The Real Rosebud: The Triumph of a Lakota Woman

The Real Rosebud: The Triumph of a Lakota Woman

The Real Rosebud: The Triumph of a Lakota Woman

The Real Rosebud: The Triumph of a Lakota Woman

Excerpt

It started with that first marvelous summer of 1947 spent mostly at the Jones Beach Indian Village, where Rosebud Yellow Robe was the director. My own interest in Rosebud, her family, and her people – the Lakotas or Teton Sioux – developed immediately. On her father’s side, Rosebud was a Lakota Indian, a member of the Brule tribe, who live on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. Her grandfather on her father’s side was Yellow Robe, a chief who fought against Lt. Col. George A. Custer and the Seventh Cavalry in the Battle of the Little Bighorn, and who was a relative of Sitting Bull. Her father, Chauncey Yellow Robe, was widely admired as a successful graduate of the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania and served as a bridge between the two worlds of the white majority and the Indian minority. He was proud of his accomplishments in both worlds. Her mother, Lillie Springer, who was of Swiss-German heritage, was born in the United States. She met Chauncey and they fell in love the year she volunteered to work as a nurse among the Indians of South Dakota. Together, they taught Rosebud to take pride in the best of both worlds.

Raised in South Dakota, Rosebud came to New York City in 1927, at the age of twenty, having spent the previous two years as a student at the University of South Dakota. For the remainder of her life, some sixty-five years, she made New York her home. College-educated Native women, proud of their heritage and culture and able to communicate that pride, were rare. Only a very few come to mind. Ella Deloria, Yankton Sioux, graduated from Columbia University Teachers’ College and later collaborated with Franz Boas to write the definitive grammar of Lakota, the Sioux Indian language; she was also a popular lecturer on Indian culture . . .

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