Posts Tagged ‘Louis Charlo’

The first Iwo Jima flag raising (Minnesota Public Radio photo)

The first Iwo Jima flag raising (Minnesota Public Radio photo)



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Everybody knows the story of the famous Iwo Jima photo, how AP photographer Joe Rosenthal snapped a picture as Marines raised a flag atop Mount Suribachi in the midst of a horrendous battle. Rosenthal got a Pulitzer and one of those men, a Pima Indian named Ira Hayes, went on to brief glory, then an early, ignoble end, then a return to posthumous glory because of Johnny Cash’s song, “The Ballad of Ira Hayes.”

Not so many people know that the flag in that photo was the second raised that day; that the first went up because of a bunch of soldiers from the USS Missoula, and among them was a young Salish Indian from the Flathead Reservation in Montana named Louis Charlo, and that his end was anything but ignoble – quite the opposite, in fact. Blackfeet singer-songwriter Jack Gladstone is setting out to change that. The Missoulian’s Kim Briggman tells the story here in today’s paper.

Louis Charlo

Louis Charlo

The focus on Louis Charlo, when there’s a focus at all, is how he helped raise the first flag on Iwo Jima and how he died there.

There is so much more to the story, and Jack Gladstone is determined to tell it.

“This is a coming out of the bear’s den for this grizzly,” Montana’s Native “PoetSinger” from Kalispell and the Blackfeet Indian Nation said last week.

Gladstone is making an epic cut he calls “Remembering Private Charlo” into an 11-minute, 45-second centerpiece for his first new CD in seven years, one he’s calling “Native Anthropology.”

On Tuesday, the 65th anniversary of the raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi on the tiny Japanese island in the South Pacific, Gladstone will be in the second day of a recording session in Tucson, Ariz. He’ll be working with the likes of Montana virtuoso David Griffith and Will Clipman, a percussionist-drummer for Native flutist R. Carlos Nakai. Clipman, like Nakai, is a multi-Grammy nominee.

“I’m going to lay the rhythm beds for probably the best thing I’ve ever done,” said Gladstone.

He’ll be back in Montana next week to record, and said he would love to have the CD out by mid-May.
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