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Double trophy roster book drawings

High Bull (Northern Cheyenne, ca. 1848–1876), double trophy roster book drawings
Paper, graphite
12.5 x 19 cm
Presented by Grace Hoffman White

High Bull and other warriors recorded events reflecting their lives—including courtships, marriages, and war exploits—in this ledger book, captured at the Little Big Horn. The book was retaken six months later, after High Bull was killed in battle.

High Bull’s encounters with George Armstrong Custer—or Yellow Hair, as the Cheyenne called him—began with brief skirmishes. In 1869 a traditional council of Cheyenne chiefs, including High Bull and the Cheyenne Arrow Keeper Stone Forehead, met to settle a peace agreement. The chiefs informed Lieutenant Colonel Custer that by smoking the red pipe, he had agreed to all the terms they had discussed. From that day forward, Custer promised, “I will no longer attack or kill a Cheyenne.” Before Custer left the tipi, the Arrow Keeper took the ceremonial pipe and emptied the tobacco on Custer’s boots, saying that if Custer broke his promise he would turn into those ashes.

High Bull, a decorated warrior, fought to protect all Cheyenne and fulfill his role as a chief. His legacy and spirit continue through this astonishing book.

—Gordon L. Yellowman (Southern Cheyenne)
Adjunct professor teaching Native American art, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College and Southwestern Oklahoma State University

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