grand Father, and his descendents, my grand mother is a member fo the Sans Arc Band and her name translated in english would be, Her Good Ground, or Tomaka Wastewin, in Indian.

My Grand fathers Indian name is, Waglekeun pa, or Turkey Head, Tipi Haneka, Long House, or Zomie, the latter is an Indian word, which is not in use, by the present generation, the translation of this word or the definition, is a person that is tricky.

I have an uncle a full brother to my father who lives at Lower Brule Reservation for many years, and has reared a nice family, my uncles is known as John Desmet, during his last days, just before his death he stayed with me for about two years, and altho he was hard of hearing I used to ask him about his father, and I was interested, in what he was to relate about his father, according to his story, John Desmet grand mother must have died when, Zomie was quite young because, he was brought up, by a man, who was known as, Sawala, and had a hard life, but he became a young he spent much of life with the, Traders and the story runs some thing like this. One day one of the Post Traders told, my grand father, that he has a relative who is well to do, and this man is my grand fathers, father, and that the next time the post traders go down the river, after supplies, he should go along with them and probably his father would help him, he was convinced, and so he went with them down the river, and some where down south, they came to a place where, they told him was his fathers, place, the traders took Zomie to a House, where he was introduced to his father, who was a white man and had two daughters, and also had two mexicans working for him, the Traders left him at the place, and went on down the river. Zomie was leet, among strangers, he could not speak a word of english hence he could not understand nothing, and sign launguarge was the only thing, from which they could understand each other.

While at this place, it was rather a large place with lots of buildings and horses, his father told him one day, that Zomie should have his choice, as to whether he would want to stay at the place or to return to the indian country, and he told him that the wanted to return to the indian country. and live among the Indians, as he can talk their launguage, whereupon his father told him that he will give him two of best horses, that could be train for Buffalo Chase, and a good gun, and plenty ammunition, and such clothing as the Indians wear at that time, and that he can come back when the Traders return from the trip, as they will stop at this place again.

One day his father told his hired help, to get all of he horses in the corrals, and since his stay here, he became much aquainted, with the Mexicans, and one them advise him when they had he horses in, what horses Zomie should pick, or select, and then his father went to the corral, to look over his horses Zomie was right there, and told him about his pick of the horses one of them a light bay, and the other was a brown horse, his father told him that he made a good pick, as the horses are well bred and have the speed, which is required to chase the buffalo, and both are young a should be trained.

One day the Traders came back, to the place, and he was filled with joy, the traders was driving a large herd of horse to trade to the indians and one day left for the north country, biding his relatives Goog bye, which was the last time, he came back with the traders and was married to a Indian women from the Oglala tribe, and married my grand mother.

As you probably know, that amongst the indians, we would call an uncle a father, so long as they are full brothers, so according to the above story, it might his uncle, if not a father, it rather hard at the present time to trace the family tree, since all of the old timers are dead, but their is no question, but what my grand father is one of the early mix bloods in the indian country, as they say he has a long beard, and has a light complexion, I think their is quite a story, about the way he was reared among the indians,

In conclusion, I will say that assuming that my Grand father died at the age of 86, then he would be born in 1803, and then the relationship to Merriwhether Lewis would have some bearing, I was told that died at the home of his son John Desmet in 1889, near Ft Look Out on the Lower Brule Reservation, if in case Martin Charger is a relative of Merriwhether Lewis, he would be a grand son, and not a son and according the version of the above story, Zomie the alleged son went down the river, but so far I am unable to find out, just where he went, may be to St Louis, but he did meet his father once during his life.

I am writing a Biography of my life, which will throw some light on a reservation life, the Ups and down, that an indian has to go thru and will also write a history of the reservation, from 1868 to the present time.

I will get the Photograph and send it to some way.

My sincere regards and a happy new year, and hope that some day I will be able to pay you a visit.

Vrey Sincerely,

Sam Charger.

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