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Special Collections and Archives


22 open reel recordings of approximately 17 hours of Native American music in native languages and 3 digitized images.

Gift of Frank Andrews (collector), 2002. Processed by Mark G. Thiel, CA (Certified Archivist), 2003; reformatted, 2007. Earl Fenner, Louis Garcia, and R. D. Theisz provided additional contributions to the Biographical Note.

Biographical Note

Frank Andrews (1937-) has been a collector of Native American music with a lifelong interest in Native performing arts.  Andrews was a lifelong New York City resident to 1980 when he retired to Albuquerque, NM where he still resides.  During the 1950s-1960s, he was involved in organizing Indian-themed performances through the Boy Scout, Boy’s Clubs, and the Monroe (New York) Powwow.  In so doing, he became friends with R. D. “Ronnie” Theisz and others and he associated with Indian cultural experts from the West who had relocated to New York after World War II.  For several years, Andrews was employed by Plume Trading Company, then a Manhattan-based mail order source of Native American regalia supplies.

During the 1950s, Andrews became a friend of Rubin Jacobs, a Yanktonai Dakota [Nakota] elder who taught Dakota language at Rutgers University, New Jersey. During summers through the 1960s, Jacobs mentored Baltimore youth at Camp Puh’tok, a youth summer camo in rural northern Baltimore County, Maryland, where he developed its Native American program with youth performances by the Red Shield dancers and, with them, Jacobs performed Dakota songs under the name “Chief Sunrise”.  Raised on the Crow Creek Reservation, Fort Thompson, South Dakota, Jacobs was a great-grandson of Sitting Bull whose family members were known as good singers and keepers of traditional Dakota life ways.

Meanwhile, Andrews became a New York City fireman.  But after sustaining an injury, he became a building fire safety inspector in Manhattan.  The businesses he inspected included wholesalers of glass beads such as Elliot, Greene & Co., a family-owned company incorporated in 1925.  With his retail background in selling Native American regalia supplies, Andrews knew that Elliot Greene distributed the highest quality Czech beads, which were in high demand by Native American artisans for the production of dance regalia.  Now, as their fire inspector, he gained familiarity with their storage facility and in addition to their new supply stock, he noticed an antique residual towards the back of many shelves.

In 1966, Lakota and associated non-Indian friends invited Andrews to spend his summer vacations with them in South Dakota.  Thereafter, in preparation for each summer vacation, he purchased from Elliot Greene, select, unavailable antique beads that older Lakota bead workers desired, which he then resold on reservations to finance his vacations. But each year after he recouped his expenses, he gave away he remainder in a giveaway ceremony. Then later, in recognition of his service as a fireman, he was given the name "Ȯsota" or "In Smoke."

Key among Andrews’ friends were R. D. Theisz and Severt Young Bear, Sr. (Porcupine District on the Pine Ridge Reservation) who continued the century-old family legacy of the Porcupine Singers.  Theisz was a university educator who first taught at Fordham University in New York and then in 1972 at the Rosebud tribal Sinte Gleska College (now Sinte Gleska University), and then from 1977 to 2008 at Black Hills State University (Spearfish, SD).  Theisz was also a long-time member of the Porcupine Singers. The Porcupine Singers became a prominent group that traveled to powwow celebrations throughout the Northern and Southern Plains and beyond.  Its members were primarily Oglala and Brule or Sicangu Lakota from the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations, some of whom had lived for a number of years in New York City.  The group recorded a number of albums over time with Canyon Records of Phoenix, Arizona.  Andrews often traveled with them, and while doing so, shared their experiences and created his song recordings. Andrews is also noted in Standing in the Light: A Lakota Way of Seeing by Severt Young Bear and R. D. Theisz, University of Nebraska Press, 1994.

During the late 1980s, under Severt Young Bear, Sr.’s, leadership--along with Oglala educator and long-time friend Calvin Jumping Bull, Nellie Two Bulls, and others—Andrews became a major organizer for several years of the “International Brotherhood Days,” an event held in Brotherhood Community in Porcupine District on the Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota.  The purpose of these gatherings was to present traditional Lakota song and dance practices at a time when many cultural changes were taking place in Indian Country, and thus retrieving and preserving some traditions that were fading, a goal that Severt Young Bear, Sr. called: “putting things in order.”  (See: R. D. Theisz, “Putting Things in Order.  The Discourse of Tradition” in Ellis, Lassiter and Dunham:  Powwow; University of Nebraska Press, 2005.)

By the early 1990s, Andrews was also instrumental in repatriating the remains of Lakota Chief Smoke, an ancestor of Severt Young Bear, Sr., from the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., back to Porcupine.

During the late 1990s until 2015, Andrews--again often in tandem with Calvin Jumping Bull--became recognized as an announcer of the annual Horse Looking Sundances as well as Hollow Horn Bear Sundances, both held at St. Francis Community on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation.  During these decades -- “Uncle Frank” as he became known to many--continued sharing his knowledge of and commitment to traditional Lakota ways and passed on his legacy to the many Native and non-Native craftsmen and performers.

Scope and Content

The songs originated from the (Northern) Cheyenne, Cree, Crow, and Dakota [Lakota dialect] Indians of Montana and South Dakota and the, Creek, Comanche, Osage, and Ponca Indians of Oklahoma. Several have no identified tribal affiliation. Most were performed at powwow celebrations or in private homes. At least in part, the recordings in box 1 reels 1-4 and box 2 reels 9, 17-22 are copies of originals, which were re-recorded by the collector.

The collection includes several Dakota [Lakota] popular songs from the 1920s-1930s, which are performed by Rubin Jacobs. Jacobs is also included in the photographs as are two of his friends, both non-Indians.

All materials in this collection have been reformatted to digital formats and are so available on request.


More Related Resources

  • Native America: Checklist to Marquette special collections about native peoples of the Western Hemisphere.

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  • Guides to Catholic-Related Records about Native Americans in the United States: Over 1,000 repository entries in PDF format to help genealogists and historical researchers find the records they need on American Indians and Alaskan Natives. The entries provide contact information on the repositories, brief descriptions about the records, the Native groups served, and the associated Catholic organizations. Many of the entries include institutional chronologies to explain the history of the records.