Author Topic: chief samuel little fox  (Read 9582 times)

Offline verity

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Re: chief samuel little fox
« Reply #30 on: May 21, 2021, 04:20:34 am »
Dr. William Hawk/ William Danes Gerritsen did not write favorably of Samuel "Sonny" Stevens Boyd Jr. "Chief Little Fox" (who he refers to as Samuel Stevens Jr.).

He writes that when  Lila Elizabeth Harding/ Princess Brown Thrush was in the hospital for cancer treatment in 1983, Little Fox moved into her home "which was also Tackapusha Longhouse.

Little Fox was in his 30s at the time. When he was very young an accident left him speech impaired. Brown Thrush had appointed him "junior chief". Dr. Hawk refers to him as "obviously unsuitable".

John Williams/ Little Moose had retired. Princess Brown Thrush was ill. Little Fox proclaimed himself "chief of the tribe".

Then Osceola Townsend, who had been a member of Anne Harding Murdock's ( related group, returned to the area and stated that "he comes before Little Fox does" in terms of succession.

Princess Brown Thrush retired. Little Fox was evicted from her home.

Fighting about this continues to this day. These extended family groups have a long history of infighting and schisms.

Offline educatedindian

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Re: chief samuel little fox
« Reply #31 on: May 21, 2021, 06:32:32 pm »
I got a copy of the thesis "The revitalization of the Matinnecock Indian tribe of New York", by William Hawk, 1984, Ph. D. University of Wisconsin--Madison through inter-library loan.

Dr. William Hawk (1929 - 2006, obit: ) described himself as "I was Nissequoques, and Nissequoques were once Matinnecocks. I was an anthropologist and anthropologists are supposed to know a lot about Indians." This description is by way of him explaining why he became this group's "faith keeper".

Dr. Hawk's thesis provides background on the group(s) "Chief Little Fox" comes from.

Dr. Hawk wrote that the "tribe" (his use of quotes) was a "network of kinship reinforced by a strong tradition of Indian heritage".

Dr. Willliam Hawk was appointed "Faith-keeper of the Longhouse" in 1973 by Lila Harding/Brown Thrush and John Williams/Little Moose. He then held naming ceremonies, Spirit Feasts (Ghost Supper), seasonal celebrations, and pipe ceremonies (which he described as a Pan-Indian procedure that he knew quite well).

He introduced the idea of menstrual taboos to the group, he writes that he was somewhat apprehensive about how this would be received but that the women accepted the taboos easily.

He created what he called a "Neo-Algonkian" language for ceremonial use. He introduced to this group use of prayer sticks, pictographs, pipes, tobacco, cedar incense, eagle feathers, Pendleton blankets, and war clubs.

I mean ......... I read all this as - a white anthropologist taught a group of non-Native black people how to continue to play Indian. He described what he helped create as a "neo-traditional religion".

So most everything "Chief Little Fox" does is based on this created "neo-traditional religion".

A lot of it was not only never used by Matinnecocks. Never used by any people in the area:
Pendleton blankets are mostly out west. Prayer sticks are mostly in the SW, mainly Pueblo. Though plenty of Nuage sites now have DIY versions and even Costco sells Pendletons.
Longhouses mostly from Iroquois down to Pamunkey in VA. Not so much New England tribes.
A lot he just assumed was universal.

Offline verity

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Re: chief samuel little fox
« Reply #32 on: May 21, 2021, 07:33:16 pm »
This dissertation by Dr. William Hawk astounds me. He lays out in great detail how he created his own "neo-traditional religion".  He lays out the liturgy he invented. He writes about how he offered this group a menu of choices and then incorporated them. He observes that his invented religion was quickly adopted by the group who then stated that the beliefs were ancient.

Twentieth century Matinnecocks had a great deal to learn if they wished to recreate an authentic indigenous religion. The task of teaching them basic Great Lakes Algonkian theology fell to Wallace Pyawasit and and myself. Pyawasit's contributions were enormous.

During the summer, tribesmen of both sexes and all ages visit my camp in Michigan. While there, they learn still more about "Indian religion", at least as I understand it.

The group wanted a more formal religious bestowing of names ceremony, he invented one.

He introduced "the concept of 'Manitou' " to them that they adopted. He discarded other possibilities: "I really did not know what to do with Kauntantowit, so I did nothing at all with him". He added in anything he himself personally liked, such as eagle bone whistles.

Dr. William Hawk seemed to both know exactly what he was doing but also to be willfully ignorant. Maybe even condescending and arrogant. Maybe a fraud who mostly believed in his own self image of superiority ? He put this creation of a pan-Indian religion in anthropological context and somehow this dissertation was accepted. Yet he also writes that when he discovered some carved sticks in a drawer of a relative that they were "of course" Indian.

He can be seen in some photos that this group posts on Facebook. Current members may not know that Dr. William Hawk invented their religion.

"Chief Little Fox" took on his name before this reinvention. But all the ceremonies, the "Indian language", seasonal events, and religious trappings that he uses are now all from Hawk. Hawk took what the group already had from pretendian fraternal organizations, performances,  and black Christian church life and maneuvered them into what he claimed was a true Indian religious group.

Offline verity

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Re: chief samuel little fox
« Reply #33 on: May 21, 2021, 07:43:18 pm »
The Matinnecock entry in the Encyclopedia of North American Indians; Boston  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Frederick E Hoxie, ed.(Dec 1, 1996) was written by "William Hawk (Matinnecock), Eastern New Mexico University".

Tribal leadership has been a recurrent problem since the death of Ann Murdock in 1969.

At present the tribe has a chief, but some reject his authority.

Like the Algonquian remnants of southern New England, the Matinnecocks are now involved in a regional form of Pan-Indianism. An unknown number have been assimilated by the black and white communities, but a core group cling steadfastly to their Native American identity.

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Re: chief samuel little fox
« Reply #34 on: May 23, 2021, 08:26:20 pm »
Donna "Gentle Spirit" Barron is  "the family Historian and Genealogist for her Matinecock tribe".

I think she is part of the faction currently opposed to Chef Little Fox. But they all claim lineage from the same extended families and individuals, including Ann (Harding) Murdock

Donna Barron's work can be found on Find a Grave and She regularly does public events including lectures

My name is Donna Barron. I am a Matinecock/Montaukett Indian. I am my family's Historian. My Native Spirit Name is Manitou Yohkayut (Gentle Spirit) also known as The Soul of the East Wind. I defend my own and my family's honor. I pledged allegiance to the old ways of our ancestors. My name is known to the Four winds. I carry a tomahawk as a reminder of Warriors who died defending the oath of the old ways.

 I was called to be the storyteller for my people. It was written in the stars before I was born. I am the voice for my ancestors. Sharing the true history of my Long Island Native family and their Ancestors. I enjoy sharing our history with the young. For our children are our future. A`HOY

She isn't actually a historian, or at least not a good one. What she posts on Find a Grave and ancestry,com is usually not accurate. Genealogy is mangled, records not used properly, and a lot of wishful thinking is applied. 

She also titles herself as "Princess".