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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



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