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Paper Medicine Man: John Gregory Bourke and…

Paper Medicine Man: John Gregory Bourke and His American West

by Joseph C. Porter

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John Gregory Bourke was a U.S. Army officer who became an ethnologist, military historian, and prolific writer on the American West. Bourke spent most of his military service in the post-Civil War West. After graduating from West Point, he fought in last-stand battles with the Sioux, Northern Cheyennes, and Apaches. He was in General George Crook's command, pursuing the fugitive Chiricahua Apaches into the rugged Sierra Madre. Bourke's contacts with Indians brought a growing interest in their lifeways and ceremonies. Ranging from Texas and Mexico north through Hopi and Zuni lands to Montana, Idaho, and the Rockies, Bourke observed and made extensive field notes. The Apaches began calling him "Paper Medicine Man." To the Sioux he was "Ink Man." Bourke began publishing his observations and quickly developed a reputation as an accurate reporter of American Indian customs and rituals, earning praise from John Wesley Powell, Theodore Roosevelt, Francis Parkman, and Sigmund   Freud. Bourke also wrote firsthand military history, chronicling Crook's exploits in the classic On the Border with Crook, which established him as one of the first historians of the Indian Wars. Based on prodigious research and drawing on Bourke's voluminous diary, Paper Medicine Man is an adventure in itself.… (more)



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