Red Thunder Cloud

Red Thunder Cloud (May 30, 1919January 8, 1996), whose real name was Cromwell West and who was also known as Carlos Westez, pretended to be the last native speaker of the Catawba Indian language for most of his life. As an impostor, he was a considerable success, and even had an obituary published in the New York Times. Doubts about his identity persisted, and since his death the real story has been fully documented. Born in Newport, Rhode Island of African-American parents, Cromwell West developed a passion for Native American history during his teenage years. He embraced a Native American identity and studied Native American languages informally.

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