May 31, 2008

Bad Eagle Debunked!

from the Bad Eagle blog

After publishing the article Bad Eagle: Go Speed Racer Go! debunking Yeagley’s ‘bad eagle’ claims, Bad Eagle (dot ORG) received an interesting comment (immediately below). We’d encourage those of you who are interested in Comanches and Comanche history to skip past anything Yeagley offers, and go straight to the scholarly material from Thomas Kavanagh.

It’s telling that Yeagley was “unavailable” when given the chance to meet and talk with Dr. Thomas W. Kavanagh — especially since Yeagley is big on claiming that Comanches had no social or political groups, a false claim that Dr. Kavanagh's research contradicts. And yes, that’s right, Thomas Kavanagh is a Dr. with actual academic degrees (Liberal Arts), not a DMA in piano performance (fine arts) like Yeagley. No wonder Yeagley was “unavailable” when Dr. Thomas W. Kavanagh visited Comanche country.


B.I. — “I'm glad I came across this story. I met a lady last Christmas who's maiden name was Portillo. When I asked her if she knew Yeagley, she said ‘yes and he is such a liar.’ She can't stand the stories he's made up of the family. She and her husband recently moved here from California. She was helping us decorate for the Elders Christmas Dinner and was going to Volunteer at the Hospital, but got sick and then she was moving into a new house. So we lost contact, I recently called her to ask if she was ok and settled in. She was happy to hear from me, she said she didn't have anyone around she knew.

I am pretty sure there will be no Picnic with her and Yeagley together. She said her family knew her Uncle George Portillo very well yet she can't stand Yeagley and his lies about the family.

She is very knowledgeable about her Uncle George. As soon as I know she has her computer set up, I will have to make sure she gets this information.

When I told Yeagley about his cousin Lee Mowry he immediately told me not to discuss him with her, he said "I know my family". Soon thereafter I think is when he and Betty Ann started giving me a hard time on his site. I was eventually denied access to commenting and banned. Yes I think Yeagley has a lot to hide. I can't wait until I get in contact with Lee Mowry again. Her mothers' name is Mary Etta, she was at the time I met them 90 years old.

I also find it strange, that when Thomas Kavanagh visited the Comanche Nation, not too long ago that Yeagley did not show up, since he mentioned him here. He was there for a question and answer session and had a meal with us, approximately 100 people or more were there to honor him, I got my book signed by Kavanagh THE COMANCHES A HISTORY, 1706-1875. Yeagley must be ashamed of answers he would have given” (May 2008).

The Comanches: A History, 1706-1875 (link)
by Thomas W. Kavanagh
This is the first in-depth historical study of Comanche social and political groups. Using the ethnohistorical method, Thomas W. Kavanagh traces the changes and continuities in Comanche politics from their earliest interactions with Europeans to their settlement on a reservation in present-day Oklahoma.
Southwestern Historical Quarterly “A historical encyclopedia of Comanche diplomacy... No student of Southwest Native American history should overlook this book”

Choice“Soundly researched and solidly documented, this book includes painstaking analysis and comparisons of the sources... Of interest to students of southwestern as well as Comanche history"

Southwestern American Literature — “A stunning scholarly achievement... This is a book that belongs on any Western historian’s or writer’s shelf”

Journal of the West — “This is a persuasive and comprehensive work, impressive in its detail and scope.. [It is] not likely to be superseded any time soon”

May 29, 2008


from the Bad Eagle journal

Ever notice how any blog or comment from Yeagley or his few supporters gets seemingly twisted into “race” where it quickly morphs into the elephant-in-the-room of any discussion? We have. Anyone reading Yeagley’s blog will no doubt see this as well. It seems there are a couple reasons for this supererogatory turn of attention on Yeagley’s part: the palpable “fascination” with the white power movement in most of his writings, and the needless fear of impure blood and racial mixing in those same writings.

If Yeagley’s writings are any indication of the man himself, our sound advice is to steer clear or be drawn into a cesspool of non sequitur speculation and excessive aggrandizement. To anyone with half a mind, Yeagley’s blog is the Speed Racer of hyperbole, rushing in haste for race to somehow provide an answer to every important question of the day. You’ve heard of speed reading, well meet David Yeagley — Speed Racer — Go, go, go Speed Racer, go! And don’t forget the mysterious Malcom ... er, I mean, Racer X, what a commie he must be!

What is truly amazing, however, is that for all of his apparent excitement over race-vision, Yeagley never quite manages to acknowledge his own mixed background. Well, one of our readers did a bit of simple research, and you know what? In all likelihood, Yeagley can only claim the ancestor “Bad Eagle” by way of wishful thinking and family folklore — not hard evidence. Yes, that’s right, Bad Eagle (if he was a single historical figure at all, you’ll see what I mean in a moment) cannot be rightfully claimed by Yeagley, except as a family mythology perhaps, with a few hints provided in family letters, family lore, and vivid family imaginations.

In other words, “Bad Eagle” as ‘mascot and mythology’ is perfectly professed by Yeagley without further care by any of us, and certainly without further relevance to any of us. But try to assert this hopeful lineage as verifiable fact and Yeagley’s big bad bird runs afoul of both logic and the available historical evidence.


We shall explain the ‘bad eagle’ mythology using Yeagley’s own family claims. As you read along, you may wish to refer back to this handy lineage diagram, below, which was assembled from Yeagley’s own assertions, and weigh its inherent (or incoherent) “logic” and “evidence” for yourselves.

(click to enlarge)
YEAGLEY — “there are some Comanches with the name ‘Portillo’ who may or may not be related. I say not. There were two children who were put on the rolls as ‘Portillos’ a century ago--but there was no demonstrable proof of who they were, or who their father was... Any Portillos alive today, who are not the children or decendents of Anacleto (George) Portillo may want to claim kin, and may see themselves as related to Bad Eagle. So far, no one but my own immediate family has ever claimed this lineage. That may change. I'm saying that a couple of people named Jack and Linda Portillo were enrolled as such... this is a bloody story... I've already said too much” (Sept, 2007).
No demonstrable proof, you say? Historically, one did not need any proof to be enrolled Comanche. From what I can gather, the only clue for claiming this supposed “Bad Eagle” was a 'Comanche' is that he once scribed “Bad Eagle” as his 'father' on the Comanche land allotment roll. No one verified this claim at the time, he simply claimed it and that was the end of it. What’s interesting to note, is that this “Bad Eagle” used his own name as his supposed Comanche father’s name to list on that allotment roll, after having been captured by Comanches in Mexico. This occured sometime after the Dawes Act was initiated or sometime after 1877.

Further, it appears that “Bad Eagle” did not want to be Comanche, claimed to be Mexican, spoke Spanish, did not want to join the Comanche, and had a wife and children who all claimed to be Mexican and living in Mexico. But “Bad Eagle” was apparently offered free land, and thereby decided to “become Comanche” although his Mexican family never did move north of the border, wishing to remain Mexican. So, yes, there are probably many Portillos who might legitimately claim “Bad Eagle” as an ancestor, and the majority of them probably live in Mexico as Mexicans.
YEAGLEY — “Norma Juanita Portillo was born in 1922, somewhere on the plains of southern Oklahoma. Her father, Anacleto (“George”) Portillo was a foreman for Magnolia Oil (later Gulf)... (Bad Eagle, George’s grandfather, had put little George in Chilocco Indian School, and wanted George to make a way for himself in the world.) ... Bad Eagle himself had functioned in the white world (as a recognizance officer in the Mexican army... The oldest people down there in Lawton remember the Portillo family. They just don't know me, because I wasn't born down there. I didn't grow up down there. They have every right, I mean every right, to be offended that I should suddenly ... throw that Comanche name around” (April, 2007).
Those that remember the Portillo family, as Yeagley suggests above, would be recalling family lore. Whether this family lore is supported by historical and verifiable fact is another thing all together. As family lore it is perfectly acceptable and appropriate, but as history it requires certain evidence.

Further, I highly doubt the any so-called ‘offense’ would taken by other Comanches based on shared lineage claims, nor upon any minor claim of exclusivity regarding the Portillo lineage, no. The offense, if there is any, would more likely be taken by what Yeagley is doing with the lineage and how he is representing and/or misrepresenting the lineage to others. If Yeagley were acting in ways that other Portillos might see as positive, I doubt any offense would be taken at all.

YEAGLEY — “Bad Eagle had an adopted Spanish name, from his earlier life, Cruz Portillo... The descendents of Bad Eagle, who carry the name Portillo, are plagued with this historical image. The Comanche don’t know about José Tafoya. They don’t generally know much about Cruz Portillo, or Bad Eagle. They know that the last of the Antelope were betrayed. Many have an otherwise unaccountable resistance and resentment of the name Portillo. The family name and character is well respected by those that knew them and those that know their descendents; but there is still a living aversion over the matter of betrayal” (August, 2005).
According to the History Channel documentary, Jose Tafoya was the Mexican scout who outed the Comanches hidden in a canyon. Yeagley has tried speculating that Tafoya would not or could not have known where this hiding place was and therefore it was another scout “Bad Eagle” that outed them instead. Again, this is pure conjecture on Yeagley’s part.

First, there is no proof that Cruz Portillo was in fact the same “Bad Eagle” that scouted for the Mexican military, and further lack of evidence that Cruz Portillo was the same person adopted into the Comanche tribe, and claimed Comanche ties sometime after the allotment act took place. Sporadic letters, his family lore, and wishful thinking, are all that Yeagley has, and sewing together extraneous fragments of a disjunct family lore into a cohesive chronology is an exercise in myth-making.

What Yeagley has failed to see with his cherry-picked ancestry is that the several people he has assumed are one man without real evidence — Cruz Portillo, Quinne Kishsuit, Kados, Tuviah — might actually be several different historical figures. Once more, these figures might have been Mexican in lineage.

The betrayal of the hidden Comanches might in fact have been facilitated by a “Mexican” as one possibility, just as the factual history suggests; or as a second possibility, Bad Eagle simply might have been along for the ride and played no significant role in the outing at all. Either scenario better fits the available historical evidence, than does Yeagley’s family myth-making, where Yeagley incorrectly speculates that the Tafoya legacy is somehow really a mysterious “Bad Eagle” legacy in disguise. We think not.
YEAGLEY — “Bad Eagle, or quin-ne kish-su-it in Comanche, was also called ‘Ka-dos.’ More important, however, was his Spanish name, Cruz Portillo. He went by all of these names, depending on circumstances... Bad Eagle was captured by Mexican Army officer Capitán [Louis] Portillo, when the Comanche was just a young raider. Bad Eagle proved resourceful and worthy, and was later legally adopted by Capt. Portillo, and given the name Cruz Portillo. When he returned later to the Comanche Bad Eagle sometimes was known by his Comanche name, sometimes by his Spanish name” (August, 2005).
As we pointed out above, there is little evidence that these various names were all the same person, and even less evidence that Cruz Portillo was a young Comanche raider captured by Captain Portillo. What is evident is that Captain Portillo adopted a stray boy in mexico, took him under his wing, and raised him inside the Mexican military life. Cruz learned from and participated in this military life, married a Mexican woman, had Mexican children, and was later captured into the Comanche tribe. The Comanches did take foreign captives and assimilated them into their midst, and this is what happened with Cruz Portillo, bringing the Portillo line into the Comanche tribe when he signed his name onto the land allotment rolls later in his assimilated captivity.
YEAGLEY — “He was the only full-blood Comanche ever to wear the Mexican military uniform... But, admittedly, there is some ambituity about this return. The one my mother had published in Oklahoma Heritage Association Magazine (Spring/Summer 2001) says he was actually re-captured by the Comanche, who recognized him as a Comanche (even in his Mexican uniform). My mother said they threatened him: either you return with us, or you die here... Funny thing is, Bad Eagle himself was averse to the reservations. He refused to enroll himself in the 1875 census” (August, 2005).
Okay, here we have lots of unsupported claims. First, it is unknown whether Cruz was a Mexican or a Comanche, and he could have easily been a Mexican if one is looking for the most plausible explanations. So, Yeagley’s claim of Cruz being the “only” “Comanche” in the Mexican military seems very unlikely, both on the claim of exclusivity and the claim of tribal identity.

Secondly, it is family lore at best to suggest Cruz was “re-captured” as opposed to simply being “captured” by the Comanche, as his heritage is unproved by the historical record. The fact he was unwilling to become Comanche, and unwilling to sign a census as a Comanche both suggest he more probably regarded himself as not Comanche (and most probably Mexican instead).

And thirdly, correcting Yeagley’s inference above, enrolling into a tribe was not a prescription to living on a reservation, but simply an acknowledgment of tribal citizenship. If Portillo had wanted to enroll, it was not ‘an aversion’ to reservations that dissuaded him from being officially counted among the Comanche. It is more probable that Portillo did not regard himself as Comanche at all, though he was willing to claim Comanche status when he was offered the prospect of free land a couple of years later.
YEAGLEY — “Bad Eagle's whereabouts became mystious [sic] around this time. It is as if he helped round up the last of the Comanche, but then eluded 'captivity' himself. This would imply perhaps that, when he saw what was becoming of the Comanche who surrendered, he didn't like it. He withdrew himself... Yet, he later sent for his family, the family he left down in Mexico (Ft. El Conejo)” (August, 2005).
Actually, the so-called ‘mystery’ is only one of historical record. It is not so 'mysterious' to think Cruz Portillo simply went on his way, about his business, and was interested in reuniting with his Mexican wife and Mexican children. What is so very mysterious about that? But what is unknown, however, are any historical records or evidence that indicate Cruz Portillo, the alleged “Comanche,” outed the hidden Comanches at all. As there is no record of any manhunt to find Cruz Portillo’s whereabouts, Portillo’s easy freedom might further indicate that he was not even considered a Comanche by those in power, and was of no consequence to either American or Mexican interests. It is highly probable that Cruz Portillo, the adopted Mexican boy or the Yeagley family myth, was of little importance at this time.
YEAGLEY — “He wanted them to be part of the new era of Indian life in the US. Our family holds old letters, written in Spanish, between Bad Eagle and his family... Interesting thing is, his family considered themselves Spanish, even though they were Comanche... Bad Eagle's wife was killed, we believe, around the same time that her two sons, one granddaughter, and Bad Eagle himself was killed. This was 1902, 1903, 1904, and Bad Eagle was apparently poisoned (according to my mother), in 1909. My mother never knew anyone from the old Mexico family. They were all gone before she was born (1922). We know little about "Cruz Portillo's" first wife, down in El Conejo. We have a couple of letters. She had a Spanish name, too, though the records say she was Comanche” (August, 2005).
Above we see what is more probably true, that Cruz Portillo regarded himself as a Mexican man, with a Mexican wife, children and even grandchildren. Yeagley is trying to split hairs — split heirs — with his substitution of the word “Spanish” for “Mexican” above. Portillo considered himself and his heirs to be Mexican, and only one time claimed a Comanche heritage when he was offered the possibility of obtaining free land by doing so. In signing up for free land, Portillo scribed his alleged “father’s name” as his own supposed name. Quick thinking. Free land. Bring wife and kids to new homestead. “Land? Uh sure, my name is Bad Eagle ... Bad Eagle Junior.” Good one, Cruz.

We know as experienced readers of Yeagley’s blog that he really dislikes Mexicans of all sorts and has even called for the death of migrant workers coming into the U.S., so for many of his detractors it’s easy to recognize the “Mexican” and “Spanish” flip-flop in Yeagley’s own descriptions of family lore. But what is also indicated above is much of what Yeagley claims regarding Cruz Portillo seems to come from an article that his alleged mother Norma Portillo crafted.

Unsupported claims abound in family lore, even if written down and published as a family account. Of course, Yeagley’s generational claims have proven false in the past. Remember the time he claimed his mother was the first woman elected to office? He argued this claim many times, over and over again, and it flew in the face of contrary claims coming from several other more knowledgeable Comanche citizens, until he had to recant the false claim.

What’s important to note about his false claim is that he, first, swore up and down that his mother literately told him about her achievement. But what is more probable is that Yeagley heard something he wanted to hear, rather than the truth, or simply fabricated the entire story as his mother was no longer around to publicly correct the record. Either way, we have good reason to doubt Yeagley’s claims, even if he insists on something being true. We’ve seen his so-called ‘unassailable’ claims implode before.
YEAGLEY — “The family had become accultured, or assimilated, to life as military employees. In the letters, it indicates that they weren't really anxious to come up to Indian Territory, when Bad Eagle asked them to come up. These letters, too, are written not too long before everyone was mysterious ‘dead’.” (August, 2005)
First, it was Cruz Portillo that probably asked his family to come north, not this mythic character of family lore, ‘bad eagle,’ which is a shoddy Yeagley translation of some other alleged Cruz Portillo moniker. We need to keep the story straight, and avoid the temptation to which Yeagley readily succumbs: the mythic desire to fill-in-the-gaps without any verified historical evidence. This practice might be fun for creating family lore, but not for studying history. The Portillo family might have resisted coming north because they loved Mexico, as Mexican citizens, and desired to stay in their hereditary home.
YEAGLEY — “I have not told half the story. I don't think it's workable as comments on a thread. I plan to put it all in a book, like I said. Plus, it will no doubt offend a good number of people living today, who, though related to my mother's mother (Chickasaw/white breed), are not truly Comanche, nor related to Bad Eagle. My mother's mother kept all this hidden all her life. There are rare moments of reveleation [sic]. Rare” (August, 2005).
There are probably many reasons why Yeagley has not, or cannot, but definitely will not tell the whole story regarding his purported ‘Bad Eagle’ persona. We can quickly think of several probable rationales for his obfuscation: not knowing his true lineage at all, not wanting to reveal holes in his myth-making leaps-of-faith, not wanting to open his dubious “historical” methods to peer examination, and other plausible rationales. What can surmise, however, is that what Yeagley has professed to be historical fact is more likely nothing but self-styled and unverified family lore.
YEAGLEY — “We're not sure of the years he served, or just how involved he was. He wore a light blue Mexican army coat, to his dying day, according to my grandfather, who lived with Bad Eagle when the Comanches were still in teepee camps” (August, 2005).
Again, to be clear it was Cruz Portillo who served, and Cruz Portillo wore a “light blue Mexican army coat,” not the poorly-translated English moniker “Bad Eagle.” Yeagley’s many-into-one ‘bad eagle’ may have been several historical figures when Yeagley’s fill-in-the-gaps approach to family lore is not taken for historical fact.
YEAGLEY — “We're told that Bad Eagle was born in 1839. This would mean he was at least a young teenager when captured and that would put him with Capt. Portillo in the early 1850's. How long it took to assimilate, to learn Spanish, to become the adopted son of the Capt., we don't know” (August, 2005).
“We’re told” Yeagley claims. Told by whom exactly? It is painfully clear that Yeagley is grasping at straws here, trying to count backwards to determine both Cruz Portillo’s whereabouts and his age. In other words, Yeagley knows neither Portillo’s age nor his whereabouts at the time he was supposedly “captured” and “adopted.” Yeagley does not know if Cruz Portillo had to learn Spanish as a second language or not, let alone “how long it took” to supposedly “assimilate.” Notice how Yeagley never asks for the simpler explanation, that perhaps Cruz did not have ‘to learn’ to be a Mexican at all, because he already was Mexican.

This is the type of fill-in-the-gaps methodology that is harmless for family lore, but is greatly misleading for historical accuracy. The most accurate statement Yeagley could possibly make regarding his personal ‘bad eagle’ mythology, is to say “we don’t know” and leave it at that. Was a person called in English “Bad Eagle,” he doesn’t know, but probably not.

“Bad Eagle” is a name assigned to a mythic family figure by Yeagley himself, a poor English translation of other non-English monikers. Truthfully, it is extremely doubtful that anyone — anyone at all — EVER referred to Cruz Portillo as “Bad Eagle,” resting somewhere on a scale from Extremely Doubtful to Near Certainty.

YEAGLEY — “What we haven't been able to pin down is when exactly Bad Eagle returned to Comanche life. (In fact, there is some doubt as to exactly why, too). Our deceased family friend Clifford Seymore told me Bad Eagle came back speaking Spanish, and had to recover his native Comanche ... we don't know exactly what Bad Eagle's encounters with Comanche were during the time he was with the Mexican Army” (August, 2005).
We “haven’t been able to pin down” is not very specific, is it? So Yeagley also does not know when, or at what age, Cruz Portillo was supposedly “re-captured” but more probably ‘captured’ by the Comanches. In addition, it is unknown what encounters Cruz had with the Comanches before his capture, if any at all. Which also means that nothing is really known about Cruz Portillo’s connection with the Comanches from the time of his birth prior to his later capture.

And, finally, what this also means is that Cruz Portillo cannot be proven — by verifiable historical evidence — to be the same person Yeagley has alleged was the one-and-only “bad eagle” of earlier Comanche life. They could have been different historical figures, perhaps referred to separately in sporadic letters with different alleged monikers, and with those gapping holes in the chronology being simply sewn together in Yeagley’s family’s folklore.

YEAGLEY — “I've never said that there wasn't any Mexican mixing south of the Cimmaron River. The Mexican/Spanish culture was the first non-Indian culture the Comanches ever encountered. The first horses and riders the Comanche saw were Spanish. That says more than enough right there. An occasional captive and intermarriage, either way, was not completely rare among any tribe of the Southwest” (August, 2005).
Okay, here’s another crack in Yeagley’s claims of racial purity. The Comanches encountered Mexicans very early, far earlier than Cruz Portillo could have been born as an alleged “Comanche.” And with Comanches capturing non-Comanches, bringing other cultures into the tribe, intermarrying with non-Comanches, intermarrying with Mexicans, it is far more likely that Cruz Portillo was a mexican boy who was fathered by Captain Portillo (perhaps by adoption), and later captured into the Comanche tribe. This more plausible explanation meets the requirements of the available evidence without leaping across gaps in the historical record, and does not falsely assume the catchall moniker “bad eagle” existed first as a Comanche, then became a Mexican, then became a Comanche again — all asserted by Yeagley without any verification whatsoever regarding his whereabouts, his travels or even his age.

Leaps of faith, filling-in-the-gaps, wild speculation, the power of positive thinking — whatever you wish to call it — jumping across missing pieces of the chronological record is not regarded as the reasonable pursuit of historical fact. Skipping rocks over the waters of history must be regarded as wishful thinking at best. Yeagley’s ‘bad eagle’ is perhaps suitable in the realm of family folklore, but in the realm of Comanche lineage it is clearly a myth.
YEAGLEY — “We are told he became head of a numunukahn. I am not sure of the period in which that developed” (August, 2005).
Again with the ‘we are told’ business. This hyperbole holds the same historic certainty as “they say” or “some would say,” ... that is no credibility at all. The important note here, of course, is that again Yeagley indicates that he simply doesn’t know the period when this alleged ‘bad eagle,’ or possibly Cruz Portillo, became Comanche, nor where he was when it supposedly happened, nor how old he purportedly was when it took place. It’s pure speculation, as far as history is concerned. Family lore, okay. Historical fact, no.
YEAGLEY — “I am the direct ‘blood’ descendent of Bad Eagle (1836-1909), or quin-ne kish-su-it, as it is written on the historical rolls. My mother’s father, my grandfather, George Portillo (1895-1987), actually lived with Bad Eagle, when many Comanche people still lived in their teepees. He told us stories about Bad Eagle” (July, 2005).
Once again, it is impossible to show that ‘bad eagle’ was a single person, and was the same person as Cruz Portillo, without making huge leaps across empty historical canyons of missing information. Yeagley may, in fact, have a shared bloodline to Cruz Portillo, a Mexican possibly “captured” by Comanches though it is unknown when, where, and how, nor are any of the details of that hypothetical occurrence known.

Was someone named Cruz Portillo adopted into the Comanche tribe? Perhaps, but it cannot be proven by rather sketchy historical records, and the land allotment record might have been tainted by an offer of free land. Was Cruz Portillo’s name “bad eagle”? No, it was not. Even if he did claim one of these alias monikers or another, /bad eagle/ is an inaccurate English translation of a name supposedly spoken another language. Could Cruz Portillo ever have been called “bad eagle” by anyone in his lifetime? No, of course not. Can David Yeagley cliam “bad eagle” as a personal mascot? Sure. Can he paste “bad eagle” photos into his family scrapbook? Absolutely. Do we care if Yeagley’s ‘bad eagle’ actually existed or not? Of course we don’t because the ‘bad eagle’ mythology is apparently Yeagley’s family folklore and it’s a free country.

But should we accept at face value, any claim that a ‘bad eagle’ captive ever existed, and that he went by many monikers, in many unknown and unverified locations, in several unverified time periods, and was flip-flopping his citizenship from Mexico to the United States while retaining a Mexican wife, Mexican kids and Mexican grand kids? No, of course, we should not accept these claims without historical evidence, and certainly not from someone who admonishes us of the truth of his claims, only to have his false statements corrected by many Comanches who disagree with him. To be SO CERTAIN when shouting down everyone who was questioning his grandiose assumptions, but then to end up SO WRONG about those claims — this is a person whose claims demand further proofs. And, so far, Yeagley has been unable to provide the proof.
YEAGLEY — “Much later, while with the army somewhere in Comanche land, Bad Eagle was recognized by the Comanche... Bad Eagle finally sent George to Chillaco Indian School. There George met Juanita, a Comanche/Chickasaw girl whom he married. One of their six children was my mother, Norma Juanita Portillo” (July, 2005).
Who sent George to Indian school? Oh yes, “Cruz Portillo” did, not ‘bad eagle.’ This ‘bad eagle’ mythology really infiltrates the unhindered story in revisionist ways; of course, there was no English-only “bad eagle,” and there exists the possibility of multiple people accounting for multiple monikers. As the ages, places and time periods are unknown, it is pure conjecture to posit a ‘bad eagle’ as anything other than family mythology. Plus, it seems Yeagley’s grandmother was part white and part Comanche (from an earlier quotation), and above we see she was also part Chickasaw, all unspecified percentages.
YEAGLEY — “He was also called Tu-vi-ah, meaning straight... There was a book about him, written in Spanish, which we haven't been able to track down... We do not know the identity of George Portillo's mother. If I say more than that, it will prematurely expose serious identity issues for other people... For now, we can only assume that George's mother was another Comanche captive” (July, 2005).
Okay, so someone in Mexico was called “Tuviah,” but was this Yeagley’s ‘bad eagle’ or some other Mexican? Oh yes, of course, there’s a book actually alluding to “bad eagle” and his life, but it’s nowhere to be found. What a shame, it certainly makes following up Yeagley’s claims rather difficult. Convenient.

And, finally, we discover here that Yeagley absolutely knows nothing about his great grandmother’s heritage. She could have been white, or black, or Comanche or Mexican. So, Yeagley cannot claim she was a Comanche, and that reduces Yeagley’s claim to Comanche lineage by a significant percentage. Historically, George’s mother is of unknown lineage, period. ‘Assuming’ this and ‘assuming’ that is good enough for Yeagley’s family folklore, but not for legal claims or verifiable historical concerns, no.

YEAGLEY — “Certainly young Bad Eagle knew who he was, and who his family was. He did not need to be told by anyone. When he enrolled himself at the time of the land allotments, he put down the name of his father and mother as Quin-ne kish-su-it, and Cha-wa-bitty” (July, 2005).
The first couple sentences are really funny in this little nugget of wisdom. “He did not need to be told by anyone” ... who does? I know who I am too. What’s the point of even writing something like this? Was ‘bad eagle’ a forgetful amnesiac? What’s the point of this statement? Cruz Portillo had the chance to enroll two years earlier, but asserted that he was a Mexican instead, refusing to enroll. But at this later time, when offered free land, he decided it would be beneficial to become a Comanche and enroll. Okay, perhaps that is the way it might have happened.

Does this prove Cruz was a Comanche and not Mexican? No, of course it doesn’t; the only thing it proves is that Cruz scribed on paper a couple family names to satisfy the notarization. Does it prove Cruz had known parents? No. Does it prove who his parents were? No. Does it prove his lineage? Of course not. What does it prove exactly? Well, it shows that Cruz Portillo scribed a couple names onto a piece of paper, and his exact reasons for doing so remain unknown, except to fulfill the notarization requirements of the scribing itself. It is also a likelihood that Cruz Portillo may have scribed his name onto the rolls in an effort to become potentially eligible for some free land, though his wife and family decided to remain Mexican and refused to move north.

YEAGLEY — “We have bits of information which, however, must find a place in the story somewhere. This is the method we've always used: combine all known information in a way that makes sense. We have family oral tradition, we have oral tradition added, from other elders who knew the family closely, and we have a variety of written information, in the form of story and of historical record, as in enrollment lists, land allotments, etc.” (July, 2005).
So Yeagley has “bits” needing to find places “in the story somewhere”? That approach seems rather piecemeal, which it appears is the way of Yeagley’s family folklore. Assembling ‘bits’ and trying to make sense out of them, is a noble pursuit of course, and probably a fun pastime for Yeagley. But, where missing chronologies, or gaps in the historical records, are concerned, this ahistorical fill-in-the-gaps-with-guesses approach simply doesn’t measure up.

I’m glad to know Yeagley can feel pride looking at a ‘bad eagle’ wall poster in his room, but asking anyone else to admire this unverified Yeagley folklore is simply not a reasonable expectation in the real world. Not without further evidence and peer review of that evidence.

YEAGLEY — “The bit about Capitan Portillo telling the returning Bad Eagle who his relatives were, being Mumsekai and Ishatai, is a curious bit of information. These people are of course quahadeh (antelope) Comanche, which is what Bad Eagle was. But he would not have to be told that. So, what might be the occasion of this bit of the story, that his adoptive father would tell him this, and when would that be? I don't have all the answers yet” (July, 2005).
I have an idea. How about this? Cruz Portillo was a Mexican boy, who was assimilating into the Comanches and did not know who his relatives were as he was new to the Comanches. He needed to know who his relatives WOULD be, and Captain Portillo gave him an answer. Or, how about this: Mumsekai and Ishatai came to Captain Portillo and told him they were claiming Cruz as their relative, in order to give him some kin in his new heritage. And, the captain related this information to Cruz to soothe his curiosity regarding his new surroundings? Both plausible explanations, though as equally unproved. What is absolutely a fact, is that Yeagley does not “have all the answers,” yes; though he often claims that he does ... which is why one should never take what he claims at face value.
YEAGLEY — “I don't know how or why my ancestor got the name Bad Eagle. It's on the early Comanche rolls. He gave it as his name, and also the name of his father. One professor, Thomas Kavanagh, at the University of New Mexico's Department of Anthropology, researched the names of Comanches named "eagle." He wrote this in personal correspondence of 1985, when my mother was researching certain details. There was a "Big Eagle" mentioned by a Time-Life book. That would be "pia-quena," not "quin-ne kish-su-it," as Bad Eagle had written down on the rolls. There was a tabba quena, too, meaning "sun eagle." In fact, that's who the Time-Life author meant, Sun Eagle. Apparently there was no "Big Eagle" among the Comanche, only Tabbequena, sun Eagle. And certainly, there was only one "Bad Eagle”... "Kish-su-it" means wild, untamed, or wicked. There was no Comanche word for "bad," in the English sense” (January 03, 2007).
Well, of course there was no "bad eagle" in the Comanche tribe, no. Was this person Cruz Portillo, the same man who claimed he was Mexican and failed to enroll, except when he was offered free land on the land allotment rolls? So, if "quin-ne kish-su-it” was scribed onto the rolls, how is it that Yeagley knows this was the same Cruz Portillo that supposedly got captured by Comanches at some unknown location and unknown time, but later decided to give up being Mexican on the Comanche land rolls?

Actually, what if Cruz refused to sign up as a Comanche citizen (being Mexican), but Quinne Kishsuit (a true Comanche) actually DID sign the rolls. And what if Yeagley is in the Cruz Portillo family lineage, but Quinne Kishsuit has an all together different family bloodline? Separate bloodlines is a plausible possibility, given the unclear family folklore and fuzzy Yeagley mythology that appears in Yeagley’s blog.
YEAGLEY — “My name is David Anthony Yeagley. I am the son of Norma Portillo Yeagley and Ned Carleton Yeagley. Norma Portillo Yeagley was the daughter of George (Anacleto) Portillo, who was the son of Ignacio Portillo, who was the son of Cruz Portillo. Cruz Portillo was the adopted Spanish name of none other than quin-ne kish-su-it, or Bad Eagle. Bad Eagle was the son of Bad Eagle and Chawabitty. This is exactly what the records show, including birth certificates and Comanche rolls. Some of these records are in English, some are in Spanish. Bad Eagle, my great-great grandfather, also was called Ka-dose, and Tu-vi-ai ... Bad Eagle was legally adopted by a Captain Portillo, and given the name Cruz Portillo. Cruz Portillo's two sons had a godfather names Don Antonio de Ponce de Leon. We have all this in 19th century letters and records” (Jan 2007).
Well, “the records” don’t exactly show very much, and much of what is speculated on by Yeagley comes from a method of filling-in-the-gaps with wishful thinking. ‘Letters’ and ‘records’ reveal all, claims Yeagley, but so did they reveal that Yeagley’s mother was the first woman elected to Comanche office. We know how that one turned out. No, more concrete evidence and an exact chronology is required to legally claim a direct lineage. The rest is hearsay, oral folklore, or down right hyperbole on Yeagley’s part.

Was Yeagley actually descended from a figure named “bad eagle”? Well, no, to be very specific. Was he descended from Cruz Portillo? Perhaps, if you can discount the adoption court reissued birth certificate possibility, where Yeagley’s parents may have received a birth document listing David as their ‘natural’ offspring to protect appearances to a discriminating public eye. Sealed records are not open to investigation easily, but I’m sure someone down the road will be able to figure that one out evidentially.
YEAGLEY — “Take my uncle, Raymond C. Portillo, retired Lieutenant Colonel of the United States Marine Corps and a full-blooded Comanche” (March 2001).
Actually, looking at the chart above, it would be more probable that Raymond was not full-blood Comanche at all, contrary to Yeagley’s claim. Much of Raymond’s heritage remains unverified, “undocumented” if you will, as it is highly likely that he was part Mexican, part Comanche, Part Chickasaw, and part White. Raymond was probably of mixed racial lineage and parts of his makeup are undocumented Mexican.
YEAGLEY — “Anacleto ‘George’ Portillo, back in September, 1989. George was born in Coahuila, Mexico, in 1895. He was partly raised by Bad Eagle himself, before being sent to Chilocco Indian School, in Kay County, northern Oklahoma. George was buried in Kileen, TX. George was the only known varifiable descendent of Bad Eagle” (Aug 2003).
It is doubtful that Anacleto George Portillo was the only verified descendent of Cruz Portillo. As the chart shows, above, there is an entire Mexican side to Cruz’s lineage that Yeagley has failed to explore. Just as a few scraps of records exist in the States, there are probably many other bits relating this other side to the Portillo lineage, perhaps records that are more complete than the ones Yeagley claims. He simply has not done enough homework on this question to make such a bold overarching declaration of exclusivity. The declaration is more Yeagley hyperbole.
YEAGLEY — “In a way, a person with Indian blood, who isn't on the rolls, but who cares about being Indian, should be considered an Indian. Not everyone who has high blood quantum, or who is on the rolls, is accepted as "Indian" either. Being Indian is a mysterious thing ... Well, I say a person's heart tells him who he is. People have their own judgments to make, and will relate to what they see or feel to be true about a person. This we must live with also... Bad Eagle was adopted by the Spanish military when he was a young brave. He was given the name Cruz Portillo. He later returned to the Comanche. He kept the legal name Cruz Portillo, though his name on the Comanche roll is "Quin-ne kash-su-it," or, Bad Eagle. His children kept the legal (white-Spanish) name Portillo. My mother and her sisters and brother were born under the name Portillo” (Sept 2003).
Again, much of Yeagley’s claims above are undocumented and unverified under peer review. The person signing the Comanche allotment rolls may not have been the same person as Cruz Portillo, and may not have been Comanche if it was Cruz (who regarded himself as a Mexican). This would mean that Yeagley is enrolled by lineage but not necessarily Comanche by blood.

Also, if one plays ‘devil’s advocate’ and grants Yeagley a natural birth lineage for the sake of argument, it would be literally impossible for Yeagley to be anything other than a small percentage of the lineage coming from Cruz Portillo, with much racial mixing and undocumented lineage — German (50%), Mexican (6.25%), Chickasaw (unspecified), Comanche (unspecified), and White (unspecified) — but only if Yeagley were naturally born offspring in the Cruz Portillo bloodline.

As far as Yeagley's you're "Indian in your heart" assertion, it is simplistic pandering to Yeagley's blog visitors considering the extreme opposition he took against Rudy Youngblood's American Indian lineage. "Two-faced" and "flip-flop" are the words that come to mind in Yeagley's assertion.
YEAGLEY — “I've never been intimidated about blood quantum. I know I'm at least half. I have pursued this subject” (Sept 2007).
“I know I'm at least half,” says David Yeagley. We know otherwise, given the lineage supplied by David Yeagley (see chart above).
YEAGLEY — “Once in a while, there are people on the rolls who are not Indian at all. Take the Fisher family among the Comanches. They are all white, descended from a couple of German kids who were adopted by the Comanche. They were put on the rolls a way back when. The Comanches wanted them on” (Sept 2007).
I believe this might be true considering Yeagley’s own background; yes, it is highly likely that Yeagley’s ancestor was placed on the rolls at the time of land allotments, so he could receive land for his Mexican family. The Comanches wanted Cruz Portillo on the land rolls, so he was put on it.
YEAGLEY — “There are other Comanches who's quantum is inaccurate. And there are Mexicans who were at one point or another adopted. Tabiti (tah-bee-tai) is a famous one. His Indian name meant Black Moustache, or Black Beard. He was a complete Mexican, adopted by the Comanches, and he lived like a Comanche.” (Sept 2007).
Another unverified quantum man was placed on the Comanche rolls too, Cruz Portillo. He was a self-declared Mexican as was his Mexican wife and Mexican offspring. Cruz, like Tabiti, was adopted by the Comanches following his “capture.”
YEAGLEY — “CDIB card does not say 1/2 Comanche. I'm less than half. I have Chickasaw in me. My mother's mother was Chickasaw, though actually on the Comanche rolls... The Chickasaw connection is not important to me, and I never mention it... Comanche is all I care about” (Sept 2007).
Yes, obviously, David A. Yeagley’s CDIB card would never show half Comanche, of course not. Yeagley is significantly less than half, as we can easily see when his lineage is delineated more clearly, even including 1/16 Mexican lineage (6.25%). In the final analysis, Yeagley is maybe a fraction Indian, maybe not Comanche at all, and maybe not related to a figure named ‘bad eagle’ but instead related to a Mexican captive named Cruz Portillo.

With Yeagley’s fill-in-the-gaps method of family lore, he has failed to reasonably account for major gaps in the ages, whereabouts, travels and accurate family names in his personal mythology. Claimed historical figures seemingly pop up in Mexico, pop up in Comanche country, and pop up with different stories and different names at unknown times and unknown places. Gaping chasms pepper the chronology that Yeagley has presented, and it is clear to anyone taking the time to read through it all, that Yeagley has engaged in wishful thinking regarding Cruz Portillo and his Mexican offspring.

Wishful thinking is perfectly okay for family folklore, and it does not prevent Yeagley from creating web sites, coffee mugs, mascots and other so-called ‘bad eagle’ paraphernalia. Wishful thinking and family folklore might lead Yeagley to summon together a Yeagley family picnic, complete with ‘bad eagle’ brand micro brew and ‘bad eagle’ coaster sets. Sure. Why not. However, in the real world of fact and history, the Cruz Portillo legacy has big holes that remain unfulfilled and open to interpretation, even wild speculation.

Just as David Yeagley fiercely insisted that he was absolutely correct about his mother’s election as the first woman to Comanche office, despite all the Comanches who immediately corrected his false claim, he did not have his story straight. He insisted and insisted he was correct, but he wasn’t. And, as Yeagley insists that he is half Comanche, the offspring of Cruz Portillo, and that a figure named by Yeagley in English as “bad eagle” was once-upon-a-time a Comanche warrior, we cannot forget his former claims and how seriously mistaken he turned out to be.

No, this ‘bad eagle’ family mythology that Yeagley has created is too full of missing links, too many holes in the chronology, and too little historical evidence to support his wild claims. In the end, we must conclude that the story of ‘bad eagle’ is yet another of Yeagley’s wild claims, one that would be fine for a Yeagley family BBQ, but one that is wholly unsupported, unverified and devoid of complete chronological evidence in actual history.

Yeagley's "Bad Eagle" is an exaggerated, idealized myth.