c.1883 Crowfoot (Kangi Siha), son of Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa, by D.F. Barry, at Fort Yates, D.T., May-June, 1883. Albumen cabinet card.
Born c. 1876, Crowfoot was named in honor of the Blackfeet Head Chief who welcomed the Lakota to exile in Canada in 1877. His mother was Four Robes, Sitting Bull's senior wife. When all of the other Lakota leaders had returned to the United States, Sitting Bull with his personal band of about 200 people was the last Lakota chief to surrender, July 19, 1881. When they reached Fort Buford, Sitting Bull handed his rifle to Crowfoot, only five years of age, and the boy surrendered the entire band by handing the rifle to Major Brotherton, the post commander. Although promised they would be allowed to rejoin the other Hunkpapa at Standing Rock Reservation, instead Sitting Bull's band were transported by steamboat far south to Fort Randall, west of present Yankton, South Dakota. There, they all were held as prisoners-of-war for two years.
In May, 1883, the Hunkpapa prisoners at last were allowed to settle at Standing Rock. This portrait of Crowfoot was made soon after their arrival, when he was seven or eight years of age. The handsome boy wears a simple cotton shirt, and is wrapped in a wool blanket. His short braids are tied together, lying on his chest. He was said to be contemplative and quiet, which the portrait seems to confirm. Little is known of his short life. In the early hours of Dec. 15, 1890, Agency police came to his family's log cabin at Grand River, S.D. to arrest Sitting Bull. Like their traditional tipis, the cabin was not locked, so the police simply walked in, in the darkness. Initially, Sitting Bull agreed to accompany them back to the Agency. As he was dressing, however, Crowfoot---then about fifteen---is reported to have told his father that he should not go. When Sitting Bull changed his mind, the policemen dragged him outside the cabin, where news of their arrival had brought all the men of Sitting Bull's community to protect their chief. Within moments, a battle erupted, during which about a dozen men on both sides were gunned down, including Sitting Bull. The police retreated into the cabin, where they seized the young Crowfoot and murdered him in cold blood.
Dimensions: image 4 x 5 ¾ inches
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