|American Watercolors — Squint Eyes (Cheyenne) - Ledger drawing of Z.W. Bliss & Squint Eyes|
|Squint Eyes (Cheyenne) - Ledger drawing of Z.W. Bliss & Squint Eyes
Published: Painted at Fort Supply, Oklahoma, c. 1886-87
Medium: Watercolor and ink on paper
Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches
The Plains Indians have long been known for their remarkable depictions of tribal activities on hide shirts and buffalo robes. As the white man pushed forward on the western frontier, so did the prevalence of non native art supplies. The Plains Indian began to create drawings on paper, sometimes in bound books, account ledgers or ruled notebooks. One of the most notable groups of Plains artists was among the men held prisoner at Fort Marion in Saint Augustine, Florida, from 1875-1878. Far from Indian Territory and their tribe, they developed a distinctive artistic style. Squint Eyes (Tichkematse), a Cheyenne, was one of these prisoner artists.
Once the Fort Marion prisoners returned to their homes in Indian Territory (now western Oklahoma) their art production almost ceased. Squint Eyes' drawings are one of only two sets of drawings known to have been produced by the prisoners after their return home (until decades later when a few artists created drawings for anthropologist James Mooney). Created between 1886 and 1887 at Fort Supply, Oklahoma, Squint Eyes' ledger drawings serve as an important keystone of Plains Indian pictorial art. They provide a valuable first hand account of Plains Indian life, as well as an insightful view of Indian-Army interactions.
The majority of Squint Eyes work resides in the collection of National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution.