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Sioux performers at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition.

Part 1

Featured in this issue is an interesting series of lithographically printed postcards of Oglala Sioux Wild West show performers, published by the Illustrated Postal Card Company of New York and copyrighted in 1901 by William H. Rau (1855-1920) of Philadelphia.

Rau worked for photographer William H. Bell in the 1870s, married Bell's daughter, and bought his father-in-law's photographic business in 1878.

The images illustrated here are colored versions of original photographs taken by Rau, very possibly at the Pan-American Exposition, which was held between May and November 1901 in Buffalo, New York.

One of the major attractions at this event was the Indian Congress, located at the southern end of the Midway, which boasted the presence of seven hundred Indians from forty-two different North American tribes, "living in their natural habitat". Quite how well founded was this claim is a matter of some debate, however, as advertising for these shows during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was often prone to exaggeration.

The event featured the usual components of the ubiquitous Wild West Show--Indian Rough Riders, fifteen war chiefs, the performance of Native American dances and ceremonies, as well as sham battles and trick shooting displays by pseudo-Sioux crack-shot, Winona.

Right: Takes Enemy, or Toka-Wicakin, Oglala Sioux, was born in 1870, the son of Little Son and Wears Whirlwind. He is pictured here in Sioux dance regalia consisting of hair ornament with eagle plumes, armbands and cuffs, dance bustle, woolen cloth leggings, ribbon-decorated breechcloth, and moccasins with quilled stripe designs. He holds a muslin dance shield and staff.

Author's collection.

Left: Lone Elk (Hehaka Isnala), Oglala Sioux, equipped for a dance and wearing eagle feather warbonnet, otter fur choker with shell disc and ribbon suspensions. He holds an old style dance bustle and lightweight dance shield, typical of the type of accoutrements used in connection with Wild West performances, of which there were a good many around the turn of the century.

Author's collection.

Chief Flying Hawk (Cetan Kinyan), Oglala Sioux, wearing eagle feather warbonnet, hide shirt and leggings, and holding an eagle feather staff and dance bustle. Flying Hawk was a nephew of Sitting Bull, and full brother of ghost dance leader Kicking Bear. Born a few miles south of Rapid City in March 1852, as a youth he took part in skirmishes with Crows and Piegans.

In 1876, at the age of twenty-four, he fought alongside Crazy Horse when Custer's command was wiped out at the Little Bighorn. A chief by the age of thirty-two, Flying Hawk later joined Buffalo Bill's show company, Colonel Miller's 101 Ranch Show and the Sells-Floto Circus, during which time he traveled widely throughout the country.

He died at Pine Ridge, South Dakota, 21st December 1931.

Author's collection.

Below: Kills Morning (Anpoakte Win) and young daughter, both wearing woolen cloth dresses adorned with rows of dentalium shells. The proud mother wears a shawl wrapped around her waist, while her daughter wears a belt of white metal conchos, beaded leggings and moccasins.

Author's collection.

Left: Comes-Out-Holy (Wakauhi Napa), Oglala Sioux, wearing eagle feather warbonnet, commercial cloth shirt and vest, brass armbands, woolen trade cloth leggings, and wrapped in a woolen blanket. He holds a staff and lightweight dance shield with painted designs and decorated with feathers.

Author's collection.

Right: Group of unidentified Oglala Sioux men and children, dressed for a Wild West performance. The men wear cotton shirts, silk neckerchiefs, woolen leggings and moccasins, and are wrapped in woolen blankets. The young boy is similarly dressed. One of the individuals on the left holds an otter fur breastplate decorated with metal-framed trade mirrors. The young girl is dressed in a woolen cloth dress with dentalium shell decoration to the yoke, with nickel silver concho belt, beaded leggings and moccasins.

Author's collection.
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Title Annotation:Glimpses
Author:Green, Richard
Publication:Whispering Wind
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2014
Words:630
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