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November 12, 2020 60 min

Ned Christie: Ruthless Cherokee outlaw or courageous hero? Murderer or innocent man?

If someone had asked me a year ago who Ned Christie was, I’d have probably said he was just another Indian Territory outlaw. In the same vein as Cherokee Bill or Henry Starr. And I don’t think I’m the only person out there with this misconception.

Back in the 1970’s Time Life put out a series of books on the old west. And I personally have – in my possession - a copy of the one titled Gunfighters. I’ve had it since I was a wee little lad, and it has seen better days. The pages are no longer bound, they’re all loose and out of order. A testament to the countless hours I spent flipping through its pages when I was a kid.  

There are a couple of pictures of Ned Christie in the book. There’s the one when he was still alive - long hair, holding a rifle in one hand, a revolver in the other, and another pistol strapped around his waist.

 Looking like an outlaw.

And then there’s the other one, where he’s dead. Propped up against a door, lever action rifle resting in his lifeless hands.

There’s not a whole lot written in the book about Ned Christie, though. He’s simply referred to as an “elusive Cherokee outlaw who roved the territory as a train robber, horse thief, and whiskey peddler. Christie had built himself a log fort high on the rim of the cliff sided canyon, and when a 16-man posse tracked him there, he showed no inclination to surrender.”

That was really the extent of my knowledge when it came to Ned Christie. That and the pictures.

But what if I were to tell you that almost everything that was published about Ned Christie in that Time Life book was untrue?

Join me today as we look at just who the real Ned Christie was and try to separate the man from the myth on this most recent Indian Outlaw, 100% Cherokee and zero Choctaw, & nobody’s baby was a Chippewa edition of Bloody Beaver Podcast.

Ned Christie: The Creation of an Outlaw and Cherokee Hero by Devon Mihesua

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