Column: Arapaho Chief Friday was caught between two worlds

"Western movies and literature have given us an image of the Native American in the Wild West as fierce, frightening and bloodthirsty. Not so when it comes to Friday Fitzpatrick. Etched into his proud, craggy face were the pain and sorrow he knew through decades of straddling two cultures, finding both reward and sadness in each world.

In 1831 young Warshinun, or Black Spot, somehow got separated from his Arapaho tribe and was found wandering, lost and alone, near where the Santa Fe trail crossed the Cimarron River. Thomas (“Broken Hand”) Fitzpatrick, who had explored with John C. Fremont, found the boy, assumed responsibility for him and dubbed him Friday because of the day he was found.

Fitzpatrick took the boy to St. Louis, where he lived among white people, learning English and the ways of the white world. In time, he yearned to return to his own people, and sometime in the mid-1830s he did. His education and knowledge of whites earned him status with his tribe, and he became a leader, thereafter known as Chief Friday."

Get the Story:
Barbara Fleming: A chief caught between two worlds (The Coloradoan 9/3)

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