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Ho-to’n-moi’n – Roars When He Walks

An Osage named Ho-to’n-moi’n was born during the month of July in 1863. In those days, all newborn Indian infants were given the first day of the month as their birth date for federal records. So, his birthdate is listed as July 1, 1863. 

That was a time when Osage People were living on the Reservation in Kansas, and as a child, Ho-to’n-moi’n moved to the current Osage Reservation with the rest of the tribe. At that time No’n-pe-wa-the, known as Thunder Fear, was the recognized leader of the Osages, and Abraham Lincoln was President and the recognized leader of the United States

Ho-to’n-moi’n was a full-blood Osage who preferred the traditional Osage way of living. His Headright interest in the Mineral Estate, and his 658 acres of land that he accepted in 1906 may have been about the only part of the outside world that Ho-to’n-moi’n ever accepted.

His Allotted land is located near the local golf course, on the Southwestern edge of Pawhuska and there have been stories of Ho-to’n-moi’n enjoying watching the golfers hitting the little white ball with a golf club. 

Ho-to’n-moi’n, or Roars When He Walks, was of the Thunder Clan. Osages of the Thunder Clan are also known as People of Mystery.

There have been many other stories told about Ho-to’n-moi’n. Most of the stories were told in a way that make his behavior seem bizarre. Stories about how Ho-to’n-moi’n slept outdoors, covering himself with leaves during the cold seasons of the year. Other stories are of the many ways he enjoyed nature while simply ignoring his personal wealth and his preference for living outdoors. There are stories of him keeping a pack of dogs.

Because Ho-to’n-moi’n was a favorite subject of photographers and reporters, his personal history is fairly well documented. Seventy-five years after his death, postcards with a picture of Ho-to’n-moi’n were still selling in local stores. The pictures show him wrapped in a simple blanket and a scarf covering his head and tied under his chin. Normally with his dogs, and always chewing a cigar.

One of the stories most often told is of Ho-to’n-moi’n as a young man, he was afflicted with small pox and had a high fever, and he fainted. Several well-meaning people thought he had died and were in the process of burying him when he woke up and stormed off to find his dogs. The story is that several tribal members thought he had come back from death

A Law Enforcement Officer shot and killed one of his dogs during the time while Ho-to’n-moi’n was thought to be dead. There are other stories, involving the dogs, that tell why he resented local law officers.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs Office used some of his funds to hire a legal Guardian whose job was to oversee Ho-to’n-moi’n’sfinancial affairs. His Guardian arranged to have a cabin constructed for him, and he sometimes slept on the porch. There is a story of how, later in life, he enjoyed the comfort of heat from a natural gas stove to ease the pain in his knee joints.

In the Milestones section of the September 26, 1938 issue of “Time Magazine,” Ho-to’n-moi’n is reported to have died. Time described Ho-to’n-moi’n’ as a famous Osage Indian recluse.

I once asked my mother, Louise Red Corn, about Ho-to’n-moi’n. She told me he was a nice man. Then she relayed to me a personal story about him. She said on a few occasions, when she was a child, she remembered he would sit on a bench on a street in Pawhuska. My Mother said she would go to a restaurant, obtain a cup of water and give it to Ho-to’n-moi’n to drink – he thanked her. 

Charles Red Corn