The Hog Heaven Summer Reading Guide: Indians, Redskins, Statistics and Lies

Hog Heaven tries to base thoughtful analysis about the Redskins and football on facts not rants. Here is our late summer reading list in the wind down to the season. Two of these books are about the Redskins name controversy rather than actual football. We want our supporting arguments to be based on rational thought and not the emotion that consumes the other side of the argument. There is a certain futility in that, but the Redskins, both the team and the people, have a compelling narrative. Why pass up the chance to read the story.

Keep A-Goin’ The Life of Lone Star Dietz, by Tom Benjey

keepa going

Disparaging William “Lone Star” Dietz is a tactic used by the changers to discredit the Washington Redskins claim of honoring Native Americans by naming the team after Dietz who was a mixed-race German-Indian American. Redskins opponents accuse Dietz as a fake Indian, a poser who affected Native American heritage for personal gain. If Dietz is a fraud, then so is the Redskins’ claim of honoring Native Americans through him, or so the theory goes.

Redskins fans hardly know how to respond. Like most people, history began for them on the day they were born. Lone Star’s relevant history began 130 years ago.

Lone Star is unknown to present day Redskins fans except for the controversy. Lone Star claimed, or allowed to be published, fanciful versions of his origins, not unlike early presidential candidates’ claims of birth in log cabins. Little did he know.

Documentation about Dietz’ origins are obscure. Late 1800s vital records are not nearly as reliable as they are now. The Obama birther controversy tells us that concrete records are not persuasive to those determined to believe otherwise.

Complicating matters, mixed race heritage was a thing to be hidden in the early 20th Century.

The history of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School fascinated Tom Benjey. While researching the school for a book, he discovered the fascinating William Henry Dietz who was a Carlisle student, offensive lineman, assistant football coach and art instructor. Keep A-Goin’ brings Lone Star back to life weaving facts and supposition to speak of his search for identity, the Sioux family that accepted him as a lost son and his life’s path as a college football coach and graphic artist.

Keep A-Goin’ devotes a six pages of the 326-page biography to Lone Star’s Boston Redskins years (1933-1934). Its main focus is Dietz’ struggle to find himself and to promote Native America through his art. Hog Heaven has trashed the Redskins for basing its claim solely on Dietz. Lately, they seem to be running away from him. That is unfortunate. Dietz was as colorful a showman as George P. Marshall.

Hog Heaven has already used the facts in Keep A-Goin’ on one occasion to refute claims about Dietz as an impostor. Like my love life, his story is complicated.

Aren’t We Sioux Enough? The Truth Behind the Attack on the U.N.D. Fighting Sioux Tradition, by Eunice Davidson

arent We Souix Enough

An acquaintance brought this book to my attention. Davidson is a member of the Spirit Lake Nation. Her book was published May 2014. Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

The University Of North Dakota was under fire for its “Fighting Sioux” mascot that the Sioux of Spirit Lake Nation authorized the university to use in the 1960s. After 80-odd years of tradition, the name came under fire by those who ultimately forced the school to drop it.

Here is what intrigued Hog Heaven. The Indian author “exposes Political Correctness for what it truly is. It tells the story of how PC was used to deceive the public of truth, to gain a personal victory during the battle from 2007 ‘til 2012 for a small group. It was used to justify how a small ‘supposedly caring’ group of the PC crowd, covered up their true intentions. The deceit used against Native American Indians for centuries is alive and well today and is exposed in this book.”

The Spirit Lake Nation wanted the leading university of the State named for their people to keep its Indian-themed mascot. Davidson says the result of dropping the “Fighting Sioux” identity is that Native Americans are again minimized and ignored.

Hog Heaven senses that the tactics used against UND are now deployed against the Washington Redskins. Reading Aren’t We Sioux Enough? is a reconnaissance mission.

The Football Outsiders Almanac 2014, by Aaron Schatz et al

football outsiders almanac 2014

This is the NFL analytic bible for amateur and professional football writers. The FO Almanac (previously known as “Pro Football Prospectus”) is the most authoritative and innovative guide to professional football  The 2014 edition is packed with more cutting-edge statistical analysis, obsessive film study, and trademark humor. Includes comprehensive coverage of all 32 NFL teams, analysis of offseason personnel changes, over 500 KUBIAK fantasy football projections, and breakdowns of every team from the five major college football conferences plus the top independent and mid-major college teams.

Hog Heaven keeps this on his bookshelf and it is incredibly useful from preseason through NFL week six when the season’s trends become apparent. From that point, a subscription to Football Outsiders’ online premium content is useful. We will plug the premium content of rival Pro Football Focus as equally useful.

Last year, we ordered the softcopy version, only to later order the old technology print version. Old eyes of old farts are not comfortable with detailed reading on screens and tablets and such. The book is due to arrive at Hog Heaven World Headquarters this week. It cannot come soon enough.

Anthony Brown

About Anthony Brown

Lifelong Redskins fan and blogger about football and life since 2004. Joined MVN's Hog Heaven blog in 2005 and then moved Redskins Hog Heaven to Bolguin Network. Believes that the course of a season is pre-ordained by management decisions made during the offseason. Can occasionally be found on the This Given Sunday blog and he does guest posts.