When Ryan Booth began his research into Indian scouts who were recruited by the U.S. Army, he discovered only two military forts had complete records of the scouts: Fort Apache in Arizona and Fort Keogh at Miles City.
“Other places had scouts, but their records were lost or burned,” said Booth, a Ph.D. candidate in history at Washington State University in Pullman.
Many of the Indian scouts attached to Fort Keogh were members of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. So in December, Booth traveled to Lame Deer to talk with the tribe’s Cultural Committee to present his dissertation topic.
“They liked it,” Booth said. “They gave me some contacts, and said I need to make a formal presentation to the tribal council, since I want to do oral histories.”
Booth is hoping to connect with the descendants of those scouts, to discover what motivated their family members to serve as scouts. He’s hoping he might even stumble across artifacts linked to those days.
“Historians live in hope of the possibility of somebody coming and saying, ‘Here’s this shoe box with a diary or letters we’ve had all these years,’” Booth said. “I think there’s a good possibility that might exist for scouts but nobody has ever asked.”