DUPREE FAMILY’S INVOLVEMENT AND PARTICIPATION IN CEREMONY IN THE 1800’S THROUGH TO CURRENT TIMES
FROM “QUEST FOR THE PIPE OF THE SIOUX: AS VIEWED FROM WOUNDED KNEE” (1975) BY WILBUR A. RIEGERT
Among the Green Grass Band, I finally came to meet Martha Bad Warrior and had my first acquaintance with the Sacred Calf Pipe.
Standing Hollow Horn, as we have said, was one of the two hunters and the first to see the Beautiful Lady; she came from the sun as she approached the earth. He was the good one at heart. (See Martha Bad Warrior version of The Coming of the Pipe –The Legend of the White Buffalo Calf Woman.)
It was, then, Standing Hollow Horn who first received the Sacred Calf Pipe. Thereafter, he turned the Pipe over to Two Runs who then became the first keeper of the Pipe and lived to be 101 years of age. Two Runs passed the Pipe over to a Bad Warrior who became the official keeper and minister of its spiritual and temporal benefits. This Bad Warrior lived to be 109 years old.
Bad Warrior, then, handed on the Pipe to Elk Head. He lived to be 80 years old.
But now, the beautiful and gracious ending to the keeping of the Sacred Calf Pipe, a service introduced with the Beautiful Lady from the sun.
Successively there had been three male keepers of the Calf Pipe. Then Martha Bad Warrior became its keeper, the only woman in the direct blood line of keepers. She was a very honest and sincere keeper and minister of the Pipe. Its sacredness was always foremost in her mind and heart. She would care for her people’s spiritual and bodily needs.
All materials used in my account of the Sacred Calf Pipe. and other references to the keepers and my personal interviews with Martha, are based directly on what she said to me in those interviews and visits with her and her people.
These visits, while picture-taking was permitted me, concluded with meetings with Lucy Looking Horse and her husband, the Dupree family, i.e. Andrew and his wife, the Larrabees, Mrs. Grant Iron Lightning, Simone and Simon Elk Head, and Thomas Hawk Eagle. Andrew Dupree and his wife were the greatest source of information, and they led me to see the Sacred Calf Pipe.
From the 1811 winter count of Elk Head we derive this piece of information: “1898: Stole Peace Pipe from Bowless band (Sioux).” After this mistreatment of the Pipe, the Sioux took action to protect the Pipe and keeper. Representatives of the districts of the reservation were chosen to visit the keeper and to be present when and if the Pipe was to be used, as on very special occasions.
One such event occurred in 1905. On that occasion a blessing was being given at the “kick-off” for the first real buffalo hunt aimed at gathering buffalo to form a Sioux buffalo herd on the reservation. The attempt was made among the Miniconjus at Dupree, South
The Dupree family owned and, or, leased much land in the Dupree area. It was they who deeded the town site for what is now Dupree (Dupris), South Dakota. Nelson, an engineer from the state capitol in Pierre in 1909 and 1910, surveyed the Dupris property for the town site. Accordingly, the property was deeded for the town of Dupree, as Andrew Dupris informed me.
So, on that occasion, the Sioux assembled on the grounds of the Dupris cattle ranch. The gathering was religiously interested and motivated. They had come to ask the Great Spirit to guide and protect the large group of men, women, and hardy youth preparing themselves to set out on the hunt. It would take them past Thunder Butte and to the northern Black Rills, where the buffalo were spotted by scouts. The report was that a good herd of bulls, cows and calves were seen.
Such a hunt was never heard of before or attempted. So the religious convocation was large and included Miniconju ministers and a Catholic priest. The meeting carried over into three days spent in prayer and feasting. To cap the whole celebration, the keeper of the Calf Pipe gave a blessing, using the Pipe for the special occasion.
Special it was, but to make my account a little more complete, I shall list the Dupris family and some of those who took part in the Dupris ranch life and the round-up of the buffalo.
Edward Dupris was the originator of the first buffalo herd in captivity. He was born in 1847 and died in 1907 at 60 years of age. Still, a winter count exists which shows Edward died in 1910. Aurelia Traversie Dupris was his wife and was born in 1864 and died in 1960 at the age of 96. All dates here pertaining to the Dupris family tree were given me by Andrew whom I knew personally for many years: in fact. he was my closest Indian friend and often a companion in my travels.
Learning the people. their way of life, collecting artifacts, and coming to know of the Sacred Calf Pipe. I had his gracious company. Andrew had two brothers, Robert and Douglas. By the winter count, they were both killed by Russian-Germans in 1922. I have only a record of Douglas being born in 1888, one sister born in 1891 who died in 1915. Andrew Dupris was born in 1894 and died in 1965, 71 years old.
All the Dupris family attended the convocation and received the blessing in the ceremonial with the Calf Pipe. The Pipe was lit and raised to the heavens, as the prayer man called upon the Great Spirit to witness and bless the convocation and the gathering of the buffalo. This was perhaps the most dramatic use of the Sacred Calf pipe in its history.
As I have said, the Pipe was lit and a religious salute made to the Great Spirit. Then the Pipe was passed to Edward Dupris. He took one deep draw on it and passed it to his wife Aurelia. She was not allowed to draw upon the Pipe but was permitted to kiss the bowl, which she did. The Pipe was then passed back to the keeper who wrapped it and placed it back in safety. This was the story as told me by Andrew Dupris himself.
Preparations for the buffalo hunt were completed. Those to make the excursion were chosen, and shortly they were ready to start. The Dupris ranch and home were about one and a half miles northeast of Dupree. Three large and sturdy hay wagons of a sort were made ready, besides other wagons for transporting bulls and calves. The hunters were in their glory! It was to be a buffalo hunt for a herd of their own, and with the special blessing they were in near ecstasy,
One outstanding characteristic of the Sioux is their appreciation of the way to relate themselves to man, God, and His creation. To give thanks for blessings was almost second-nature, as well as to be ready to look out for their fellow men.
The hunters’ destination was a spot about 120 miles away towards the slim buttes in the northern part of the Black Hills. The terrain there is rough and virgin country, lined with cow trails and buffalo runs, dry creeks and washes. They crossed the Morreau and Belfourche Rivers and Hay Creek. Well had they prepared for the trip, for they knew they would have to return the same way with heavy loads.
They arrived near the Hills and set up their camp from which they would carry on the round-up. They left the Dupris ranch early in September and returned in late October 1905 with four bulls and 42 calves. Corrals and a heavy fence were ready for them. Only an Indian can elaborately express his gleeful thanksgiving in dance and prayer.
Some of those who took part in this successful round-up were still alive when I took my notes from Andrew Dupris, youngest son of Edward. Andrew had accompanied the hunt and grew up on the ranch. All hands were happy working hands in that family.
I noted then that Palmer Horseshoe living at Eagle Butte, South Dakota, was, at that time, 90 years old and was Edward Dupris’ top wrangler for 18 years. Alex Traversie of Timber Lake was also among Edward’s men and then in his late 8O’s. Those who had passed on to eternity were Straight Head, White Horse, Two Moons, Standing Straddle, Black Eagle, Iron Lightning, Joe Fox and Makes Room. There were others as men who had worked in those early days with the Dupris’, and as Andrew said: “They are not forgotten.” Many of their names were recalled during our family meetings.
We talked many things then. He told me he and his sons owned and leased enough land to run several hundred head of Herefords (white faced cows). He also described the convocation and noted that, in the memory of the Miniconju Sioux, that was the last public showing of the Calf Pipe.
Also, he spoke of many things his father and grandfather had taught him, saying: “I am; I live; and, therefore, I bring down with me a heritage from my birth. As I reflect, I see that I am now alone the remaining member of Edward Dupris’ family. My father Edward, my mother Aurelia, my brother Douglas, and my sister Marcella have been called by the Great Spirit, by Him who is Wakantanka (Great Mystery) into those Happy Hunting Grounds of our Sioux Indians.” Then, after I had recorded his relatives’ years and ages, he said: “Waste (Fine) !”
Thus, in tribute to this dear friend, one early morning about 2:00 A.M., on June 15th, 1944. at the Cheyenne River Agency in South Dakota, I was moved to compose this set of verses :
To Andrew Dupris. His People.- Yours and Mine.
Long fingery shadows from the setting sun
Creep into nothingness as day is done,
Shadows of life yet mute to say
What day has wrought to the sun’s last ray.
A shadow appears–’tis the rising sun!
A new day is born and my task is undone!
Thou shadow of life, awaken to say:
I will finish my work before the sun’s last ray.
It was a matter of only two months from the time I was allowed to meet with Martha Bad Warrior at her home in Green Grass, until she passed away inside a tent pitched at the Larrabee dam. She seemed to know her time on earth was nearing an end. So she prepared for the life and keeping of the Sacred Calf Pipe. You will note from the photographs that the Pipe was not in the wrappings. but some odd pipe stems and a bowl were. The pipe in the hands of Martha was, no doubt, for public occasions. It was evident and I was told she carried the Calf Pipe in her clothing close to her body at all times. She may well have been carrying the Pipe when I photographed her. On display at one time in the museum in Wounded Knee, was a life-size painting made from that photo.
According to the winter count of 1898. Eli Bad Warrior (as I noted from Martha’s friends and relatives) was one of the Elk Head’s who was keeper before Martha. He was 80 years old when he died. Martha herself was 68 years old in 1905 and was present at the convocation. It could very well have been that she brought the Pipe for the convocation blessing. I have no record of when Elk Head passed into the Happy Hunting Grounds.
This bit of information would be enough to solve the problem of who was present at the assembly. Andrew Dupris gave me the distinct impression that it was Martha Bad Warrior who brought the Pipe. He himself had been present then in 1905. I was careless in failing to get the day of Elk Head’s death. The fact that the Pipe was there in 1905 is the main point of my story, nonetheless.
It is very important to realize that, because of the stealing of the Pipe in 1898, a protective body of men was selected to be present or nearby the keeper, especially when the Pipe was in evidence. Members to this protectorate were: a Bad Warrior, Elk Head, Two Runs, Straight Head. Crow Eagle, and a Fielder. These men were, it seems, the last to be named to this office, and they served in that capacity for Martha Bad Warrior.
I met some of them in the fifteen years I lived and worked at the Cheyenne River Agency and throughout that reservation. All these men were present at Martha’s telling of her Story and scattered throughout the crowd. They seemed to feel it their duty to be there. I took note of the many men, women, and children gathered on that occasion. I was also asked to photograph Martha and her relatives. This I did.
As I stated before, it was a hot day in August, very oppressive especially to an aged woman, but she insisted she would stay in the open. You see her facing the sun; she did so until she finished telling her Story .She wanted to show her people that sacrifice and patience are necessary throughout life so that a person might be able to walk toward Wakantanka, the living and Great Spirit, and that face to face He might hear the words of her lips.
Martha and her people were apparently satisfied with my presence among them and their witness to my hearing her Story .
The Story and photographs are simply priceless, and what has here been entrusted to me with such great confidence, with God’s help, will never suffer jeopardy by misuse of trust. The Story bespeaks great faith, sacrifice, and trust in the Great Spirit. These are the spiritual and beneficent guidelines available to all men in whatever predicament, however great and confusing, they might find themselves. We who are Indian can look back to our ancestors and their following of the Great God, Wakantanka, in His teachings and see how His children responded, struggled to answer Him in truth. This quest, for even centuries pursued and in one way or another handed down to us today, is the supreme good for all of mankind.
This Story of Martha Bad Warrior and her people I have written, the origin and message of the Sacred Calf Pipe. This heritage is such as to be open to the good of all mankind, regardless of race, creed, color, or blood quantums.
As much as I wanted to stay for the evening prayers at Martha’s home, I felt they wanted to give special attention to their own feelings as members of one large family, and comment on the day’s events, especially the taking of pictures and the briefing on the origin of the Sacred Pipe. I continued taking notes after this meeting with Martha and after her death, and from that day on, important Indian men spoke most freely with me. A kind of new day entered my life on that August Sunday of 1936.
I then spent several days reminiscing and adding to my notes. This outstanding and unprecedented event’s import was yet unknown to me. Welcome as it was, it was unexpected and I accepted the honor and treasured the confidence. The keeper of the Pipe looks to his own and the Sioux Nation’s good. Things continued to develop.
Andrew Dupris and his family lived on the Morreau River, in a beautiful spot and in the quarters of a comfortable little home. He gained his livelihood raising cattle, following the example of his parents. He gave his children a similar start in life, and he felt they were well on their own and capable of carIng for themselves. Aurelia, his wife, was a most capable mother to a growing and healthy family. Their houses on the Morreau and in Dupree were homes anyone could enjoy.
Then, Andrew and his family moved to the Agency where he had a comfortable job. We worked together on a variety of jobs. Among the Indian and many white farmers and ranchers, there were those who remembered the drought of the early 30’s in many a tale.
So, several days after my experience in the home of Martha Bad Warrior, Andrew and his wife came to me and asked if they could use my car for the evening. This request I granted them immediately. I asked no questions; they offered no reasons for the request. I trusted Andrew completely, for he had proven himself trustworthy as a kinsman ought, just as did the Larrabees, Elk Heads, Iron Lightning, Fielder, and others.
I often thought of how many of these friendships started. There was only one explanation, it seemed: the part I played in running down information on family trees on the reservation and in supervising the distribution of
food and clothing during the drought.
It was late at night when Andrew and his wife brought the car back and woke me on their arrival with it. They said they had gone to Martha Bad Warrior at her home in Green Grass. It was a meeting by appointment, they told me. Now, the surprise of a lifetime. They brought forth an object wrapped in a piece of calico stripping. As they unraveled it, they were exposing to me the original Sacred Calf Pipe, for it had the exact markings as were described by Martha and the Beautiful Lady from the sun. I asked Andrew to fill me in with the details.
Andrew said to me that after Martha placed the Pipe in his hands, he and his wife went together out to a high hill near Martha’s home and there paid homage to God in prayer, saluting Him in the four quarters of the universe and directing the Pipe to the North. the East. the South, and the West. Afterwards, bowing in great reverence to the presence of God, they turned and went to the car. From there they drove to where I was, at the Cheyenne River Agency.
“Wilbur,” said Andrew, “rest assured I will leave the Pipe in the hands of a trusted one. He is an Indian and known by many as a true friend of the Indians. I will come back to you soon and talk more about the Pipe and its future.”
(All of the above came from Wilbur A. Riegert’s “Quest For The Pipe Of The Sioux”, As Viewed From Wounded Knee.)
FROM ANDREW DUPRIS TO FRANK FOOLS CROW & NICOLAS BLACK ELK 1936!
It is known that Andrew Dupris passed the Cannunpa Wakan, the pipe given to him by Martha Bad Warrior, the pipe Andrew brought and showed to Wilbur A. Reigert, was passed to Frank Fools Crow & Nicolas Black Elk to Calvin DUPREE 1971 to HakiktaWin 1994!
Which I caretake to this day May 26, 2016 as a descendant of the Sitting Bull family through Sitting Bull’s Sister, Mary Good Elk Woman.
AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE!