It was a hot day in August 1931 when a Sioux Indian Chief (John Search The Enemy) invited me to sit with him on a blanket in front of his tipi at the Custer County Nebraska Fair.
Of course, I was only three years old so I didn’t know his name. However, a few years ago in 2009, I got curious and inquired of the fair officials by email as to what chiefs were present at the fair that year. At first they replied that they didn’t have such information…it was too many years ago. About half a day later, another email arrived, this one from the fair manager. He said he was curious so he checked some old records and had found a daily paper, The Daily Fair Edition for August 18, 1931, which contained a list of all the Sioux in attendance at the fair and he had mailed me a copy of that page. What a wonderful gift!
There were two chiefs present, Iron Shell and John Search The Enemy. From their descriptions in the article, I knew that the one who spoke to me was the latter one because he was slightly younger than the other.
The chief must have entertained me for close to an hour, telling me stories of The People and how they came to be as well as tales of The Coyote, a joker who could lead a person astray! He told me I would remember him and I certainly do! As I left he reached into his pocket and pulled out a buffalo nickle which he gave to me. The coin has an image of a buffalo on one side and the head of a chief on the reverse.
Somewhere around here I must still have that nickle given to me nearly 85 years ago by John Search The Enemy, a Sioux Indian Chief.