Cover Art Description:
When Maheo, the All Being, spoke to the Cheyennes about adopting horses, he told them of both perils and blessings, warning, "Everything will be changed for you forever." In an essay beginning on page 2, Elliott West narrates how Maheo's warning had far more truth in it than the Cheyennes imagined.
Indeed, the profound changes that shaped western Indian cultures early in the nineteenth century echoed down through the decades in unexpected ways. By the mid-1880s, as the northern tribes adapted to reservation life, Elk Head, a Hidatsa, and White Bear, a Northern Cheyenne, were preserving their memories of a bygone era in the detailed beauty of ledger art. In a drawing reproduced in detail on the front cover, White Bear portrays intertribal warfare. The painting, in graphite and colored pencil on paper (17" x 29"), was created in April 1885 while White Bear served a five-year sentence at the Montana Territorial Prison for arson. The gift of Mrs. Francis Jergens Tobie, the painting is in Montana Historical Society Museum Collection and helps form the basis for Allen Chronister's discussion beginning on page 34.
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