Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Great Plains Quarterly Vol. 29, No. 3, Summer 2009, pp. 219-236


Copyright 2009 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska- Lincoln


In the summer of 2004 I pulled into the rock and gravel driveway of a small blue home in Walthill, Nebraska, a community in the northern part of the Omaha Indian reservation. Feeling nervous about the large and unavoidable sign reading "BEWARE OF DOG," I knocked on the screen door. I was welcomed with wild barking from inside before I heard a man's voice yell, "Rambo! Hush up! Rambo, get down!" Startled, I nearly dropped my books and tape recorder. The door swung open. I expected to be faced with a Doberman/German shepherd/ pit bull mix; instead, I looked down and was greeted by the large brown eyes of Rambo, a miniature dachshund pup. Then I looked up and met the laughing brown eyes of Hollis Dorion Stabler-an eighty-five-year-old World War II veteran and well-known grandfather in the Umonhon Nation of Nebraska and Iowa. "Come in, come in!" Hollis said, chuckling at my obvious nervousness. "Sit down"-he motioned to a chair in the front room-"and let me tell you all about my mother."

Hollis Stabler is the sole surviving child of Eunice Woodhull Stabler. Eunice Stabler, or Tharaweson , meaning "Pale Woman of the Bird Clan," was born in 1885 on the Omaha Reservation in northeastern Nebraska. During a period of continued transitions and federal assimilation efforts directed at the Omaha people- and Indigenous people throughout the United States-Stabler remained inherently rooted in her Omaha heritage and lifeways.