Philip Burnham - Journalist * Historian * Author

Philip Burnham is a free-lance journalist/historian based on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. His work concentrates on Native American, military, and public history.

Burnham taught for several years on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota; was a correspondent for Indian Country Today; has lived and worked in London, Paris, and Dakar, Senegal; and has published numerous books and articles for presses and publications across the country.

In 2005 he was awarded a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism to research the story of Indian-owned lands taken by the government for military purposes during World War II which were never returned.  In 2007 the Fund awarded him another grant to investigate the relationship between Colonial Williamsburg and the local African-American community.

Burnham's latest book is Song of Dewey Beard: Last Survivor of the Little Bighorn, published by the University of Nebraska Press.



University of Nebraska Press

An original, bracing, touching, surprising, and vigorously written book.
Take note; this is something we have never seen before: a serious, and
sometimes funny, and often dramatic, and always interesting account of
a Lakota life after the buffalo were gone. That’s where the story usually
stops. Burnham lets Beard tell us what happened next.”—Tom Powers,
author of The Killing of Crazy Horse

From Little Bighorn to Hollywood--

Song of Dewey Beard
Last Survivor of the Little Bighorn

“By scouring the archives and conducting personal interviews, Philip Burnham has
helped clarify the historical record, teasing out new information and dispelling
lingering myths. Song of Dewey Beard is a thoroughly researched, well-written, and
engaging book.”—Akim Reinhardt, author of Ruling Pine Ridge: Oglala Lakota
Politics from the IRA to Wounded Knee

The great Native American warriors and their resistance to the U.S. government in the
war against the Plains Indians is a well-known chapter in the story of the American
West. In the aftermath of the great resistance, as the Indian nations recovered from war, many figures loomed heroic, yet their stories are mostly unknown. This long-overdue biography of Dewey Beard (ca. 1862–1955), a Lakota who witnessed the Battle of Little Bighorn and survived the Wounded Knee Massacre, chronicles a remarkable life that can be traced through major historical events from the late nineteenth into the midtwentieth century.

Beard was not only a witness to two major battles against the Lakota; he also traveled
with William “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s Wild West show, worked as a Hollywood Indian,
and witnessed the grand transformation of the Black Hills into a tourism mecca.
Beard spent most of his later life fighting to reclaim his homeland and acting as “old
Dewey Beard,” a living relic of the “old West” for the tourists.
With a keen eye for detail and a true storyteller’s talent, Philip Burnham presents the
man behind the legend of Dewey Beard and shows how the life of the last survivor of
Little Bighorn provides a glimpse into the survival of Indigenous America.

 © 2014 All rights reserved Philip Burnham