Lakota Country Times: Reunion for descendants of Pine Ridge legend 'Big Bat' Pourier

Paul Iron Cloud. Photo by Jerry Matthews

Big Bat Family Reunion
By Jerry Matthews
Lakota Country Times Correspondent

More than 300 people, all descendants of Big Bat, gathered at Story Book Island for a family reunion on July 14, 2016. And we are not talking about Big Bat, the gas station owner. We are talking about Baptiste "Big Bat" Pourier, the interpreter for the Oglala Sioux during the 1800's.

Matt Amiotte had dedicated a lot of effort into compiling a genealogy of Big Bat descendants and provided a copy to the attendees. Included were artists, educators, award winning lawyer Marvin Amiotte, former tribal chairman, council representatives, as well as athletes, cattle ranchers and Rodeo riders. It was an eye opener for me as I read through the many members of the descendants of Big Bat Pourier.

There was a lot of joking and laughter as the picnic was filled with stories and reminders of “Hey you promised you would never tell that story”. And “I thought everybody would forget about that time." But it was a fun filled time for everybody.

The gathering did get quiet when Tawa Ducheneaux addressed the crowd. Tawa is the head of the Oglala Lakota Archives located in the library at Piya Wiconi. Lovie McGaa (Livia) was born in 1884 and was six years old at the time of the Wounded Knee Massacre. She lived to see her 100th birthday.

The Oglala Lakota Archives received from her family, her letters, and correspondence. One of these items was a letter she had written about the events just prior to, during, and after the Wounded Knee Massacre.

Especially heart breaking was to hear of the rampage by the drunken soldiers in ransacking and destroying the family homes in the districts after the massacre. Even the dolls of the children were broken and shattered. If you get a chance, stop by the archives and review this letter and other tribal memories.

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During the honoring portion of the event, special attention was called upon Paul Iron Cloud, Sr. Paul is a many time Tribal Council Representative. He is a former tribal chairman. He is a nationally honored and recognized leader in the field of Indian housing. He has also served on the school board for the Porcupine School, and a strong advocate in Indian Country. Paul is a great-great grandson (four generations) of Big Bat Pourier.

We were not able to get a big picture of everybody in attendance because about the time we were going to do that, a cloud burst hit the gathering. As everybody ran for their cars, there were many shouts of we are going to have to do this again.

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