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Lisa Fretwell
I created this page to share the memory of my grandfather with others.
Lisa Fretwell ~ Fretwell Flutes

Chief Eagle Friend ~ Assiniboin

 Chief Eagle Friend
Whabnee Taco Nah-Koo 

Lived among us
from 1911-1989
Chief Eagle Friend ~ Assiniboin

Chief Eagle Friend ~ Assiniboin
 "May the trails thru the journey of your life shine bright with love, happiness and understanding."
~~ Chief Eagle Friend

My grandfather devoted his time on this earth to the re-education of the general public. During my grandfather's lifetime, the history of the Native American Tribes was very distorted. The history books and the movies implied that the "Indians" were not human beings. They represented them in movies as savages and never told the real stories. My grandfather traveled to Schools, Groups, and anywhere that would have him speak. He did this, so that the history of the American Indian, would be told from the American Indian perspective. He set-up a display in shopping malls. He took his traveling museum of artifacts all over. Starting in 1968, he rode in the Tournament of Roses Parade in California for many years. He was the first Native American to participate in the Tournament of Roses parade since 1904. He rode in the Parada-Del-Sol in Scottsdale, AZ for many years

My grandfather was Whabnee Taco Nah-Koo.

He was adopted into the Assiniboin Tribe of the Fort Peck Reservation at Wolf Point Montana.

This is an excerp from a letter that my grandfather wrote to his cousin. He had not spoken to him in many years. In it my grandfather tries to explain to his cousin (at his cousin's level of understanding) what had taken place in my grandfather's life.

...Excerp from a letter written by Chief Eagle Friend to his cousin dated 12-31-66


"Received your nice card and the note. Yes, I've become an Indian. I am a full member of the Assiniboin tribe of the Fort Peck Reservation at Wolf Point Montana and a year ago was given the highest honor that an Indian can hope for. I was made a Chief and a very impresssive ceremony was held in my honor. The tails of feathers were given me to wear and in the presence of 600 Indian and Whites was given the name of "Friend of Eagle" The respect, which I enjoy from Indian and Whites which were present made me feel very proud indeed. I'm sure you're wondering why or how this honor was bestowed on me.

Quite some time ago I began speaking to schools, girl scout groups and other clubs on Indian lore and custom.

I was invited to join a dancing group of 55 Indian dancers from various tribes of the Plains group. After performing with this group, we had a visit from two old people from the Assiniboins, Chief First to Fly and an Old Medicine Man Al First to Sound. I soon became very close to them and after they found I was actually white, they ask me, and since the medicine man was present, if I would like to become one of them, naturally I was honored and accepted.

After about 4 months of increased speaking activities trying to further the Indian Cause, I was approached with the idea of being made a Chief. You can well imagine my feeling of pride, so the ceremony was planed, the feathers which I wear represent deed's of honor.

Recently I've been visiting childrens wards at hospitals and people who are confined " in full dress, of course". My lodge (tipi) is very nice, but as yet has not been blessed, the symbols which are on the tipi, have to be blessed in a ceremony before the lodge can be shown to the public. This will be done in Feb. I also have a tape recording of this ceremony...

My people, the assiniboin tribe are making me a bonnett now of all Eagle feather, (tail feathers). They have had to go all the way into Canada to get them. As you know our government says it is unlawful to own the eagle feathers, except in cases such as this so I am now looking forward to getting it. The one I wear is also Ealge but was not made by my people, even though it was placed on my head by the old medicine man and the oldest Chief of the Assiniboin in a most impressive cermony."


 "With majestic wings, the Eagle Soars on freedom's breath

We are One.

His soul is blessed by the Great Spirit and is at peace.

We are One.

With a valiant heart he fights in his struggle to be.

We are One.

We are One. I am the Eagle. The Eagle is me. "
~~ Chief Eagle Friend 

Chief Eagle Friend ~ Assiniboin - Ada Zehrbach
Grandpa (Chief Eagle Friend),
Grandma (Woman Who's Hair is Gold), and Joshua Wetsit (Chief First To Fly)

Chief First To Fly
Joshua Wetsit (Chief First to Fly) Wolf Point Montana

Chief First to Fly
Joshua Wetsit
Chief First To Fly
Joshua Wetsit (Chief First to Fly) and Isabel (Spear Woman)
Wolf Point Montana

Chief Eagle Friend ~ Assiniboin
Joshua Wetsit (Chief First To Fly)
(Chief Eagle Friend),
at a Rendezvous with Bill Williams Mt. Men Arizona State Coliseum - 3-19-1966

Chief Eagle Friend ~ Assiniboin As Chief he performed marriage ceremonies. I attended one such ceremony. It was an awesome experience.
The couple he married is in the center of the picture. Grandpa is on the right. I don't know the name of the fellow on the left.

Chief Eagle Friend ~ Lisa Pauline Herron This is a picture of my grandpa (Chief Eagle Friend), my grandma, my mom, my sister, me and my brother on the day of the wedding ceremony. I'm the little girl in the middle with the hot pink pants. Picture was taken sometime between 1972-1974.

Lisa Herron - Ada Zehrbach Here's my mom, me and my grandma

Mobile Museum

Chief Eagle Friend ~ Assiniboin

Chief Eagle Friend ~ Assiniboin

Grandpa (Chief Eagle Friend), traveled around with his mobile museum educating the public. He had Native American artifacts galore. These included his full headdress, bonnets, his tipi (which he sometimes set up), a huge drum, stuffed mountain lion, many different animal skins, arrow heads, toma hawks, moccasins that once belonged to "Sitting Bull", a huge stuffed buffalo and much much more. He visited schools, clubs, shopping malls etc.. with his museum on wheels. He educated people on Native American culture, traditions, and history.

Educational Lectures

Chief Eagle Friend ~ Assiniboin
Grandpa spent most of his time traveling around to schools, clubs, shopping malls etc.. giving lectures and answering questions on Native American culture, history, and traditions. Public awareness was important to him. He tried to educate people in the hopes of removing the stigmatism and prejudice involving Native Americans.

Parades ~ The Tournament of Roses

Chief Eagle Friend ~ Assiniboin

Chief Eagle Friend ~ Assiniboin
Starting in the year 1968, Grandpa rode the Leonard Appaloosa Stallion named "The Wheel" in the tournament of Roses Parade.

He was the first Native American to participate in the Tournament of Roses parade since 1904.

He rode many years in this parade. He was division Marshall once. He rode in many other parades throughout the southwest.

Silversmith ~Turquoise Jewelry

 Chief Eagle Friend ~ Assiniboin
Chief Eagle Friend ~ Assiniboin Chief Eagle Friend ~ Assiniboin  

Grandpa (Chief Eagle Friend), was a master silversmith. He made jewelry and created phenomenal pieces of art. In these pictures he is wearing his bolo tie, belt buckle and bracelet. These are exceptionally large pieces of turquoise. Everything grandpa did, he did in a BIG way. He lived his life, ~ BIG ~. He loved his family, ~ BIG ~. He taught me to embrace whatever I was doing and do it ,~ BIG ~. Life is too short to live small.

Buffalo Skull
Buffalo Skull - Turqoise
This piece took him a long time to create. It is individual pieces of turquoise. Each piece is set in fine silver and affixed to the skull.

" I helped him make this piece" ~~ Lisa

Steer Skull

Chief Eagle Friend
This piece took him awhile to create. It is individual pieces of turquoise. Each piece is set in fine silver and affixed to the skull.

Grandpa had a dream and from that came this poem.


 To The Woman Who Sat By My Side

Today, I take the white man's magic stick
That makes the marks on the talking leaf.
It will say the thoughts in my heart.
My heart is sad now.
It says the place where you sat in my tipi is empty.
I sing to myself;
But my thoughts say back to me the many times
I shared my food with you.
I go to hunt for food.
And I talk to the bear and the deer.
They look in my eyes; And say how sad they are.
Soon the Big Snows will come.
And I will again change the place of my tipi
To where the Warm Sun shines.
Again my heart will be sad and cry.
But soon; the Great Father;
Father of All Fathers Before Us, will come
And say to me, "Follow me now."
And we will once again sit by the fire
And say good things to each other;
And make our hearts happy again.
Now, into the wind I throw the leaf.
When you find it I will know.
And my heart will be happy.
And sing again.

H. Zehrbach
Chief Eagle Friend
Copyright ©   All Rights Reserved


Chief Eagle Friend

My husband I
put the poem to
Native American Flute music.
Listen to it:  
Click Here
 Lisa and Jerry Fretwell
Lisa Fretwell
Chief Eagle Friend
with husband, Jerry.

Lisa and Jerry Fretwell
 Jerry Fretwell   Lisa Fretwell
"Chief Eagle Friend" 
Grandpa was an exceptional man. He and my grandmother had 3 children, 10 grandchildren, and many great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.

I miss him a lot.

 Our Native American Flute Music
  Now Playing "I Did Not Die"


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