“Wowee, Those Oklahoma Indians Were Something!”
Henry Berry’s vibrant book of World War I American veteran recollections Make the Kaiser Dance includes Texan Alphonzo Bulz’s colorful remembrance of his fellow 36th Division Native soldiers from Oklahoma.
And you should have seen some of those Indians from Oklahoma. Wow-ee, weren’t they something! Some of those rascals had oil money, and they’d get ahold of some firewater; would they have a high old time! They’d do war dances right there in the camp. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard an Indian war whoop, but it's a cross between a scream and a yelp…. (T)hey’d be at it all night. A bunch of us complained because we couldn’t get any sleep, but we didn’t get nowhere at all.
“They’re just blowing off steam now,” this officer said to us. “Just wait till they get to France. They’ll be the best ones we have.”
And you know, he might have been right. They were great when we went into the Champagne sector. They’d jump out of those foxholes, screaming those war whoops and yelling in the Cherokee and the Choctaw and all those languages. I think the Germans were scared do death of them. I remember this one officer we captured—he was petrified.
“What kind of men are zeze?” he asked us. “Zey are vild men; we can’t fight mit vild men!”
The ones in my company were mainly the Osage. They used to love to talk on our telephones, and they’d talk in the Osage. We used to wonder if the Germans could ever interpret those calls. If they could, it would have confused the (heck) out of them.”