Ellis presents research findings at Oklahoma City conference
Clyde Ellis, Professor of History and University Distinguished Scholar, spoke on his most recent research at the sixth-annual Material Culture of the Plains, Prairie, and Plateau Conference in Oklahoma City, Oct. 16-19.
His paper, "We Want to Live Like the Indians: The Early Indian Hobbyist Movement in the United States, 1900-1940," came out of his current book project, a history and ethnography that examines how, why and with what consequences white, middle-class Americans sought to use Indian lore to address social and cultural problems in the 20th century.
During this trip, Dr. Ellis also arranged for the delivery to the Oklahoma History Society of an extremely significant private collection of contemporary Southern Plains tribal songs assembled over a span of more than 50 years by the late Ralph Kotay. Kotay, who died on Sept. 19, 2008, was a full-blooded Kiowa and was widely regarded as one of his generation's preeminent singers. He was also a co-author with Ellis and Dr. Luke Eric Lassiter for their 2002 book The Jesus Road: Kiowas, Christianity, and Indian Hymns, a book that was named to Choice magazine's list of the most significant university press titles published in 2001-2002.
The collection consists of several hundred recordings of a wide variety of songs from some of Oklahoma's most important tribes. When it becomes available for use by the public, it will constitute one of the most important such collections in the Western United States.