Voices of the American West: The Indian Interviews
The valuable interviews conducted by Nebraska judge Eli S. Ricker with Indian eyewitnesses to the Wounded Knee Massacre, the Little Big Horn battle, the Grattan incident, and other events and personages of the Old West are finally made widely available in this long-awaited volume.
In the first decade of the twentieth century, as the Old West became increasingly distant and romanticized in popular consciousness, Eli S. Ricker (1843–1926) began interviewing those who had experienced it firsthand, hoping to write a multi-volume series about its last days. Among the many individuals he interviewed were American Indians, mostly Sioux, who spoke extensively about a range of subjects, some with the help of an interpreter. For years Ricker traveled across the northern Plains, determinedly gathering information on and off reservations, in winter and in summer. Judge Ricker never wrote his book, but his interviews are priceless sources of information about the Old West that offer more balanced perspectives on events than were accepted at the time.
Richard E. Jensen brings together all of Ricker’s interviews with American Indians, annotating the conversations and offering an extensive introduction that sets forth important information about Ricker, his research, and the editorial methodology guiding the present volume.