Today, October 11, 2010, is celebrated as Christopher Columbus Day. The actual holiday is October 12, noting the day 1492 when Columbus landed on the small Bahaman island he called San Salvador, the first of a small chain of Bahaman islands he named Española. BadEagle.com proudly recognizes this historical date–in honor of the greatest man since Jesus. It was not an accident that the Bad Eagle Reunion (of the fifth generation descendents of Bad Eagle) was scheduled in a convergence with Columbus Day. We believe American Indians should think independently from the slavish resentment so foolishly associated with the coming of the white man to the Western Hemisphere. Columbus never met an American Indian. (The Arawak Iindians, whom he did meet, were South American, from Venezuela and British Guiana.) That is the historical fact about Columbus’ reception. The consequences of his incomparable and daring aggression are irrelevent to the magnitude of the man and his personal character. Our Comanche numunukahn (clan, or extended family) recognizes individual achievement for what it is. We are strong enough, and aggressive enough ourselves to enjoy the freedom to recognize bravery and accomplishment in others, even our enemies.
But not every enemy. Some enemies are unworthy. They may be effective, but that doesn’t mean they are honorable as warriors at all. They may have to be mentioned, by way of explanation, but they are ever detestable. A liar, a deceiver, a fraud, a fabricator, and a murderer is not honorable, regardless of how effective he may be toward his enemies.
One such aversary of the Bad Eagle family, which BadEagle.com has identified, was a man named Sotero de la Corda (“Sortero Dela Cerday”). We know he was from the southwest, and that he appears to be a contemporary of Ygnacio Portillo (Bad Eagle’s son). He changed the spelling of his name many times over the years, and became known as “Dave Cerday.” We don’t know where he was from, when he was born, or what nationality he was, for certain. On some documents he claimes to be “Mexican,” others “White,” and still others, “Indian.” Different documents show him claiming different racial and national identity for both his mother and father. We know he apparently forged many records, documents, and practiced conspiracy, fraud, and what today would be called identity theft. He tried to assume the identity of the Bad Eagle family, and to possess Bad Eagle’s land, estate, and blood line (through marriages). He died ca. 1944, in the middle of WWII. On his deathbed, he told my uncle, “Your great grandfather [Bad Eagle] was a famous man. There is book written about him, in Spanish.”
George Portillo (grandson of Bad Eagle) and his wife, Juanita (Chickasaw), ca. 1940
So, the unfortunate fact is, due to the evil works of Dave Cerday (Sotoro Dela Cerday), the identity of Bad Eagle’s descendents has been obfuscated, confused, hidden, and even maligned, since the third generation, beginning with Bad Eagle’s grandson Anacleto (George), my grandfather. Our family does possess the records to varify our Comanche heritage, with grandeur, and to evince the fraud and bastardization asserted by Dave Cerday. Cerday had “marriages” to four different women that we know of, through two of whom he attempted to claim Comanche blood line–the Bad Eagle blood line, specifically.
It is as though Cerday brought a curse upon the family of Bad Eagle. He interfered with our family’s Comanche land allotments; he falsified documents, and even the birth certificate of one of his own children. He left heretofore permanent damage to the family image, having manipulated and otherwise usurped legal identities since the late 1890′s. Many Comanches to this day are uncertain about the identity of Bad Eagle and his descendents. This is all due to the fraud of Dave Cerday. There are a number of families who believe they may be descendents of Bad Eagle, but have never demonstrated it, and in fact never made any public claim or any special claim among the Comanches to be descendents of Bad Eagle. (Their true Comanche blood, if any, is therefore uncertain.) Not until I myself, a fifth generation direct descendent of Bad Eagle, began a public campaign to resurrect the name and honor of what I consider to be a great man, my great-great grandfather, Bad Eagle, have a few distant relatives begun to see an importance in their descendency.
Little did my ignorant political enemies know what they were touching upon when they mindlessly claimed I was not my mother son, my mother was not Comanche, and that Bad Eagle did not exist. These claims are still present on the internet, for which I am suing a number of individuals and media corporations. Little did they know when they were given false, non-demonstrable, hearsay, gossip from a low minded, hateful person that they were echoing distortions of established historical fraud.
It is good, then, that all this geneological history should come out into the open now. It is time. The curse of Bad Eagle must be lifted. In those days, it was all about land and money. Oklahoma became a state in 1907. Indian land allotments were precious at the turn of the century. An enterprising crook, like Dave Cerday, could get in on the land in one of three ways: marry an Indian, murder an Indian, or forge a document. (Cerday did all three–though the only Indian we know he had children by was a Chickasaw woman.)
And so our family, the real descendents of Bad Eagle, were presented with a complex historical outline (over 30 pages) of the family, as prepared by me, along with other memorabilia, at our reunion here in Oklahoma City. This reunion was of first cousins, all children of the children of George Portillo (grandson of Bad Eagle). We are all fifth generation descendents. Our children, on the Comanche rolls, are sixth generation. Two of them, to beautiful young women, were also present. This was a precious bonus, for they are the keepers of the flame. To them will be entrusted the family name, honor, and love.
Of course, we expect no messiah to appear among us. The treasure of our family is not for the hope of eternity. Rather, we hope that our family treasures eternity. I, for one, recognize in the family of George Portillo, a family love that I have not witnessed, or very rarely witnessed, in the world. I have been significantly involved in many different ethnic groups over my life time. My own family presents a love which I find precious, and worth recognizing. It is in a Comanche blood line, and it has involved the Judeo-Christian religion, most recently the Seventh-day Adventist faith (and still some Roman Catholicism–brought again to the family through marriage). I cannot sort these influences out quite perfectly, but I know that they are related.
I have found in the way in which Comanche families love and honor one another, despite all manner of personal offenses, dysfunctions, socio-psychological problems, reflects a kind of human bonding that, to me, represents a pre-Christian Christianity. The willingness to tolerate profound offense, to abide the dishonorable–for some deeper, larger value and purpose, this is a deep Comanche way. This trait in the Comanches, along with Christian communion, makes for a wonderful human experience in the world. I feel profoundly privileged to understand this.
My pursuit of the honor of Bad Eagle means to honor both the love of a Comanche family, and the love of Jesus.
Usu hakaru weehutui
Jesusitu weehutui. Jesusi, numi sutai.
U niwaitu nunu sumu oyetu. Jesusi, numi sutai.