Riggs, Francis 1971, 1973

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Francis Riggs, a Cheyenne Indian and great-grandson of Chief Black Kettle, talks about his ancestry, his own early life and that of his father, along with many of the legends, traditions and customs of the Cheyenne tribe.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Francis Riggs

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: January 6, 1971; March 19, 1973

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Interviewer: Ernest Wallace, David Murrah and Bill Griggs, Westerners

Length: 3 hours 25 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Francis Riggs, Member of the National Indian Committee, Family and early life, Natural Cheyenne family, Adopted family.

Tape 1, Side 2: Cheyenne Indian history, Use of peyote, Battle of the Washita (November 1868), Death of Black Kettle.

Tape 2, Side 1: Cheyenne Indian history (continued), American Indians’ search for identification.

Tape 2, Side 2: Blank

Tape 3, Side 1: Gives his name and information on his parents in Cheyenne language, Father and his ancestry discussed, Great-grandson of Black Kettle, Born 1912 at Fay, Oklahoma, Tells of father’s first wife and daughter, Explains his family’s land allotments, Father farmed this land, Thesis stated that Indians would have done better if trained as cattlemen, Cites problems caused by sudden change in diet after removal to reservations, Indians’ use of salt discussed, Native American Church mentioned, Describes Peyote ceremony, Father was an Army scout, Story of shooting man with gold nugget told, Father’s attendance at Carlisle Indian School.

Tape 3, Side 2: Father at Carlisle Indian School (continued), School’s physician, Dr. Riggs, adopted him, Personal baseball career discussed, Recollections of Jim Thorpe, Experiences playing on a traveling Indian team, Attended school in Wichita, Kansas (1925-1928), Explains the "sacred arrows," a Cheyenne legend, Clans to which the Indian men belonged designated, Examines meaning of "badger bundle", Ceremonial sun dance described.

Tape 4, Side 1: White Shield foresaw the death of Black Kettle, Incident of boy bitten by a snake, Legend of stick being thrown as a sign to move on, Question of Black Kettle’s burial discussed, Black Kettle’s descendants named, Recalls father’s memories of the death of General Custer at Little Bighorn, Repeats tale father told of a scalping, Black Kettle flew American flag at the Battle of the Washita (1868), States present Cheyenne opinion of Custer, Movie "Little Big Man" discussed, Story of father’s flight from the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864 told.

Tape 4, Side 2: Similarity of Indian philosophy and Christian philosophy compared, Ceremony honoring son upon his return from Vietnam described, Relationship of a Cheyenne father and son explained, Tells legend of the prophecy of white man’s coming.

Range Dates: 1864-1973

Bulk Dates: 1868-1973

Access Information

Original Recording Format:

Recording Format Notes:


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