Washington NFL team's "honored" namesake, "Lone Star" Dietz, a fraud

In testimony presented in legal proceedings, the Washington, D.C., NFL team stated that it chose its nickname to "honor" an early coach of the team, William "Lone Star" Dietz, who was supposedly of American Indian heritage.  Just as  the Washington football team's contention that its nickname "honors" Native Peoples is a lie, new research has proven that claims made regarding Dietz's alleged American Indian heritage were fraudulent.

Reclaiming James One Star

A special five part series to "Indian Country Today" 
by Linda Waggoner


"The Washington Redskins claim that the name of their franchise derives from a 1930ís honoring of the teamís head coach William "Lone Star" Dietz, who, they state, was Native American. In the previous four parts of this series it is learned that William Henry "Lone Star" Dietz was not Oglala Lakota, that he did not attend Chiocco Indian School, and that the romantic story of his birth and childhood in South Dakota was fabricated."

Read this entire exposť at the following links.

2004/07/02 - SPECIAL REPORT: Reclaiming James One Star

2004/07/12 - Reclaiming James One Star (Part Two)

2004/07/20 - Reclaiming James One Star (Part Three)

2004/07/27 - Reclaiming James One Star (part four)

2004/08/02 - Reclaiming James One Star (conclusion)

"Linda Waggoner has taught for 12 years in the American Multicultural Studies and Philosophy departments at Sonoma State University in California. She is currently finishing a biography on Winnebago artist and educator Angel DeCora Dietz (1869 - 1919) and has written "Neither White Men Nor Indians", published in 2002."  

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A40891-2002Jan25&notFound=true 

Washington Post
American Indians Among Admirers Of Redskins Name

By Marc Fisher
Saturday, January 26, 2002

"The official story, says team spokesman Karl Swanson, is that when the Boston Braves football team left Braves Field to play at Fenway Park in 1933, owner George Preston Marshall needed a new name for his squad.

"He chose Redskins in honor of Lone Star Dietz, the team's coach and an Indian who often wore an eagle feather headdress, beaded deerskin jacket and buckskin moccasins. Dietz brought four to six -- accounts vary -- Indian players with him to Boston from the Haskell Indian School in Kansas, where he had coached for four years. "

(Truncated)

PRO-FOOTBALL, INC.,

Plaintiff,

v.

SUZAN SHOWN HARJO, et al.,

Defendants.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Civil Action No. 99-1385 (CKK)

MEMORANDUM OPINION

(September 30, 2003)

2. The Washington Redskins and this Litigation

a. The Origins of the Trademarks at Issue

Plaintiff Pro-Football, Inc. is a Maryland corporation with its principal place of business

in Virginia. Pro-Football is the owner of the Washington Redskins, a professional football

franchise located in the Washington, D.C. area, and one of the thirty-two member clubs of the

National Football League ("NFL"). Pl.ís Local Civil Rule 7.1(h) Statement of Material Facts in

Supp. of Its Mot. for Summ. J. ("Pl.ís Stmt.") ∂∂ 1-2; Compl. ∂ 4. On or about July 8, 1932,

George Preston Marshall, along with Vincent Bendix, Jay OíBrien, and Dorland Doyle,

purchased a then-inactive Boston National Football League franchise. Pl.ís Stmt. ∂ 3. Within

the year, his co-owners dropped out and Mr. Marshall was left as the sole owner of the franchise.

Id. The Boston team played the 1932 season in Braves Field, home of Bostonís then-National

League baseball team, and like the baseball team, were known as "The Braves." Id. ∂ 4. On or

about July 8, 1933, Mr. Marshall officially changed the name of his franchise from the "Boston

Braves" to the "Boston Redskins." Id. ∂ 5. Mr. Marshall chose to rename his franchise the

Redskins in honor of the teamís head coach, William "Lone Star" Dietz, who was a Native

 American.  (Accent added)

 

 

 

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SPECIAL REPORT: Reclaiming James One Star The Legacy of Coach Lone Star Dietz and the Washington Redskins (Part One)

Posted: July 02, 2004 - 9:01am EST
http://www.indiancountry.com/?1088773683
by: Linda Waggoner / Sonoma State University

SPECIAL TO INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY

Pine Ridge So Dak.

Jan. 29 1914.

[De]ar sir.

Please I want you to do little thing for me. I like know where is one star or lone star i think name is james one star or lone star. he left the oglala reservation many years he is going to school. some where i think go to carlisle ind sch. and he never get home and last iheard he was outto soldier some wherebut i heard come back to school again he only got one sister lives so she like to know where is he now. i think he is 40 or over years old by this time iwant you to do that right the away and you let me know you try to finde out please.

your truly

Chas Yellow Boy

Long ago a boy was born in the western territory of the Dakotas. His name was James One Star, though how he came by this name is no longer known. It may have been given to him when he was born, along with a traditional Oglala birth order name. It may have been a sacred clan name, bestowed upon him by his elders, marking the onset of an early manhood. Perhaps it was only his "English" name, appropriated to him by U.S. officials so he could be easily identified on tribal rolls. Since the name of his father is unknown, this name indicates a close relationship with the boys maternal uncle, who was known simply as "One Star."

The elder One Star portrayed a Plains Indian warrior in Buffalo Bills Wild West Show. While attending the 1904 St. Louis Worlds Fair, he met a young man and was compelled to tell him about his nephew, James One Star. Maybe there was something about the young man that touched One Star, allowing his words to flow freely from his heart. He began to share the sadness and loss he felt, because his beloved nephew had been missing for over 10 years. William Henry Dietz, athletic in spirit and imaginative by nature, was mesmerized by the gentle warriors romantic tale. As a result of this fateful meeting, James One Star would begin to fade into oblivion, and in his place, "Lone Star" Dietz was born.


But whats in a name, really? Arent "One Star" and "Lone Star" nearly interchangeable? Charles Yellow Boy wanted to believe they were. In fact, in 1914 when he wrote to the superintendent of the Carlisle Indian and Industrial School in Carlisle, Pa., he thought maybe the two names identified the same man. He hoped to tell Sally Eagle Horse her brother was alive. After all, from the Lakota language, Wicarhpi Isnala, can be translated as either "One Star," "Only Star," or "Lone Star" - though in the idiom of American English, a "Lone Star" to all appearances outshines them all.

In order to reclaim James One Star, its essential to examine the legacy of the man who virtually replaced him, William Henry Dietz (1884 - 1964), alias "Lone Star." Though dead for 40 years, Dietz is currently at the center of a controversy where names are significant. Officially, the conflict began in 1992 when seven American Indians, headed by well-known Cheyenne writer and activist, Suzan Shown Harjo, confronted the Washington Redskins football franchise, requesting that it cancel six of its trademarks in lieu of the Lanham act, which prohibits the registration of names that are "disparaging, scandalous, contemptuous or disreputable." The defense, Redskins owner, Pro-Football Inc., answered the charge with the counterclaim that the name was not disparaging but "honorific" to Native Americans and further added that it "would face massive financial losses if it lost the exclusivity of the brand it had marketed for 36 years." In April of 1999 the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled for the plaintiffs, agreeing to cancel the trademark, but pending appeal.

When the decision was made, a satisfied Harjo exclaimed, "the judges agreed with us that the R-word never was honorific and is not ... now." But the victory for Harjo and Native America was short lived. The clubs current owner, Daniel Snyder, immediately appealed the decision and defended the teams name by revealing its "honorific" tribute to an Oglala Sioux from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, none other than William "Lone Star" Dietz.

In Indian Country Today Harjo stated that as soon as the appeal was filed, the team "lawyers trekked out to South Dakota in a modern-day version of the white man trading trinkets for Manhattan. The chief-makers gave away jerseys, jackets and hats sporting the teams name and asked for signatures on a paper saying the R-word is an honor." The 1999 ruling was overturned last fall, though not as a result of the field trip to Pine Ridge. The Washington team is to remain racially and offensively red-skinned - at least thats how those opposed to the name hear it.

But the team representatives perceive the name differently. For them "Redskins" is more than skin-deep; it is deeply nostalgic. And team nostalgia is a common sentiment invoked in the many "Indian" mascot and sport team name disputes, as shown in the "Factual Background" for the appeal made by the attorneys for Pro-Football Inc.:

On or about July 8, 1932, George Preston Marshall, along with Vincent Bendix, Jay OBrien, and Dorland Doyle, purchased a then-inactive Boston National Football League franchise. Within the year, his co-owners dropped out and Mr. Marshall was left as the sole owner of the franchise. The Boston team played the 1932 season at Braves Field, home of Bostons then-national baseball team, and like the baseball team, were known as "The Braves." On or about July 8, 1933, Mr. Marshall officially changed the name of his franchise from the "Boston Braves" to the Boston Redskins." Mr. Marshall chose to rename his franchise the Redskins in honor of the teams head coach, William "Lone Star" Dietz, who was a Native American.

But was William "Lone Star" Dietz truly an American Indian? The answer to this question may surprise most everyone involved in the case.

(Continued in Part Two)

Linda Waggoner has taught for 12 years in the American Multicultural Studies and Philosophy departments at Sonoma State University in California. She is currently finishing a biography on Winnebago artist and educator Angel DeCora Dietz (1869 - 1919) and has written "Neither White Men Nor Indians," published in 2002.

©2004 Indian Country Today
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Reclaiming James One Star (part four)
http://www.indiancountry.com/?1090938421
Posted: July 27, 2004 - 10:24am EST
by: Linda Waggoner / Sonoma State University

Special to Indian Country Today: Part Four

(The Washington Redskins claim that the name of their franchise derives from a 1930s honoring of the teams head coach William "Lone Star" Dietz, who, they state, was Native American. In the previous three parts of this series it is learned that William Henry "Lone Star" Dietz was not Oglala Lakota, that he did not attend Chilocco Indian School, and that the romantic story of his birth and childhood in South Dakota was fabricated.)

Dietz was not a Plains Indian, and John C. Ewers, "one of the nations foremost scholars in the ethnology of the Plains Indians and the history of the West," should have noticed that the childhood story Dietz provided for "How Art Misrepresents the Indian" does not match the historical timeline of the Lakota people, let alone the historical timeline of his real family.

He was born far too late for the "uprisings" surrounding the Bozeman Trail led by Red Cloud, or any of the outbreaks related to the transcontinental railroad surveys through Lakota territory, not to mention the invasion of the Black Hills by miners and the final, so called, "breaking of Sioux resistance" in 1877. All these events had been well over by 1884, the year of Dietzs birth. Even the last transcontinental line of the Northern Pacific had been completed by 1883, two years after Chief Sitting Bull had returned from his Canadian exodus to find himself an ironic and iconic guest of honor at the opening ceremonies - and still Dietz had not yet been born.

Dietz never lived in South Dakota. He grew up in Rice Lake, Wis., at least from infancy if not from birth. Census records, newspapers, court documents and a birth certificate confirm this. Although his father was a German American, he had never worked as a civil engineer. He was the village marshall of Rice Lake when his son was born. There is some possibility that Dietz had Native ancestry through his mother, but she was not an Oglala woman or named Julia One Star, as he claimed. Regardless of his biological origin, however, culturally speaking, the highly imaginative and creative William Henry Dietz was raised as a typical Euro-American boy who might have been, as a family member confided, teased for "looking Indian."

But none of this is really a crime. What is criminal is that "Lone Star" Dietz created himself from the traces of the missing Oglala man, James One Star. One Star was born about 1872 (in time for the outbreaks), grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, was taken to Carlisle Indian school in 1889 (the year of the Ghost Dance revival), enlisted in the army at Carlisle, Pa. on August 9, 1892, and disappeared when he was discharged in Alabama on Sept. 15, 1894.

On February 1, 1919 (just five days before DeCora died) the Associated Press reported that "the Indian coach" was a "Teuton." Dietz was indicted for falsifying his draft registration in claiming he was "One Star," a Pine Ridge allottee who had non-citizen Indian status, making him exempt from military service. A newspaper excerpt from the trial told how it all began:

Before going to Carlisle, he visited St. Louis at the time of the Worlds Fair, and met an Indian there who told him that he was undoubtedly One Star, his mother being Julia One Star. He got into correspondence with Sally Eagle Horse, who had a brother, One Star, who had left home when 16 years of age, and had never been heard from again. So he decided to take the name of Lone Star, it meaning the same as One Star.

During the trial, the prosecution called the Oglala "sister" Dietz claimed was his own. Through an interpreter, Sally Eagle Horse confirmed she had not heard from James One Star for nearly 30 years - just before he entered the army after leaving Carlisle in 1892. She further testified that her brother had a scar on his forehead where he was hit with an axe, his ears had been pierced and he had different features. No, Lone Star Dietz was not her brother. The two other witnesses from Pine Ridge agreed and believed Dietz was really a "white man," even though he had collected two annuity payments in 1916 meant for James One Star.

Yet this was probably not just because he needed the money. 1916 was the year of his teams highly-publicized victory at Pasadenas Rose Bowl, after which a St. Paul, Minn. newspaper report asked how could Dietz be "Indian" when he was "German" when he had attended college in St. Paul. Maybe Dietz panicked and applied for James One Stars annuity so his existence would be recorded. The day he was indicted he stated: "If they want the truth as to whether Im an Indian they can look me up in the records of Pine Ridge, Dakota Indian reservation, or at Carlisle where I played football."

Military records show that the family of James One Star feared he had died during the Spanish American War, and in 1908 had also inquired about his whereabouts. Both the Secretary of the Association of Indian Rights, M.K. Sniffen, and Richard Henry Pratt, Carlisle Indian Schools founder, wrote to the War Department. The answer to these queries indicate that One Star did not seem to benefit from his Indian education at Carlisle, where Pratt supported the principle, "Kill the Indian in him and save the Man." James One Star was dishonorably discharged two years after his enlistment, primarily because his military commander decided he was "a worthless drunkard." There is no known record of his whereabouts since then.

(Concluded in Part Five)

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Reclaiming James One Star (conclusion)
Special to Indian Country Today
http://www.indiancountry.com/?1091496309
Posted: August 02, 2004 - 9:21pm EST
by: Linda Waggoner / Sonoma State University

Special to Indian Country Today: Part Five of Five

(The Washington Redskins claim that the name of their franchise derives from a 1930s honoring of the teams head coach William "Lone Star" Dietz, who, they state, was Native American. In the previous four parts of this series it is learned that William Henry "Lone Star" Dietz was not Oglala Lakota, that he did not attend Chiocco Indian School, and that the romantic story of his birth and childhood in South Dakota was fabricated.)

In 1914 Charles Yellow Boy inquired again (as shown earlier). But Moses Friedman, superintendent of Carlisle Indian School, received his letter right at the onset of the Congressional Investigation. This was not a good time for Friedman, who was in the hot seat for incompetence and fraud. His reply to Yellow Boy was brief. James One Star died in Cuba. The family should write to the War Department for the details. But there is absolutely no evidence for this conclusion - War Department records do not support it. Perhaps, the superintendent wanted to protect the family from the humility of a dishonorable discharge. Or he simply did not take the time to research the case.

In the end no one seemed to care about Sally or her missing brother or the many lies Dietz told. They only tried to determine whether or not Dietz was "part Indian" - and it seems any "part" would do. As one newspaper reported, the testimony Dietzs white mother gave, "reads like a novel." She testified that "Billy" had been substituted about a week or two after she gave birth to a stillborn child on Aug. 17, 1884, and her own mother, Leanna Barry, agreed. Barry claimed that the elder Dietz convinced his wife to take in a baby he had fathered with a woman from "the Sioux and Chippewa tribe," she guessed. "You see Rice Lake was wild then and everything was woods and brush, and full of Indians."

Other testimony, however, did not support the women's story. A neighbor swore she saw Mrs. Dietz the day before and the day after she gave birth to a child who grew up to be Willie Dietz. And a Rice Lake newspaper from August 1884 reported that the elder Dietz was passing out cigars to his friends at his home the day after the alleged stillbirth, contradicting Barry's testimony that no one came around for a couple of weeks to see the new baby. The elder Dietz would have been pretty cruel to pass out cigars the day after his wife lost a baby, not to mention passing them out days before he had allegedly convinced her to take in his illegitimate child. Whether or not he was this unfeeling, the prosecution tried to prove that if Dietz had Indian ancestry, it had come from his white mother, one way or another.

Dietz stated the story his mother and grandmother told was true. He testified that he did not find out about his "real" mother until overhearing an argument between his parents when he was 16. Racialist confusion likely led to a hung jury. What did it mean in 1919 to be an Indian? For most, it was a racial classification with distinct biological attributes that were universally applicable to all in the race. Culture? What did that have to do with anything? Still, in January of the next year a judge convicted Dietz and sent him to jail for 30 days. But despite the conviction, Dietz continued to perpetuate the lie, claiming he had been "persecuted." He remained Lone Star Dietz, Oglala son of Julia One Star, on his social security form in the 1940s, in magazine and newspaper interviews, in confidences between friends.

In 1964 Dietz died a poor man in Reading, Penn., where he had for several years coached the Albright College Football team. And to honor this "football hero and teacher" with "high moral character," Albrights "Varsity Club" paid most of his medical expenses before he died. They also purchased a plot and headstone for him in Reading on which they had inscribed the name "Lone Star."

Although James One Star has been forgotten, his removal has not been without effect, as evidenced by the current court battle. It's strange that no one seems to remember how residents of Pine Ridge had denied Lone Star's claim to James One Stars identity years ago. Today the only criticism against the claim has been whether or not Lone Star had lived long enough with the Oglala to claim their heritage. As Suzan Shown Harjo has written: "Dietz had a Sioux mother, but was raised by his German fathers family, far to the east of Sioux country. His first contact with Indians was in his late teens in the federal boarding school in Carlisle, Penn."

Well, he surely did not live with the Oglala (a division of the western Sioux) for any length of time, and he was 22 when he entered Carlisle. But there were eastern Sioux, particularly "mixed-blood" Dakota, and there were Ojibway from Lac Court Oreilles Reservation, and Ho-chunk who inhabited areas in and around Rice Lake, Wis., when Dietz was a boy. His father even had unearthed Indian graves on their property when "Billy" was a toddler. As his grandmother kept reiterating, "Oh, everything was full of Indians ... There were several tribes there." Even if Dietz did not have American Indian ancestry, his "first contact" occurred well before he reached Carlisle. As his grandmother explained, "Willie was so Indian in the mind," he sometimes "run along" with "Indian women." Perhaps, his father did too, perhaps not.

But what about James One Star? Even some people at Pine Ridge, it seems, have been misled by a name, forgetting that their real brother never returned home. Have they also been blinded by Lone Stars legacy? Or did they forget their history and James One Stars story, because it was all too painful to remember?

Its time to reclaim the Native boy, though he did not make the transition easily from the plains of South Dakota to a boarding school in Pennsylvania that sought to "kill the Indian in him." Its time to reclaim the young Lakota warrior, though he did not find honor or display valor in his Anglo-Americas military. Its time to reclaim the lost Oglala man, who died an unceremonious, and, perhaps, an unlamented death. Its time to reclaim James One Star and bring him home, if not in body, then in spirit - and if not in spirit, then in name. Its not surprising that the Washington Redskins are inspired by a misnomer, a fake and a fraud. What is surprising is that James One Star has been forgotten, and we have not seemed to notice. Though the Indian in him was saved to become a Lone Star, the man that he became simply vanished.

Linda Waggoner has taught for 12 years in the American Multicultural Studies and Philosophy departments at Sonoma State University in California. She is currently finishing a biography on Winnebago artist and educator Angel DeCora Dietz (1869 - 1919) and has written "Neither White Men Nor Indians", published in 2002.


©2004 Indian Country Today

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