Powell is a white man by birth but a Cheyenne Indian by adoption. His devotion to the ways and welfare of Native Americans has led to his formal adoption into at least four families of the Cheyenne, Lakota Sioux and Crow people, and he is a Northern Cheyenne chief.
He is an expert in their language and history and has written several important books, earning him the name Stone Forehead, after one of the most revered Cheyenne keepers of sacred ritual objects. He is also a priest of the Episcopal [Anglican] church (He took the middle name Peter on ordination, replacing his birth middle names of Alfred Harrison).
His adoptions are real, not merely honorary, adult adoptions, where he becomes an integral part of the family and tribal structure.
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