American Indian Chief in Israel to Celebrate His Bar Mitzvah

Sioux Indian Chief Little Sun Bordeaux, great-grandson of Chief Crazy Horse who, together with Chief Sitting Bull, defeated Gen. Custer at his last stand at the battle of Little Bighorn, arrived in Israel Monday to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall this week.

Little Sun, of Spokane, Washington, whose mother and grandmother were both Jews married to American Indians, practices both Judaism and his native Indian religion. His visit to Israel, accompanied by his mother, was arranged by El Al.

The young chief, who stepped out of the plane bare-chested and wearing his Indian headdress of feathers, greeting the airport crowd with Shalom, has reportedly not yet decided whether to serve as secular and religious chief of his tribe on the Washington State reservation when he turns 18 or to study to become a rabbi.

Little Sun was received by President Chaim Herzog at the President’s official residence Tuesday, as befitting a tribal chief. For this visit he abandoned the ceremonial garb he had worn on his arrival and wore a skullcap. He spent some time chatting with Herzog, who asked him about Indian tribal customs.

The President presented his guest with a copy of his book on the history of the Israel-Arab wars, noting that “you should know something of the Jewish wars, as well as the Indian wars.”

The young chief later told reporters he felt both Jewish and Indian but “at the moment I feel the Jewish wave is swamping the Indian wave inside me.”

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