Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Legend: Native American warns U.S. vice-president about American immigration policy.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2006]
Origins: Whenever the debate about U.S. immigration policy flares anew, many debaters quickly rush into one of two camps: those who believe that a flood of illegal immigrants is undermining the
The example reproduced above was mined from the same vein, a joke that enjoyed brief currency in the American press during the early summer of 1961, primarily through its retelling by Representative
As Rep. E. Y. Berry tells it, Chief Ben Wildhorse, a South Dakota Sioux, came to Washington and was given an audience by the Vice President.In this instance the Native American is identified by name and tribe, but the vice-president is referenced only by position. (Most people, as in the
The Chief's advice to the Vice President: "Young man, be careful with your immigration laws. We were careless with ours."
Three weeks later, the Chicago Daily Tribune printed the same item, only in a slightly more elaborate version that didn't name the Indian chief and had the Sioux offering his advice to Lyndon Johnson's predecessor in the vice-presidency, Richard Nixon:
Rep. E .Y. Berry recalls the time a Sioux Indian chief from South Dakota called on former Vice President Nixon to discuss tribal land matters. As he was leaving the Vice President's office, the chief said he had some advice to impart.The same story had appeared a month earlier in the
"Be careful with your immigration laws," the Indian said, "unfortunately, we were careless with ours."
Rep. E .Y. Berry Monday repeated an old Indian proverb for the edification of Congressmen studying immigration problems.Finally, a 1965 version combined elements of both this anecdote and the NASA/Navajo joke referenced earlier in this article:
Sioux chieftain Ben American Horse, Berry said, once advised the late Vice President
Many people no doubt remember the aging Sioux Indian Chief Ben American Horse's well-known remark to the late Alben Barkley, Harry Truman's vice president.For what it's worth, Ben American Horse was a real Sioux chieftain, and he did visit Washington in 1955, when Alben Barkley was a
"Young man, let me give you a little advice," said the chief. "Be careful with your immigration laws. We were careless with ours."
A sequel to this, which might have been prompted by the Gemini flights, is now suggested by [South Dakota]
A Sioux Indian from South Dakota wrote Mundt wanting to know "why you white people want to go to the moon. There is no Indian land to take away up there!"
Last updated: 11 August 2006
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