Description

    LITTLE CHIEF
    c. 1875
    Little Chief, Southern Cheyenne, by John K. Hillers at Okmulgee, Indian Territory, May 10, 1875. Mounted on heavy paper mat with ink inscription, probably in the photographer's hand: "Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of Ethnology, J. W. Powell in Charge, Hillers Photo." Ink inscription below image: "A-sa-wa-ka-red-i-hewl."

    Little Chief was one of the leading warriors of his generation, a status evidenced by the muscular physique seen here. He wears a three-panel, hairpipe breastplate, nickel-silver arm bands, wool cloth leggings and breech cloth and elaborately-beaded moccasins. The same pipe and beaded bag seen in other portraits of the series is also held here to indicate his status as a chief. It is not clear what the inscription was intended to mean. The Cheyenne version of Little Chief is Veho (or Zevehone) Ezce, (Petter, 1915: 230 & 662).

    "Little Chief" was a very popular, traditional name among both the Southern Cheyenne and their Northern cousins. Several different Cheyenne men of this name were photographed in the last quarter of the 19th century. The man seen here was the most prominent southerner of this name, with an extensive war record detailed in battle scenes painted on a tipi liner now in the collection of the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago. In the NAA collection (#gn_00262) this portrait is misidentified as "Starving Elk." Many comparison portraits of this man identified as Little Chief are in the Oklahoma Historical Society collections.

    Dimensions: image, 7 ¼ x 9 ¼ inches; mount, 13 x 15 inches

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    Auction Dates
    September, 2009
    19th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
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