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Gilbert L. Wilson
illustration ©2013 Pat N. Lewis
Gilbert Livingstone Wilson’s (1869–1930) interest in Native Americans dated from his boyhood in Ohio, when he was an avid reader of Indian myths and history. He became a Presbyterian minister, and when his work took him to North Dakota he had an opportunity to interview Natives at the Standing Rock and Fort Berthold reservations. His early work was in collecting artifacts and Indian myths, which he published in two children’s books, Myths of the Red Children (1907) and Indian Hero Tales (1917). Buffalo Bird Woman, her son, Goodbird, and brother, Wolf Chief later became the center of Wilson’s anthropological studies, and he was formally adopted into the clan of the prairie chicken people, by whom he was known as Yellow Chicken. In 1916, Wilson was the recipient of the University of Minnesota’s first Ph.D. in Anthropology. His retelling of Buffalo Bird Woman’s story appears in Native American Classics: Graphic Classics Volume 22.