Former band director weighs in

By Morrall

As the controversy concerning the Chief’s regalia continues, former band director Gary Smith says he doesn’t understand why the tribe wants the items back now.

“Frank Fools Crow, Chief Whirlwind Horse…they were in support of it. I’m trying to figure out what caused them to change their minds, you know, when they thought that what we were doing was Okay.”

Documents uncovered by the University indicate the eagle-feather headdress was returned to Chief Fools Crow’s family in 1991. The Chief and Assistant Chief currently wear two headdresses made from turkey feathers. In their request, the Oglala Sioux also asked the Chief to cease its dance, despite the fact Smith says the tribe used to invite Chiefs to learn their dances and rituals.

“We had communications with Pine Ridge Reservations for many, many years. The Chiefs have gone out there and studied the dance and met with them for many, many years. We had a big relationship with them.”

Smith bought the regalia for 35 hundred dollars from Frank Fools Crow in 1982.