Materials relating to Red Thunder Cloud collected by his friend Oreste Vincent Unti: (1) Photographic print (8x10) inscribed "Best wishes Bernie from Red Thunder Cloud." (2) Two-page letter in Spanish to Oreste Unti from Armando Diaz, East Hampton, NY, May 22, 1945. (3) Two-page letter to Oreste Unti from "Your Brother Tez" [i.e. Red Thunder Cloud], Catawba Lodge, East Hampton, NY, n.d. (4) Photocopy of obituary for Oreste Vincent Unti published in the Chestnut Hill Local (Oct 25, 2001). (5) Periodical published by Red Thunder Cloud at Catawba Lodge: "The Indian War Drum: The Voice of the Eastern Indians" Vol. 1 No 2. (Feb 1946).
Biographical / Historical:
Red Thunder Cloud was an alias of Cromwell Ashbie Hawkins West (1922-1996), who posed as a Catawba and native speaker of the language. In 1938, he wrote a letter to Frank G. Speck, introducing himself as a "16 year old Catawba Indian." He continued his masquerade for the rest of his life and served as an assistant and informant to linguists and anthropologists. While his veracity was questioned by some, it was not until his death that it was confirmed that he was not Catawba, much less a Native American. For more information, please see Ives Goddard's article "The Identity of Red Thunder Cloud" at http://anthropology.si.edu/goddard1.html.
NAA MS 2005-07
Indians of North America -- Ethnic identity Search this
Indians of North America -- Southern states Search this
Manuscript 2005-07 Red Thunder Cloud collection, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Photographs collected by Wes Taukchiray, probably during work with American Indian groups in the 1970s and 1980s. The collection largely consists of images and narratives depicting Narragansett, Montauk, and Shinnecock Indians, most of which comes from "Rare Eastern Indian Photo Series" distributed by Red Thunder Cloud, a common correspondent of Taukchiray. It also includes one image of a member of the Clark family near Summerville, South Carolina and one image of Tuscarora or Lumbee Indians Will and Roberta Bullard Locklear in their home in the Chavis Settlement in North Carolina, made by Mark Price of the Fayetteville [North Carolina] Times and collected while Taukchiray was living with them in the 1980s. There are two photographs of Chief Hudson Crummie, possibly a Pee Dee Indian, during a visit by Taukchiray, as well as six photographs depicting Tunica Indians and artifacts and some images of Alabama and Catawba Indians.
Wes Taukchiray, born Wes White in 1948, is an ethnohistorian and author of numerous publications about Indians of the American Southeast, particularly South Carolina. In 1969 he began trying to determine the origins of the Four Holes Indian Community and other American Indian groups in South Carolina; this work was continued in contract work in 1974 and 1975 for the Smithsonian Institution's Center for the Study of Man. From 1972-1982 he worked as a private researcher and genealogist based in the South Carolina Archives. He was employed by the Lumbee Regional Development Association (1976-77) before becoming the main researcher for the Indian Law Unit of the Lumbee River Legal Services (1982), where he cowrote the Lumbee tribe's petition for federal recognition. In 1988, he changed his name to Taukchiray, which means "white" in the Catawba language.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot R98-45, NAA Photo Lot 97-3, NAA Photo Lot 88-3, NAA Photo Lot 83-6, NAA Photo Lot 81-65, NAA Photo Lot 77-65
Most of the copy prints and negatives made by Smithsonian Institution, 1977, 1980, 1997, 1999.
Location of Other Archival Materials:
Photo Lot 97-3, Photo Lot 88-3, Photo Lot 83-6, Photo Lot 81-65, and Photo Lot 77-65 have been relocated and merged with Photo Lot R98-45. These photographs were also collected by Wes Taukchiray and form part of this collection.
The National Anthropological Archives holds the Lumbee petition for federal acknowledgement 1987 (MS 7523).
Wes (White) Taukchiray's papers from his work for the Center for the Study of Man can be found in the National Anthropological Archives in the Records of the Center for the Study of Man.
Donated by Wes Taukchiray in 1977, 1980, 1982, 1988, 1996, and 1998.
The collection is open for research.
Access to the collection requires an appointment.