June 2018 Readers’ Letters | HistoryNet MENU
Yakima Canutt was the first Hollywood stuntman to receive a special Academy Award, for safety equipment he created for his work, primarily on Western films.

June 2018 Readers’ Letters

By HistoryNet Staff
3/22/2018 • Wild West Magazine

YAKIMA CANUTT
[Re. “Can-do Canutt,” Westerners, October 2017:] You forgot to mention one award Yakima Canutt was given in his great career. In 1966 the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences gave Canutt a special Oscar for his career and the safety equipment he created. Yak was the first Hollywood stuntman given such an honor. Stuntman Hal Needham became the second honoree in 2013.

Michael F. Blake
Studio City, Calif.

MISSING MEDAL
John Koster’s list of “8 Medals of Honor at Wounded Knee” (Roundup, December 2017) has at No. 1 Captain George D. Wallace of the 7th U.S. Cavalry, but he did not receive the award for this or any other Indian wars engagement.

C. Lee Noyes
Morrisonville, N.Y.

John Koster responds: Wallace does show up as an MOH recipient in multiple sources, but Noyes is correct. The commander in chief of the U.S. Army commended Wallace for “conspicuous gallantry” at Wounded Knee, but the captain was never actually awarded the Medal of Honor.

WOUNDED KNEE
In John Koster’s “Finding Blame at Wounded Knee” (December 2017) he quotes Secretary of War Redfield Proctor stating that in the fight women and children were killed by the Indians themselves by bullets going through the village from their own guns. I find this statement very hard to believe. It has to be a government attempt at a cover-up and to justify why so many women and children were killed. Indians protected their women and children at all costs while being pursued. Battle planning by war chiefs was second to none. You only have to look at the next article (“In the Fight With Fetterman,” by John H. Monnett) to see the trap set for Captain William Fetterman. The Indians at Wounded Knee would in no way fire bullets into their own village.

Kent Napralla
Montello, Wis.

John Koster responds: The story of Indian warriors killing their own women and children at Wounded Knee was absurd. Most, if not all, of the women and children were killed by soldiers, and in some cases they were chased a long distance before being shot at close range.

AMERICAN CARNAGE
I read with interest John Koster’s article concerning the Wounded Knee massacre. However, I am puzzled that in both the article and his “Must Read” part of Reviews (PP. 82–83) he failed to mention Jerome A. Greene’s 2014 tome, American Carnage: Wounded Knee, 1890, published by the University of Oklahoma Press. Greene’s excellent work presents the most current scholarship, unlike some of Koster’s other recommendations. It stands as the most comprehensive treatment of the subject to date.

Douglas C. McChristian
Tucson, Ariz.

BUFFALO SOLDIERS
[Re. Reviews, August 2017:] I was surprised to see Peter Cozzens recommend the Danny Glover film Buffalo Soldiers as “gritty and broadly authentic.” Gritty it may be, but broadly authentic it is not. In the pivotal episode black cavalrymen surround Victorio’s band, chat with the Indians over coffee, share their grievances, then look the other way while the Indians escape. This “rainbow coalition” view of the relations between U.S. soldiers and their adversary clearly insulted both: The Indians never allowed themselves to be captured. The soldiers, had they been so lucky, would never have let a captured foe go free. Sorry. It troubles me every time current world views triumph over historical reality. No fake history.

Frank “Mick” Schubert
Mount Vernon, Va.

BORN IN MISSOURI
In your August 2017 Collections article [“Casper Honors Caspar at This Wyoming Museum,” by Linda Wommack] it states that John Baptiste Richard was a Louisiana-born frontiersman. John Baptiste is my great-great-grandfather. Family records all agree John Baptiste was born on Dec. 14, 1810, in St. Charles, Mo. The original Richard family members did speak French and arrived in Missouri via Canada. John Baptiste was killed on Nov. 7, 1875, but his grave site has been lost. He and his two brothers (Peter and Joseph) married Lakota women, and their large families live today on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian reservations in South Dakota.

Eric J. LaPointe
Chubbuck, Idaho

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