Kemo Sabe

Native American Indian phrase meaning “Faithful Friend” or “Trusty Scout” used by the North American Indian Tonto (Jay Silverheels), to describe his close friend John Reid a.k.a. “The Lone Ranger” (Clayton Moore/John Hart) on the western adventure THE LONE RANGER/ABC/1949-57.


Note: The word “Kemo Sabe” was actually inspired by James Jewell, the director of the original Lone Ranger radio series that debuted on January 30, 1933. It was derived from the name of a boys camp called “Kee-Mo-Sah-Bee” established in 1911 at Mullet Lake in Michigan that was owned by Jewell’s father-in-law, Charles W. Yeager.

During the 1930s “Lone Ranger Camps” were held at this popular North Michigan campground. The camp closed in 1941.

Other alleged origins of the term “Kema Sabe” included the fact it derived from the Tewa Indian dialect per Dr. Goddard of the Smithsonian Institution and his reference to the 29th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology (1916) which stated that in Tewa, “Apache” equates to Sabe and “friend” to Kema.

An other reference points to a Arizona Indian Yavapai Tribe word  “kinmasaba” or “kinmasabeh” that means “one who is white.”


Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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