Notes for HENRY CLOUD ROE:

Adopted son of Rev. Walter Clark and Mary Wickham (Roe) Roe.
AKA: Henry Roe Cloud.
Born: December 28, 1884 on Winnebago Reservation, Northeastern Nebraska.
Died: February 9, 1950 in Siletz, Lincoln County, Oregon.
Buried: Crescent Grove Cemetery, Tigard, Washington County, Oregon.
Married: Elizabeth Georgian Bender June 12, 1916 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.





An orphan from the Winnebago Reservation who became the first Native American to graduate from Yale and is considered the most important Indian leader of his generation. Among his accomplishments were conserving Indian lands, protecting the legal rights of Indians, and improving the educational systems of the reservations

Henry Roe (18841950) was a Native American who distinguished himself as an educator, college administrator, U.S. Federal Government official (in the precursor to the Bureau of Indian Affairs), Presbyterian minister, and reformer.

Henry Roe Cloud was born December 28, 1884, a member of the powerful Bird Clan, on a Winnebago Indian reservation in northeastern Nebraska and was orphaned when his parents died in 1896 and 1897. After being taught in a series of government schools, his intellectual ambition, academic performance and personal qualities brought him in 1901 to the private Mount Hermon Preparatory School (now Northfield Mount Hermon School) in Massachusetts, which had a work-study program he drew on to finance his education, and which brought him into the social circles of America's ruling elite. He graduated a salutatorian in 1906 and the school served as his conduit into the Ivy League.

Cloud is believed to have been the first full-blood Native American to attend Yale College, graduating in 1910, and earning a Master's Degree there in 1912. He was a campus celebrity, not just because of his background but also due to the force of his personality and speaking skill and, in an era when rhetoric was an art, he was especially accomplished, attracting large audiences on campus and in national venues. One measure of his prestige as an undergraduate was being tapped for the Yale secret society, Elihu.

While an undergraduate, Cloud attended a lecture by the missionary, Mary Wickham Roe, a member of a prominent New England family involved in evangelical Christian mission work, and established a close relationship with her and her husband, Reverend Dr. Walter C. Roe. The couple adopted him and he took their surname as his middle name. His later career included efforts towards establishing modern schools for Native American youth, and he also became superintendent of the Haskell Institute, now known as Haskell Indian Nations University, in Lawrence, Kansas.

In a dissertation by a Purdue University scholar, Cloud's significance is described in this way: "Cloud's education, elite by any standard, allowed him throughout his public life to assume a variety of important roles. In his more than forty years of public life, Cloud acted as a reformer, an educator, and Indian Service official. As arguably the most prominent Indian figure of the 1920s and 1930s, Cloud's life demonstrates how and to what extent Indians were able to influence federal Indian policy. His life also provides a window into the close ties between progressive ideas and the evangelical Protestant Christianity that prompted and guided many of the reform efforts in the first decades of the twentieth century. Cloud's work also shows him to be capable of moving beyond this Progressive Era paradigm of assimilation and embracing new currents of reform such as the push for cultural pluralism."

Henry Roe Cloud died of a heart attack in Siletz, Oregon, on February 9, 1950. He was buried in Beaverton, Oregon. An entry on Cloud is included in the American National Biography, Vol 5 (1999) and his personal papers are housed as a distinct series in the "Roe Family Papers" [3] in Sterling Memorial Library's Manuscripts and Archives collection at Yale University.

However, the majority of Henry's papers, personal photographs and documents relating to his time at Yale, the Mount Hermon school, and including theological society parchments as well as all of his papers from his work until his death in 1950 is in the care of Henry's Great Grandson, Shahn Roe Cloud Hughes in Portland, Oregon.


Henry Roe Cloud was born on December 28, 1886 in Winnebago, Nebraska, the son of Winnebago parents who died when he was young. Cloud attended an Indian school in Nebraska, prepared for college at Mt. Hermon, and entered Yale in 1906. In his freshman year he was befriended by Walter Clark and Mary Wickham Roe and soon after began using the name of these adoptive parents. He received his A.B. in 1910, becoming the first Indian to graduate from Yale. In 1913 he earned his B.D. from Auburn Theological Seminary and was ordained in the Presbyterian Church. After taking his M.A. at Yale in 1915, he founded the Roe Indian Institute (later the American Indian Institute) in Wichita, Kansas and served as its superintendent for fifteen years. Roe Cloud was co-author of the 1928 Meriam Report on Indian administration and in 1931 he was named special regional representative of the Office of Indian Affairs. He was appointed superintendent of Haskell Institute in Wichita, Kansas in 1933, the first full-blooded Indian to hold that position. Cloud left the Institute in 1936 to become assistant supervisor of Indian education-at-large in the Office of Indian Affairs. His further posts were superintendent of the Umatilla Indian Agency in Pendleton, Oregon and regional representative of the Grande Ronde and Siletz Indian Agency. Cloud was active in the Society of American Indians and at one time served as the editor of the Indian Outlook.

Henry Roe Cloud married Elizabeth Georgian Bender in 1916. A Chippewa and a graduate of Hampton Institute, Elizabeth Bender Cloud served as Boy's Matron and Financial Executive at the American Indian Institute for almost twenty years. In 1951 she was named Oregon Mother of the Year. The couple had four surviving children: Elizabeth Marion (b. 1917), Anne Woisha (b. 1918), Lillian Alberta (b. 1920), and Ramona Clark (b. 1922).
(Source: drslibrary.yale.edu - Manuscripts and Archives)

Wedding Announcement

(Source: Book: The Native American - Phoenix Indian School)


(Source: findagrave.com/David G. Stuart)


(Source: findagrave.com/Walter Myers)