1891 Wounded Knee Sioux Indian Massacre Cabinet Card Photo Kicking Bear Pow-wow
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1891 Wounded Knee Sioux Indian Massacre Cabinet Card Photo Kicking Bear Pow-wow:
Very rare and original, 1891 Oversize Albumen Cabinet Card / Boudoir Card Photograph of the "Grand Council" of the Sioux Indians at the Pine Ridge Reservation that took place just days after the Massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. This simply amazing "moment in time" photograph was taken on January 17th. 1891 and is titled in period manuscript on the reverse "Grand Council Between Friendly and Hostile Indian Chiefs at Pine Ridge Agency S.D. Jan. 17th 1891. Chief Kicking Bear TalkingÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½. The Photo measures approx. 7 1/2Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ by 5 5/8Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ and is mounted on its original card mount (overall size is approx. 8 1/2Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ by 6 1/2Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½).
The Photograph is a gripping image of depicting a large circle of Sioux gathered in their village at the Pine Ridge Agency. At the center of ther circle there is a pile of supplies and within the circle a single figure stands addressing those gathered here. That figure is Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief Kicking Bear (MatÃˆÅ¸ÃƒÂ³ WanÃƒÂ¡ÃˆÅ¸take) who introduced the Ghost Dance "Religion" to the Sioux at the Pine Ridge Agency - an action that inadvertently led to the horrific Wounded Knee Massacre. There are teepees in the foreground as well as a large number of teepees in the background.
The back of the Card Mount is signed by the Northwestern Photographic Company and includes a slug that reads Ã¢â‚¬Å“Views. Wounded Knee Battle, Indian Camps, Or Camps, Indian Chiefs. Everything of interest in the late Pine Ridge War are held by us for sale." There is also an interesting advertisement for an epilepsy cure sold by Trager & Ford of Chadron, Nebraska.
This outstanding Cabinet Card Photograph is a first generation image printed shortly after the Photo was taken in the camp of the surviving Miniconjou Lakota Sioux at the Pine Ridge - the site of the Wounded Knee Massacre - sold and distributed by the Northwestern Photographic Company, the original copyright holder.
Although Kicking Bear, a Lakota Sioux Holy Man, was instrumental in the introduction of the Ghost Dance to the Sioux at the Pine Ridge Agency, we are unsure if he is speaking here as a or Chief. Research (although inconclusive) seems to point to Kicking Bear as a voice of reason and conciliation after the horrific events of December 29, 1890. It is obvious from this Photograph that Kicking Bear has the undivided attention of those gathered at this important meeting and his position as a revered Holy Man commands the respect of those present.
Kicking Bear (March 18, 1846Ã¢â‚¬â€œMay 28, 1904), also called MatÃˆÅ¸ÃƒÂ³ WanÃƒÂ¡ÃˆÅ¸take, was an Oglala Lakota who became a band chief of the Miniconjou Lakota Sioux. He fought in several battles with his brother, Flying Hawk and first cousin, Crazy Horse during the War for the Black Hills, including Battle of the Greasy Grass. Also a holy man, he was active in the Ghost Dance religious movement of 1890, and had traveled with fellow Lakota Short Bull to visit the movement's leader, Wovoka (a Paiute holy man living in Nevada). The three Lakota men were instrumental in bringing the movement to their people who were living on reservations in South Dakota. Following the murder of Sitting Bull, Kicking Bear and Short Bull were imprisoned at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. Upon their release in 1891, both men joined Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show, and toured with the show in Europe. That experience was humiliating to him. After a year-long tour, Kicking Bear returned to the Pine Ridge Reservation to care for his family. In March 1896, Kicking Bear traveled to Washington, D.C. as one of three Sioux delegates taking grievances to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He made his feelings known about the drunken behavior of traders on the reservation, and asked that Native Americans have more ability to make their own decisions. While in Washington, Kicking Bear agreed to have a life mask made of himself. The mask was to be used as the face of a Sioux warrior to be displayed in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. A gifted artist, he painted his account of the Battle of Greasy Grass at the request of artist Frederic Remington in 1898, more than twenty years after the battle. Kicking Bear was buried with the arrowhead as a symbol of the ways he so dearly desired to resurrect when he died on May 28, 1904. His remains are buried somewhere in the vicinity of Manderson-White Horse Creek.
Kicking Bear was a survivor of the battles of the Rosebud, Little Big Horn and Slim Buttes. In the spring of 1890 he and another group of Lakota traveled by train to Nevada where they learned the Ghost Dance from the Paiute Wovoka. Returning to Pine Ridge, he held continuous dances throughout December of that year. After Wounded Knee, Kicking Bear and other dancers set up camp on White Clay Creek. After attacking the Drexel Mission, Federal troops under the command of General Nelson Miles surrounded the camp and forced the surrender of Kicking Bear and his followers on January 15, 1891.
Between 1888 and 1890 the Ghost Dance Religion spread through many Native American Tribes and, in some cases, became somewhat of an obsession to both the Indians who practiced the Religion and its hypnotic Ghost Dance and the Government Indian Agents who feared that it was a prelude to a massive Indian War. The events leading up to the Wounded Knee Massacre are complicated and have been much argued but suffice it to say that on December 29, Lakota Ghost Dancers were on their way through the badlands toward Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. James W. Forsyth and 7th Cavalry Regiment intercepted the dancers and ordered them to hand over their weapons. A search was ordered, and some of the weapons were collected. A shot was fired, prompting a call for the Cavalry to fire. At first, the struggle was fought at close range, but the fight moved as the Lakota sought to escape fire from the troops, who chased them for miles across the prairies. By the end of fighting, which lasted less than an hour, at least 150 Lakota had been killed and 50 wounded. In comparison, army casualties numbered 25 dead and 39 wounded.
The soldiers immediately began gathering the dead both Indian and Military by a blizzard began to move in as night fell and they abandoned the task of burying the Lakota. The military hired civilians to bury the dead Lakota after an intervening snowstorm had abated. Arriving at the battleground on New Years Day 1891, the burial party found the deceased frozen in contorted positions by the freezing weather. They were gathered up and placed in a common grave - the photograph offered here depicts that gruesome process. It was reported that four infants were found still alive, wrapped in their deceased mothers' shawls. In all, 84 men, 44 women, and 18 children reportedly died on the field, while at least seven Lakota were mortally wounded.
The Photograph offered here was copyrighted by the Northwestern Photographic Co. and is usually credited to the company's founder, George Trager. In fact this image was taken by Clarence Grant Moreledge. Moreledge, a young photographer living at the Pine Ridge Agency when the massacre started, was the first to take images of the aftermath for Trager, before the other photographers, who were delayed by the snowstorm, could arrive on the scene.
Most existent examples of this photograph (and all examples we could find in major Library and Museum Collections) are black and white, silver gelatin images printed as late as the early 20th century and sold by many vendors in the areas around the Pine Ridge agency. The photograph offered here, however, is an original albumen photograph printed directly from the original negatives. Shortly after the photo was taken. It is a riveting image of the held in the aftermath of the Wounded Knee Massacre - a confrontation that most historians point to as the final event in the Indian Wars which had spanned over 200 years of American History and decimated the native American People at the hands of the White Settlers.
This very rare and powerful Native American Indian Cabinet Card photo is in very good condition. Both the Photo and the card Mount are clean, crisp and wonderfully preserved. The Image exhibits sharp focus, strong contrast and rich tonality. The Card Mount is sound and intact with only the very lightest edge wear.
A very rare and riveting, Cabinet Card Photograph which captures a dramatic moment in the aftermath of one of the lowest moments in the shameful record of the treatment of this nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Native American People and worthy of a place at the center of even the most advanced Native American Photo or Western Americana Collection!!! Sold here, as always without reserve and with the confidence that it will attract the serious attention that it justly deserves!!!
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