FATHERLESS CHILDREN STORY 008
by Winsome Solo
He spoke French and Kansa before he learned English, and learned to shoot with a bow and arrow. By age 3 he could ride his pony by himself. He was taught to swim by being thrown into the river and encouraged to paddle back.
When his mother's tribal parents moved west, he went to Topeka to live with his father's parents, who owned stores, saloons and hotels. He was a small, dark boy with long hair, and did not feel comfortable off the reservation. But when his grandfather bought a race track, he found something he liked -- to ride horses for money.
Soon he was the best jockey in Kansas, the hometown favorite. But when he broke his leg in a racing accident, his grandmother told him he had to stop riding horses and go to school. The other kids made fun of his long hair and the fact that he was behind the others his age. He did meet the girl he later would marry, though -- Annie.
When he was 18, he inherited his grandfather's estate, which included stores, rental homes and a pickle factory. He dropped out of school to manage the estate, and with these new assets and independence he did big things: he became a newspaper reporter, writer and associate editor, and bought a paper of his own. He sang in the church choir, and taught Sunday School. He became a notary public, and from that in 1881 went on to become a lawyer.
At age 24, he was elected District Attorney and closed down the bars and saloons. He thought that alcohol caused problems in society. This made the owners angry, but not enough to prevent him being re-elected. He spent seven years in this position.
By age 32, he had gone into politics, and served in the House of Representatives, and then the Senate, where he became Republican Majority Leader. He was responsible for drawing up and passing legislation intended to help Native Americans politically integrate and gain statehood for Oklahoma.
In 1928 he campaigned on the ticket with future President Herbert Hoover.
This child was the first Native American to to serve in the U.S. Senate and to hold office in the White House, America's first Vice-President from west of the Mississippi, America's first Vice-President to take his elective oath with a Bible, America's first Vice-President to light the White House Christmas tree, and America's last Vice-President to have a moustache.
He was "The Indian Boy",
Charles Curtis, a child from a "fatherless home".
The term "fatherless" ("fatherlessness" or "father-absent") is used in this series as it is in research and "father absence" policy rhetoric by the U.S. government, DHHS, the National Fatherhood Initiative, U.S. states in connection with child custody law and policy, and various family values and fatherhood policy and lobbying groups. The effects of father absence can be seen in the fatherless children stories. Citations to research and studies on the effects of father-absence can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
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