Susan Bordeaux Bettelyoun, 1857-1945 [RG3113.AM]


RG3113.AM: Susan Bordeaux Bettelyoun, 1857-1945

Papers: 1934-1941
Ft. Laramie, Wyo.; Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota:
Size: 1.5 cu.ft. and 1 reel of microfilm


Susan Bordeaux Bettelyoun was born in 1857 to fur trader James Bordeaux and Huntkalutawin, a Brule Lakota woman. She grew up at her father’s post near Ft. Laramie, Wyoming and was educated at Hamburg, Iowa. In later life she spent time at Ft. Robinson and the various agencies of Spotted Tail, eventually settling on the Rosebud Reservation with her second husband, Isaac Bettelyoun.

In her final years, she lived at the Old Soldiers Home at Hot Springs, South Dakota, where she met Josephine Waggoner, a mixed blood Hunkpapa Lakota. Together, during the 1930s, the two women produced the manuscripts contained in this collection. Waggoner was interested in collecting the stories of “old timers,” and Bettelyoun, though unable to write due to rheumatism, wanted to correct what she saw as the flawed and incomplete white history of the west.


The collection consists of manuscript material (all on microfilm) arranged as follows:

Series 1 – Correspondence, 1934-1941, n.d.
Series 2 – Manuscripts
Subseries 1: Holograph
Subseries 2: Typescript
Subseries 3: Nebraska State Historical Society edited version
Series 3 – Genealogical Material

Series 1 contains the correspondence, 1934-1940, of Bettelyoun and Waggoner with Addison E. Sheldon, Director of the Nebraska State Historical Society. Also included are Nebraska State Historical Society interoffice memos. The correspondence concerns the publication of the manuscripts. Additional correspondence can be found in the Nebraska State Historical Society’s Corporate records, RG14: SG1, S1, Boxes 77, 79-82, 84 and 87.

The bulk of the collection, Series 2, consists of the manuscripts of Susan Bordeaux Bettelyoun as told to Josephine Waggoner. The manuscripts concern early fur traders of the Ft. Laramie region, noted Brule and Oglala warriors and chiefs, Bordeaux family history and the Indian/White conflict on the plains in the second half of the nineteenth century. Of interest are manuscripts concerning life at Ft. Laramie, the story of Crow Butte, the Grattan Massacre and the Battle of Ash Hollow. The manuscripts are unique in that they are unsolicited histories of the period written from an Indian woman’s perspective.

Three versions of the manuscript make up Series 2: Subseries 1 is the original holograph, Subseries 2 is a corrected typescript and Subseries 3 is a heavily edited and footnoted rewrite produced by Walter Mahlen Herbert, a WPA employee of the Society in the 1930s. The holograph has corrections on it made by the Nebraska State Historical Society Staff, possibly Addison Sheldon.

Series 3 contains genealogical material of the Bordeaux family donated in 1982.

RESTRICTION: For preservation purposes, researchers must use the microfilm.

Note: See the photo component [RG3113.PH] for related photographs. See the Nebraska History Index for items relating to Susan Bordeaux Bettelyoun and Josephine Waggoner. The NSHS Library contains the book, With my own eyes : a Lakota woman tells her people’s history by Bettelyoun and Waggoner, edited and introduced by Emily Levine.


Series 1 – Correspondence, 1934-1941, n.d.

Reel 1
Box 1

  1. 1934
  2. 1935
  3. 1936
  4. 1937
  5. 1938
  6. 1939
  7. 1940
  8. Undated correspondence and interoffice memos

Series 2 – Manuscripts
Subseries 1: Holograph

Reel 1 (Cont.)
Box 2

  1. To My Mother (poem)
    My Mother Huntkalutawin
  2. Bordeaux
  3. Susan Bordeaux Bettelyoun
    My Early Days
  4. Josephine Waggoner
  5. Tasunkehinapewin, Winnie Bordeaux
  6. At Laramie
  7. Enoch Wheeler Raymond
  8. Fever and Ague
  9. Miscellaneous Warriors
    Lone Dog’s Winter Count
    Rain in the Face, A Brule
    Little Wound
    Chief Lone Dog
    White Thunder, Wakinyanska
    Hollow Horn Bear
    Two Strikes, Numpa Apa
    Iron Shell, Tuki maza
    Big Turkey, Wagleksan Tanka
  10. Battle of the Little Blue
    The Battle of Ash Hollow – 1
    The Battle of Ash Hollow – 2
  11. Crazy Horse, Tasunke Witko
    Chief Crazy Horse, Ta-Sun-ke-we-Tko, War Lord of the Mighty Sioux (fiction)
    The Greatest War Chief in Indian History, Chief Crazy Horse, Ta-Sun-ke-We-tke (fiction)
    Last Speech and Death of Crazy Horse, by William J. Bordeaux
  12. Horse Creek
  13. Two Face and Blackfeet
  14. Conditions from 1854 till 1868
  15. Annuities
  16. Travoy Trails (poem)
    17-32. Photocopy of holograph, in same folder order

Subseries 2: Typescript

Reel 1 (Cont.)
Box 3

  1. To My Mother
    My Mother Huntkalutawin
    Bordeaux, The City and the Family
    Susan Bordeaux Bettelyoun
    My Early Days
    The Bettelyoun Brothers
  2. The Early Fur Traders
    Fever and Ague
    At Fort Laramie
    Enoch Wheeler Raymond
  3. Iron Shell
    Two Strikes
    Little Wound
    White Thunder
    Big Turkey
    Hollow Horn Bear
    Rain in the Face, A Brule
  4. Chief Lone Dog
    Crazy Horse, TaSunke Witko
    The Greatest War Chief in Indian History, Chief Crazy Horse, Ta-Sun-Ke-We-Tke (fiction)
    Chief Crazy Horse’s Last Speech and Death, by William J. Bordeaux
    Chief Crazy Horse, Ta-Sun-Ke-We-Tko, War Lord of the Mighty Sioux Indian Chiefs
  5. Lone Dog’s Winter Court
    Crow Butte
    The Battle of Ash Hollow, First Account
    The Battle of the Little Blue or Ash Hollow, Second Account
    Horse Creek
    Two Face and Blackfeet
  6. Conditions from 1854 till 1868
    The Travoy Trails
    Josephine Waggoner

Subseries 3: Nebraska State Historical Society Edited Version

Reel 1 (Cont.)
Box 3 (Cont.)

  1. Introductory materials through page 99
  2. pages 100-199
  3. pages 200-299
  4. pages 300 through index

Series 3 – Genealogical Material

Reel 1 (Cont.)
Box 3 (Cont.)

  1. Genealogical material and family trees of Parker and Bordeaux families

Subject headings:

Ash Hollow, Battle of
Bettelyoun, Susan Bordeaux, 1857-1945
Big Turkey
Bordeaux family
Brule Indians — History
Crazy Horse, ca. 1842-1877
Crow Butte (Neb.)
Ford, Jacob
Fort Laramie (Wyo.)
Fur trade
Grattan Massacre
Hollow Horn Bear
Indians of North America — History
Iron Shell
Little Wound
Lone Dog
Oglala Indians
Rain in the Face
Raymond, Enoch Wheeler
Sheldon, Addison Erwin, 1861-1943
Siouan Indians
Spotted Tail, 1823-1881
Swift Bear
Two Strikes
Waggoner, Josephine, 1872-1943
White Thunder

EL/ksa 07-1992
rev. kfk 02-21-2003
02-23-2010 Revised TMM

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