Clayton State University’s Dr. David Messer (Avondale Estates), assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Education, recently authored his first book, entitled, “Henry Roe Cloud: A Biography.”
“The book is biography of Henry Roe Cloud, a Winnebago Indian born around 1884 in Nebraska,” Messer says. “As a young man he attended government and reservation schools. Eventually he attended Mount Hermon Preparatory School and later was the first Native American to graduate from Yale. He was an ordained Presbyterian minister and started the first high school administered by Native Americans. He held several important governmental offices dealing with Indian affairs during the administrations of different presidents. His life was a mosaic of traditional Indian beliefs and values, reform theology, progressive education theories, and political realities.”
Messer first came across mention of Cloud in a book he was reading.
“He was described as a famous Native American educator, and frankly I have never heard of him,” he explains. “My interest was aroused.
“A great deal of the book is based on private correspondence and journals. The research involved was rather extensive and I believe that I have discovered and used some sources heretofore unused.”
Writing the book was a rewarding experience for Messer.
“I have come to appreciate the complexities involved in the life of a man like Cloud,” he says. “He was once described as a person who `left’ one culture for a more civilized one. I don’t see it that way. He was pretty well-rooted in both cultures and several of the ironies in his life point to the `uncivilized’ nature of the white world he was involved with.”