Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

'Indian chief' con man wasn't even Native American


August 20, 2018

On March 8, 1918, Simon Bamberger, the governor of Utah, gave his blessing for a wedding to take place in the state capitol. Chief White Elk, a distinguished Cherokee and an American war hero, would marry Burtha Thompson, a half-white, half-Native American woman who went by Princess Ah-Tra-Ah-Saun.

The wedding was a grand, public affair. A prestigious local jeweler donated an 18-karat Tiffany wedding band, and a local military commander honored the chief’s service by bestowing full military honors on the ceremony. The wedding was also covered by local newspapers The Salt Lake Tribune and the East Oregonian.


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