Richard Blue Earth, World War I Hero, Killed in Action against the Germans, Honored, Mandan, ND, March 14, 1934. Directed by Col. A. B. Welch

Col. Welch speaks at the Legion Commander Visit, Mandan, Mar. 14, 1934

 

A meeting was called for the purpose of receiving the Vice Comdr., for above date, to be held at the Park Pavillion.  Several days before, a committee of Sioux Indians, headed by Richard White Eagle, Commander of Richard Blue Earth Post, Cannon Ball, N.D., called upon the writer and arrangements were completed for a ceremony to be given by the Legionnaires of the Richard Blue Earth Post, in honor of the visiting Vice Commander.

About 15 members of the Post were  present to perform the ceremony, and Lt. Col. A.B.Welch, F.A.Res., 88th Div., was acting as interpreter and Master of Ceremonies.  Col. Welch is the adopted son of the late Chief John Grass, the head Chief of the Sioux Nation, and Grass has been called the Daniel Webster of the Sioux by Treaty Commissioners, treating with the Sioux.  Several old men of the tribe were present to lend dignity and precision to the ceremonies  – their names were Iron Bull, Chief Cottonwood and Eagle Staff.  Indian songs were sung in honor of “One who crossed the waters; he struck the enemy; he gained honors of a warrior.”  Speeches were made by several of the delegation, which referred to “My people gave money; my young men went with the soldiers; they are warriors now.”  Col. Welch explained the ceremonies and interpreted the songs and speeches.  A red, stone pipe (catlinite) with a red, stone stem, were presented to the Vice Commander, as a token of respect and honor to him and as a “present” from the Richard Blue Earth Post.  Col. Welch explained in brief words the ritual and the meaning of the presentation.  A buckskin tobacco and pipe bag were also presented, and the Vice Commander, in return, presented the Post with a silver star to be worn by each Post Commander in succession, and also a Legion button to the present Post Commander, White Eagle.

The name of Maka to (Blue Earth) was given to Commander Carruth.  This was in honor of the Sioux soldier by that name, who enlisted under A.B.Welch in 1917; landed in France in December 1917; was sent up, with others, to the First Division; became a noted sniper and, in the performance of this duty, died with a German bullet between the eyes, in October, 1918, somewhere south of Sedan in the Argonne Forest.  His body was returned to his home after the war, and is now buried in the Indian cemetery on the slopes of Holy Hill, on the Cannon Ball river, where the first rays of the morning sun paint the red and yellow buttes of his Mother Earth, with fingers of fire, and at the foot of the hill, the dark waters of the Minishoshe (Roily Water-Missouri river) roll on toward the southern sea.

 

Richard Blue Earth, served in France, 1918, with Major Welch

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The rite of Hunku was performed and the Vice Commander became a member of the Chante Tinze (Brave Heart) Society, thus becoming the second white man in the history of that oldest ‘soldier society’ to be made a member.  Chiefs Gall, Grass, Rain in the Face, Sitting Bull, White Bull, Crazy Horse, Goose, Black Moon, Red Cloud, and Waanata having all been members.  Col. Welch was made a member in 1931.  A song was sung to close the dance and rite  – “All ever I obey.  The colors (flag) flow to the end.”

 

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