*The entirety of this work, including photos, is protected by copyright (see Copyright information section).
I thought this would be nice place to commemorate and honor my Shawnee heritage by collecting the earliest images of tribal members that I could find so that my family members and others could see what the Shawnee people looked like in and around the time period about which I am writing.
Seated, Emma (BlueJacket) Renfrow; standing, Gertrude Alice (Grass) Hinshaw. The boys: Gaylord Adolphus Hinhsaw, Joe Dale Hinshaw and Felix Carlyle Hinshaw. Photo courtesy of and permission to post granted to Dorene Soiret by my cousin Gaylord Carlyle Hinshaw, Sr., a direct descendant of Chief BlueJacket:
GAYLORD ADOLPHUS HINSHAW, direct descendant of Chief BlueJacket. Photo courtesy of and permission to post granted to Dorene Soiret by Gaylord Carlyle Hinshaw, Sr.:
PEARL TECUMSEH BLUE JACKET. Direct male-line descendant of Chief BlueJacket. Permission to post granted to Dorene Soiret by Gaylord Carlyle Hinshaw, Sr.
EMMA BLUEJACKET, Cherokee-Adopted Shawnee, b. BlueJacket’s Crossing, Kansas Territory, 1854; d. 1916, Vinita, Oklahoma and Chief BlueJacket. Painted by Hal Sherman (1911-2009), Englewood, Ohio. Photos courtesy of and permission to post granted to Dorene Soiret by Gaylord Carlyle Hinshaw, Sr., a direct descendant of Emma BlueJacket and Chief BlueJacket:
Carlyle wrote to me about the artist:
“Hal Sherman was an artist in Englewood OH who became interested in the Bluejacket family. He was inspired to become a painter of Indian history after viewing Howard Chandler Christy’s painting of the ‘Signing of the Greene Ville Treaty’ at the Garst Museum in Greenville, Ohio while on a school field trip. He practiced on the back of his mother’s tablecloth with crayons. Hal taught himself to paint the old style from early American painters in books. Old style appealed to museums and collectors and opened a unique market for historical paintings.
“His work has been displayed in historical society museums throughout Ohio and on book covers and books. The Ohio Historical Society used his works in their teaching program. Paintings are displayed in the Indiana State Museum and in the State Department in Washington D.C. 225th Celebration of the Great Seal of the United States. His work can be found in areas as far away as Canada.”
BlueJacket, a watercolor by artist Don Rankin. The painting is on display at a museum in Vinita, Oklahoma. Mr. Rankin used a very detailed description of BlueJacket given at the time he was still alive along with a a large collection of photographs of members of the BlueJacket family for this painting. Photo courtesy of and permission to post granted to Dorene Soiret by Gaylord Carlyle Hinshaw, Sr., a direct descendant of Chief BlueJacket.
A little more about Professor Rankin from his website: “Don is currently a full time Assistant Professor of Art in the School of the Arts, at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, teaching color theory, structure of design, painting and drawing. Don has an earned Ph.D. in Visual Communication with a specialty in American Indian imagery. He is an artist member of the Indian Arts and Crafts Association, Oil Painters of America and the Portrait Society of America. He is a former President and one of the co-founders of the Southern Watercolor Society.”
Seated: DAVID LIKENS BLUEJACKET and wife ELIZA SILVERHEELS-BLUEJACKET with their family.
ELIZA SILVERHEELS-BLUEJACKET, wife of David Likens Bluejacket; great granddaughter of Chief Silverheels who was a brother of Chief Cornstalk. Photo before 1929.
JULIA ANN ELLICK BIRD, great granddaughter of the renowned chief Silverheels (brother of Chief Cornstalk), Shawneetown, Kansas Territory, circa 1860s. Photo courtesy of and permission to post granted to Dorene Soiret by my cousin Jim Lee, great grandson of Julia Ann Ellick Bird:
Julia Ann Ellick Bird. Photo courtesy of and permission to post granted to Dorene Soiret by Jim Lee.
Three generations: Dimmeria Francis Byrd Ford, daughter Virginia Ford Hood, and Carol Hood Pierce. Permission to post granted to Dorene Soiret by my cousin Carol Hood Pierce.
More BlueJacket cousins!
CHARLES BLUEJACKET, JR. Permission to post granted to Dorene Soiret by my cousin Dennis BlueJacket.
CARRIE ELIZABETH FOREMAN BLUEJACKET, wife of Charles BlueJacket, Jr. Permission to post granted to Dorene Soiret by Dennis BlueJacket.
CLYDE LEROY “BLUE” BLUEJACKET. Clyde was the third BlueJacket chief and the fifth modern chief of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. Clyde was the father of Bobby BlueJacket, the grandfather of Dennis BlueJacket and great grandfather of John BlueJacket. (Chief BlueJacket is wearing the full headdress in honor of the chief of the Kiowa tribe who had given him this special gift.) Permission to post granted to Dorene Soiret by Dennis BlueJacket.
Three generations of BlueJackets! Left to right, Dennis BlueJacket, Bobby BlueJacket and Dennis’ son John BlueJacket. Permission to post granted to Dorene Soiret by Dennis BlueJacket.
Author Michael P. Daley wrote the book “Bobby BlueJacket: The Tribe, The Joint, The Tulsa Underworld.” I highly recommend this book. You will not be able to put it down:
Review of the book by “In Full Bleed”:
“The history of North America is a crime. Thousands of Native Americans lie forgotten in between the pages of history books, murdered by white colonizers for their land and resources — something that still happens today, as we continuously strip away Native American lands and undermine their basic rights.
“In Bobby BlueJacket: The Tribe, The Joint, The Tulsa Underworld, crime and cultural history writer Michael P. Daley centers one of the many Native Americans who, in the early 20th century, were forced into assimilation, disenfranchised at the socioeconomic and political level, and imprisoned for doing whatever was necessary to survive.
“This immersive, narrative history is told primarily through the point of view of BlueJacket himself — sourced through several interviews conducted by phone and in person over a period of five years — with corroboration from law enforcement records, court documents, prison records, periodicals, books, multimedia sources, and interviews with others. It is part biography, part cultural history, part prison study.
“Bobby BlueJacket was born to a Shawnee man, Clyde BlueJacket, and his wife, Ethel Welch (a white woman of Irish, Welsh, and English descent), in 1930. Bobby came into the world on the BlueJacket allotment along the Spring River in Oklahoma, on Eastern Shawnee land. Shortly after his birth, Ethel — “fleeing the poverty, alcoholism, and punishing work that comprised her days on their family allotment” — took Bobby and his older sister, Marjorie, to live in Tulsa.
“BlueJacket’s older brothers, Junior, Dennis, and Tommy, would meet them when they got out of the Seneca Indian School that summer. The school, located in Wyandotte, Oklahoma, was part of a larger acculturation effort that sought to remove Native American children from their homelands and assimilate them into Western (read: white) ways of life.
“Bobby BlueJacket grew up on the streets of Tulsa, where he began “hustling” at just 7 years old. He wasn’t one for school; he spent the majority of his time with his friends, learning from older, more notorious criminals so that he could better his situation and survive.
“In Daley’s book, BlueJacket talks about hawking newspapers, shining shoes, gambling, and stealing “everything that wasn’t tied down.” He says, “We had one aim, and that was to better ourselves financially. And you did what you had to do to make money.”
“BlueJacket’s history of petty crime led to a few run-ins with police, including several stints in juvenile detention centers.
“Then, in 1948, BlueJacket was convicted for killing another teenager (who was white) in one of the most sensational court cases Tulsa had ever seen. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison, a sentence that would have left him in prison until 2047 — with a probation date in the 1990s, at the absolute earliest. For an 18 year-old kid, it was effectively a death sentence.
“Eventually, BlueJacket’s lawyer was able to reduce his sentence — allowing him to pursue a mostly normal life following his release. His time spent in prison is well-documented through his work as a prison journalist and editor, working for one of the many prison publications that cropped up across the country during that time.
“These publications were part of a larger shift in focus to rehabilitation in prisons, which happened to coincide with BlueJacket’s 1948 incarceration. The implementation of rehabilitation programs in Oklahoma prisons gave incarcerated criminals access to sports equipment, printing materials, education courses, and more. BlueJacket took advantage of them all, learning to express himself behind bars — something that would serve him throughout his life, as he gained notoriety for his work.
“By the 1970s, BlueJacket had acted as a journalist, editor, prison rodeo emcee, political impresario, and used tire salesman. By 2016, as Daley was wrapping up research material for Bobby BlueJacket: The Tribe, The Joint, The Tulsa Underworld, BlueJacket had become a respected tribal elder and a dedicated Eastern Shawnee activist. He is also a family man whose generosity is distributed to anyone in his life who needs help — something that happens often, especially following the Great Recession.
“Through BlueJacket’s words, Daley is able to craft a narrative that makes this nonfiction book read very, very smoothly. Daley also provides context for BlueJacket’s interviews, including information about acculturation efforts, prison reform, and statistics that make the emotional impact of BlueJacket’s experiences all the more powerful.
“Bobby BlueJacket is an intense reading experience. The way BlueJacket speaks borders on flippant throughout much of the book, which is striking both because it underscores how normal his experiences are to him and because it highlights how these experiences shouldn’t be normal for anyone.
“As I read this book, over the course of about one week, I repeatedly told people who asked me about it that it was emotionally, mentally, and physically heavy. The size and scope of Bobby BlueJacket adds literal weight to the book, which — including notes — is over 700 pages long.
“Although many books of this length can get bogged down in unnecessary details, poor narrative structure, or uninteresting subject matter, Daley manages to keep the book moving from the first page to the last. Each time I picked up Bobby BlueJacket, I got lost in its pages, even at the points where I was utterly horrified by what I read.
“It’s especially important, in the current cultural climate, to understand histories like BlueJacket’s, as well as their contexts. I highly recommend this book for anyone and everyone, not only because it is fascinating, well-written, and incredibly well-researched, but because it provides layer upon layer of indispensable information told primarily through a first-person account of lived experiences. It’s the kind of narrative history we need more of, especially centering marginalized voices, especially today.”
Bobby BlueJacket: The Tribe, The Joint, The Tulsa Underworld Rating: ★★★★½
Bobby has a huge, giving heart. He watches out for and takes care of his community. I consider myself blessed to know and to be related to this truly remarkable man. This is a commercial for Meals on Wheels that Bobby filmed shortly after my time with him in Oklahoma:
Bobby, along with Robert Van Trees and Carlyle Hinshaw, was instrumental in proving the Marmaduke Van Swearingen legend to be .untrue.
COLLINS PANTHER: Center, Absentee Shawnee Collins Panther, great grandfather of Collins Kickapoo. Permission to post here granted to Dorene Soiret by Collins Kickapoo.
THOMAS MACK, Absentee Shawnee, great grandfather of Collins Kickapoo. Permission to post here granted to Dorene Soiret by Collins Kickapoo.
CECIL KICKAPOO, Absentee Shawnee, grandfather of Collins Kickapoo. Permission to post granted to Dorene Soiret by Collins Kickapoo.
TECUMSEH, Portrait of Tecumseh (Shawnee, 1768–1813) by Benson Lossing, 1848. Based on a pencil sketch from life ca. 1808 by French trader Pierre Le Dru. N20811, National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Heye Center, Smithsonian.
WAPAMEEPTO, GIVES LIGHT AS HE WALKS, also known as WHITE ROAD, also known as DICK JIM or BIG JIM, great grandson and direct male-line descendant of Tecumseh. Tecumseh and Big Jim direct descendants: Saundra, Stewart, Lonita Williams Stewart and Webster Little Jim (also direct male-line descendant of Tecumseh and Big Jim); all my cousins through Chief Cornstalk’s family and we are working to find where our families converge. Permission for Dorene Soiret to post granted by cousin Saundra Stewart.
***I removed the link and information from NativeArts.com because Saundra pointed out a few errors with the article and I found more than one error and will replace it shortly with more reliable information.
LITTLE JIM, son of Big Jim. Permission for Dorene Soiret to post granted by Saundra Stewart.
CHIEF JOE BILLY, Pem Mep To, the traditional leader of the Big Jim Band of Absentee Shawnee, 1910. Photo by M.R. Harrington, Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. Two of Chief Joe Billy’s direct descendants are Saundra, Stewart, Lonita Williams Stewart who are my cousins through Chief Cornstalk’s family and we are working to find where our families converge .
A color photo of the deer-skin coat worn by Chief Joe Billy. The coat had been acquired by George Heye of the Smithsonian Institution in 1910. It had been on display in the National Museum of the American Indian. According to the Smithsonian the coat has been reconnected to its Native owner through their Retro-Accession lot project. To see more Shawnee artifacts, please visit the Relics page.
PA-KAH-TOH-KAH-KA-LE or CAPTAIN JOSEPH PARKS:
Was a renowned Shawnee headman. He was captain of a Shawnee company in the Seminole War, he brought the Hog Creek band of Shawnees to Kansas in 1833, represented the Shawnee in Washington in their complaints against the government and held the position of Chief for many years. Photo: Kansas Historical Society.
YVONNE CHOTEAU, was a Silverheels descendant and cousin. Yvonne was one of the “Five Moons” Native American ballerinas from Oklahoma.
As written to the Today in Ballet History FB page by Yvonne Strong:
“Yvonne Chouteau, Native American dancer, was born (as Myra Yvonne Chouteau) in Fort Worth, Texas, on 7 March 1929; her family moved to Oklahoma soon after. She was a member of the Shawnee tribe as well as having French ancestry. She studied at the School of American Ballet and then joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo at the age of 14. In her mid-20s she married another Ballet Russe dancer, Miguel Terekhov and they moved to Oklahoma City to start a ballet company. They also started a dance department at the University of Oklahoma. Chouteau was known for her lyricism and lightness of movement, and said in an interview that she wasn’t a natural Balanchine dancer. She died on 24 January 2016 at the aged 86.” Cousin Carol Hood Pierce was blessed to have studied under Yvonne’s husband Miguel Terekhov at the University of Oklahoma!
MOSCELYNE LARKIN JASINSKI, was a Silverheels descendant and cousin. Moscelyne was one of the “Five Moons” ballerinas from Oklahoma. She and her husband Roman were founders of the Tulsa Ballet.
From the Tulsa Ballet “Company” page:
“Tulsa Ballet was founded in 1956 by Miss Larkin and Mr. Jasinski, internationally recognized dancers in the grand Ballet Russe tradition. Their lifelong contributions to dance were recognized with the prestigious Dance Magazine Award in 1988.
“Miss Larkin, born of Russian and Shawnee-Peoria descent in Miami, Oklahoma, first studied ballet with her mother, Eva Matlogova. She went on to study with Celli, Vilsak-Schollar and Mordkin in New York before joining the Original Ballet Russe at age 15. As a protégé of Alexandra Danilova in the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, she toured worldwide with Danilova’s “Great Moments of Ballet.”
Moscelyne married Roman Jasinski, about whom they write:
Mr. Jasinski was born in Warsaw, Poland, where he held the distinction of “first student” in his class at the Grand Opera Ballet School. Hired by Bronislava Nijinksa for the Ida Rubenstein Ballet in Paris, Jasinski became premier danseur of the George Balanchine Ballet in 1933. He then joined the Original Ballet Russe as a premier danseur.
Cousin Sharon’s oldest son and oldest granddaughter in all of their Absentee Shawnee regalia glory!
A little more recent in time, but no less influential, was the legendary musician LINK WRAY. A PBS documentary was released in 2017 that heavily features Link’s story is RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World. I highly recommend RUMBLE. Your minds will be blown learning about the impact our Shawnee brother and our Native American cousins have had and continue to have in the music world.
A link to the trailer for the documentary:
Link in all his 1974 glory!
Link in his own words:
And a great article from “The Guardian” about Link and some of the other Native American musicians featured in the award-winning documentary:
HENRY F.A. RODGERS…Shawnee — 1869. NOT Littleberry Adkins.
PAYTA-KOOTHA or Flying Clouds by Henry Inman after Charles Bird King (original painting by King was destroyed by fire at the Smithsonian Institution in 1865). Flying Clouds was about 55 years old when he sat for the the original portrait. He also called himself “Captain Reed” in honor of a Revolutionary War officer who had befriended him:
LAY-LOO-AH-PEE-AI-SHEE-KAW or Grass, Bush, Blossom, Shawnee, by George Catlin, 1830, Kansas Territory:
LAY-LA-SHE-KAW or Goes Up the River, an aged chief, by George Catlin, 1830. The artist wrote of the subject, “Is a very aged, but extraordinary man, with a fine and intelligent head, and his ears slit and stretched down to his shoulders, a custom highly valued in this tribe; which is done by severing the rim of the ear with a knife, and stretching it down by wearing heavy weights attached to it at times, to elongate it as much as possible, making a large orifice, through which, on parades, &c. they often pass a bunch of arrows or quills, and wear them as ornaments”:
KAY-TE-QUA or The Female Eagle, Shawnee, daughter of Chief Lay-law-she-kaw, by George Catlin, 1830:
TEN-SQUAT-A-WAY, otherwise known as the The Profit, part Creek; brother of Tecumseh. Smithsonian Art Museum. Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.279. At the Smithsonian website, they document that Catlin wrote: “The ‘Shawnee Prophet,’ is perhaps one of the most remarkable men, who has flourished on these frontiers for some time past. This man is brother of the famous Tecumseh, and quite equal in his medicines or mysteries, to what his brother was in arms; he was blind in his left eye, and in his right hand he was holding his ‘medicine fire,’ and his ‘sacred string of beads’ in the other. With these mysteries he made his way through most of the North Western tribes, enlisting warriors wherever he went, to assist Tecumseh in effecting his great scheme, of forming a confederacy of all the Indians on the frontier, to drive back the whites and defend the Indians’ rights; which he told them could never in any other way be protected … [he] had actually enlisted some eight or ten thousand, who were sworn to follow him home; and in a few days would have been on their way with him, had not a couple of his political enemies from his own tribe… defeated his plans, by pronouncing him an imposter … This, no doubt, has been a very shrewd and influential man, but circumstances have destroyed him … and he now lives respected, but silent and melancholy in his tribe.” Records show that the Prophet was living west of the Mississippi by 1830, which suggests that Catlin painted this portrait at Fort Leavenworth (in today’s Kansas) on his earliest journey to the West. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 49, 1841, reprint 1973; Truettner, The Natural Man Observed, 1979)”:
“Tens-qua-ta-wa or the One that Opens the Door, Shawnese Prophet, brother of Tecumthe.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1836. The Aboriginal Portfolio, or, a Collection of Portraits of the Most Celebrated Chiefs of the North American Indians. Plates drawn by J. Barincou and P. Rindisbacher, and colored by hand, after paintings J.O. Lewis, T.R. Peale, and Jerome Thompson; printed by Lehman & Duval and P.S. Duval, lithographihc printers. Painted for Gov. Lewis Cass by J.O. Lewis at Detroit, 1823
McKenny and Hall, after Charles Bird King, TENS-KWAU-TA-WAW. THE PROPHET., from History of the Indian Tribes of North America, ca. 1837-1844, hand-colored lithograph on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase, 1985.66.153,323
“Shawano Indians,” George Catlin, 1861-1869. L-R “Kay-te-qua, the Female Eagle; Hunter; Lay-law-she-kaw, Goes Up the River, chief; Ten-squa-ta-way, The Profit; unidentified children. Paul Mellon Collection, National Gallery of Art.
From George Catlin’s “Portraits of North American Indians,” London, 1852. Pencil portraits:
Ten-squa-ta-way (The Prophet)
PAW-TE-COO-CAW or Pah-te-Coo-Saw, otherwise known as the “Straight Man,” by George Catlin. Straight Man sat for the portrait in 1830, Kansas River, Oklahoma Territory. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.280 From the Smithsonian’s website: Pah-te-Coo-Saw “came to sit for his portrait, he had decorated his face “in a very curious manner with black and red paint.” The warrior has slightly European features and appears to be wearing a European shirt and coat. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 49, 1841; reprint 1973)”:
QUA-TA-WA-PEA, otherwise known as Colonel John Lewis, Shawnee chief. Qua-ta-wa-pea adopted his English name in honor of his white friend. McKenney and Hall, based on the painting by Charles Bird King”
CA-TA-HE-CAS-SA, otherwise known as Black Hoof, Principal Chief of the Shawnee, courtesy of The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1836 – 1844:
KISH-KAL-WA, Shawnee Chief, 1832-1833, by Henry Inman, after Charles King Bird; oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Gerald and Kathleen Peters, 2019.12.1.:
McKenny and Hall, after Charles Bird King:
BILLY SHANE, a Shawnee Chief, who fought for the Americans and was wounded at the Battle of the Thames in Upper Canada, by James Otto Lewis. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1836:
Shawnees by Heinrich B. Mullaussen, originally from manuscripts in the Oklahoma Historical Society:
Shawnees. Engraving after Heinrich B. Mullaussen, 1853, from Lt. A. W. Whipple Report (The Indian Tribes, Chapter II).
“Shawnee Home, Life About 1890,” graphite and watercolor on paperborard. Painted in about 1910 by Ernest L. Spybuck (1883-1949), member of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. The painting is housed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.
“Football Game,” graphite and watercolor on paperboard. Painted in about 1910 by Ernest L. Spybuck (1883-1949), member of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. The painting is housed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.
“Mocassin Game,” graphite and watercolor on paperboard. Painted in about 1910 by Ernest L. Spybuck (1883-1949), member of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. The painting is housed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.
“Procession Before War Dance,” graphite and watercolor on paperboard. Painted in about 1910 by Ernest L. Spybuck (1883-1949), member of the Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. The painting is housed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.
Paula Conlon of the Oklahoma Historical Society writes: “A number of tribes brought their ceremonial music and dance with them during the forced removal westward in the 1800s. These include the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Delaware, Miami, Ottawa, Peoria, Seminole, Shawnee, and Yuchi, all of whom participate in the stomp dance. The singing is in call-and-response form, with a man as leader and chorus of men. On their lower legs the women wear shackles made of several small turtle shells tied together and filled with pebbles. Modern rattles are made of small tin cans instead of turtle shells. The men begin walking in a single file around the fire in a counterclockwise direction. Women take their places alternately between the men, and children follow. The shell shaker directly behind the leader sets the rhythm based on the leader’s chant, and the rest of the shell shakers pick up and maintain the rhythm. Stomp-dance songs are sometimes accompanied by a small water drum at green corn, a Native ceremony of these eastern tribes that includes all-night stomp dancing.”
Shawnee Stomp Dance (Oklahoma Historical Society):
Watercolor and ink on paper Creator: Lino Sánchez y Tapia after José María Sánchez y Tapia Collection: Thomas W. Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma Image Citation: Berlandier, Jean Louis, The Indians of Texas