Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Memories Of An Old Priest Still Illuminate Our Time

From Oregon-

The Rev. John Roberts was our family priest from 1883 until his death in 1949. In a cheering change of pace, we white people were something of an afterthought to him compared to the Shoshone and Arapaho Indians who were his enthusiastic focus.

A Welshman, Roberts was 30 when he arrived on the Wind River Indian Reservation. This was a few years after President Ulysses S. Grant in effect “gave” the Shoshones to the Episcopal Church in an early version of modern-day faith-based initiatives designed to enlist religious denominations in aiding needy citizens.

Father Roberts became friends with both Chief Washakie and his fellow old soldier, my great-great-grandfather Sgt. Ed Alton. Washakie’s legend still shines radiantly from that bedarkened time. In “Son of the Morning Star,” a masterpiece about Custer and the Little Big Horn, author Evan Connell paints this lush picture of a preliminary June 17, 1876 battle: “embarrassing scenes alternated with moments of intense beauty. Chief Washakie, the great Shoshone, rode naked to the waist, wearing a bonnet with so many feathers that they swept the earth.”

More here-

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