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Indigenous Immigrants and Refugees in the North American Borderlands by Brenden W. Rensink, Texas A&M Press, 2018

Chapter 8, Note 32 (pages 171 and 261)

One newspaper account of the time stated that he had personal letters of recommendation from Idaho governor Frank W. Hunt and a district court judge, and free passes for BA&P (Butte, Anaconda & Pacific), Oregon Short Line, Rio Grande Western, and Southern Pacific railroads. (p. 171)

Chapter 8, Note 32 . . . for discussion of these sources and reports [on Rocky Boy’s RR passes]. (p. 261).

The details of how Rocky Boy obtained these RR passes, or the favor and recommendation of an Idaho District Court Judge and Governor. It appears that he had gained favor with a variety of influential politicians in the greater region as well. Travelers who shared a train car with him in early 1902 offered the following report upon noticing that railroad officials had not required a ticket from their Native cabin-mate:

“How do you travel; you didn’t pay fare?” queried the footlight celebrity. The Indian took out of his pocket a small card case, from which he produced a number of letters . . . [the travelers] saw more letters of recommendation and official passes on various railroads than had ever met their eye at one time.

It developed that the traveler who had occasioned so much discussion and unfavorable comment was “the Chief of the Chippewa Tribe know as ‘The chief Rock [sic] Boy.’”  The Chief had letters from District Judge McClernan, several prominent citizens of Pocatello and Idaho and various Utahans. In his list of recommendations as a ‘good Indian chief, a friend of the white man and a hard worker.’  Rock [sic] Boy had a letter signed by Governor Hunt of Idaho in which the executive stated that the bearer has been an unusually good Indian and is worthy of all confidence.


  • “Talk with the Travelers,” Anaconda Standard, January 17, 1902.
  • “Indians Before Judge,” Kalispell Bee, July 11, 1901, 1.