Buffalo Bill performer reburied at SD reservation
BY Associated Press
Sunday, September 09, 2012
9/09/12 at 6:39 AM
The remains of a man who died young while touring the world with Buffalo Bill were hidden for more than a century in an unmarked grave some 1,700 miles from his South Dakota Indian reservation.
Now Albert Afraid of Hawk is returning home. He'll be reburied Sunday in accordance with Lakota tradition, thanks largely to a curious and persistent Connecticut history buff.
Bob Young uncovered records of the Oglala Sioux member's death at a Connecticut hospital after a bout with food poisoning from eating bad corn. A few years ago, Young pieced the details together and reached out to Afraid of Hawk's family members.
"It's something that should have happened a long time ago, but it didn't," said Marlis Afraid of Hawk, 54, whose father, Daniel Afraid of Hawk, is Albert's last living nephew. "... Nobody even questioned where he is buried or where this person is. It was left at that."
Afraid of Hawk began traveling with Buffalo Bill's world-famous troupe known as the Congress of Rough Riders of the World two years before he died at age 20. He was among a rotating cast that helped educate and entertain thousands of spectators.
Last month, Marlis Afraid of Hawk, Daniel Afraid of Hawk and other relatives traveled to Connecticut from their homes on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota to witness the disinterment of Albert's remains.
Young, president of a museum in Danbury, Conn., had identified the location of Afraid of Hawk's grave at a cemetery there.
"At the start, it was just another research project, but each piece I came up with got me more interested," said Young, who was working at the cemetery at the time of the discovery.
Afraid of Hawk was born in 1879, the third of seven children belonging to Emil Afraid of Hawk and his wife, White Mountain. His brother, Richard, was among the survivors of the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890.
Afraid of Hawk joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West show in 1898 with a childhood friend from the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and apparently sent money back to family members living on the Pine Ridge reservation.
Original Print Headline: Sioux actor returning to relatives
This 1899 portrait, provided by The Library of Congress, shows Albert Afraid of Hawk. Library of Congress / AP