American history has almost completely edited out Henry Roe Cloud from its story, even though this full-blood Winnebago was one of the most accomplished and celebrated American Indians in the first half of the twentieth century. Joel Pfister’s The Yale Indian: The Education of Henry Roe Cloud corrects this omission.
Pfister, chair of the English Department and the Kenan Professor of the Humanities, and former chair of the American Studies Program, began exploring American Indian archives when he was a Yale doctoral student in the 1980s and started his research on Yale’s Roe Cloud letters in 1995. Very little has been published about the experiences of the few American Indians who beat tremendous odds to make it to college in the early 1900s. Pfister aimed to find out more about the undergraduate years of one of the most inspiring advocates of higher education for Native Americans.
Next year marks the 100th anniversary of Roe Cloud’s graduation from Yale College in 1910. His portrait does not hang in Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library,