July 28, 2012

Black Kettle items on History Detectives

PBS show to feature American Indian history

History Detectives, a show on PBS, will feature Oklahoma and artifacts that possibly belonged to Cheyenne Chief Black Kettle

By Adam Kemp
They were once used as “show and tell” items to impress his elementary school classmates, and George Bryson is about to find out whether his family heirlooms are actually important pieces in American Indian history.

For as long as he can remember, Bryson said, his family has been in possession of leggings and an American Indian gorget they think belonged to a Cheyenne leader, Chief Black Kettle.

Bryson's story is the subject of an upcoming episode of PBS' History Detectives, which investigates mysteries of history and local folklore by connecting family legends and interesting objects to the real truth.

The show, which will air from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday on PBS, is hosted by independent appraiser and auctioneer Wes Cowan and also features an Oklahoma tribal leader and an Oklahoma park guide.

Cowan said he was skeptical when he arrived at Bryson's house in Vermont to investigate the red leggings and silver plated gorget, a type of amulet or collar worn by people with high stature within the tribe, but was intrigued when he heard the story of Bryson's great-great-uncle salvaging the two pieces from the Battle of the Washita River in Cheyenne in November 1868.

The battle, which is referred to by some as the Washita Massacre, was between the Cheyenne tribe and the 7th U.S. Calvary led by Lt. Col. George Custer.
Comment:  For more on Indians and History Detectives, see Movie Ledger on History Detectives and Modoc War on History Detectives.

Below:  "History Detectives host Wes Cowan sets out to discover whether the Indian neckpiece and leggings once adorned a Cheyenne Peace Chief named Chief Black Kettle."

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