Collection 573 - John Stands-In-Timber Interview, ca. 1959
Creator: Stands In Timber, John, 1882-1967, interviewee
Provenance Note: An original reel of audiotape and a handwritten summary of the John Stands In Timber interview was donated to Montana State University by Merrill G. Burlingame of Bozeman, Montana in 1973.
Historical Note: John Stands In Timber was a member of the Cheyenne Indian tribe, born in Birney,
Montana in 1882. Among his ancestors was Lame White Man, a Southern Cheyenne chief
who was killed at the Little Bighorn in 1876. John received his education at the
Haskell Institute, an industrial training school for Indians in Lawrence, Kansas.
He returned to Montana where he first worked as a maintenance man at a school in Busby
and a cowboy. He became active in tribal governance at the Northern Cheyenne reservation
and eventually became a historian of the tribe. In 1955 he met Margot Liberty, a
schoolteacher who was also pursing graduate work in anthropology. She began interviewing
Stands In Timber in 1956, continuing until 1959, covering mostly topics dealing with
tribal history. The tapes Liberty used to record the interviews were erased after
she had transcribed them and only a few survived. In 1967, the same year Stands In
Timber died, Liberty published an edited version of selected interview transcriptions,
Cheyenne Memories (New Haven: Yale University Press). In 2013, Liberty published a compilation of
all her interviews with Stands In Timber titled A Cheyenne Voice (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press).
Content Description Note: The John Stands in Timber interview was conducted by Margo Liberty, Merrill G. Burlingame, Virginia S. Burlingame, Verne Dusenbery, and Betsy Miles at the Liberty home near Birney, Montana in October 1959. Most of the conversation on the audio recording reel concerns the ages and actions of various Cheyenne men who had either participated in the Custer battle or other incidents of tribal history. A handwritten summary of the conversation prepared by Merrill G. Burlingame is also included, although it is not an exact transcription. There is no paragraph separation between the questions and answers on the summary. The text roughly follows the same information found on pages 326-327 of A Cheyenne Voice, but there are several omissions and additions to the wording. A brief recording of Liberty speaking to an unknown group regarding the Missouri Headwaters area precedes the interview with Stands in Timber.