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Drawing of a scout hunting wild turkeys with a rifle

Pictorial art is an old tradition among the Indians of the Plains. Long ago men painted pictures of their triumphs on buffalo robes and hide shirts. Once non-native trade materials became available in the 19th century, many drawings were done on paper, often in bound books such as account ledgers or ruled notebooks. One of the best known groups of Plains artists was among the men held prisoner at Fort Marion in Saint Augustine, Florida, from 1875-1878. Working far away from home, they developed a distinctive style quite different than that of the many artists who remained in their home communities. 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). Produced between 1886 and 1887 at Fort Supply, Oklahoma, Squint Eyes' drawings form an important chapter in the story of Plains Indian pictorial art. They provide a valuable insider perspective on Plains Indian life, as well as an unexpected view of Indian-Army interactions.

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