Covered Wagons Took Native Americans to Fair

Girl remembers watching covered wagons, horses and Native Americans traveling past home heading to an Indian fair and dance.

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A 6-year-old girl sat out in the hot sun and blistering sand of brand-new Oklahoma and watched the covered wagons go by. Pioneers? Homesteaders? No. They were Native Americans on their way to the Indian Fairs and Dances.

Between the lumbering old wagons were young braves on their pinto ponies, and there were dogs of every description. The Indians were eager and excited. They were going to the Fair!

My parents and I rode over to the festivities once. Don't tell me Indians are silent people! There was plenty of chatter and fun. Groups of young girls, with gay ribbons entwined in their long black hair and many strings of bright beads around their necks, cast roguish glances at the young braves grooming their horses for the bow and arrow contest. Admiring glances found their way back to the girls.

When darkness fell, many bonfires were lighted. It was beautiful and enchanting to me. At a late hour, a huge fire was built. The chief, resplendent in his huge headgear, rode into the bright light on his speckled pony. He raised one arm high. This was the signal for the dance to begin. How colorful when they all circled the fire, dancing and chanting! Some fell out and others joined in. It went on and on.

A week later, I watched the covered wagons going home. Even the dogs seemed to be drooping. Canvas flaps were raised and black eyes stared at me, the little paleface, as I watched them go by.

Mrs. Herman Hertzberg
Eldorado Springs, Missouri


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s WEEKLY asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.