American Horse was a prominent Oglala Sioux chief who was married to Red Cloud’s daughter. Part of my inspiration for this sculpture was his famous top hat which at the time was the ultimate symbol of white man power. He received this as a delegate during a trip to Washington in the early 1890’s. During this trip, American Horse was also gifted a Benjamin Harris Peace Medal. The hat was later decorated by the wife of American Horse using eagle feathers, a cavalry helmet eagle plate and an American flag. This hat is on display at the Smithsonian Museum of the Indian in Washington DC.
Captain Charles Varnum was head of the Crow and Arikara scouts for the 7th cavalry during the Little Bighorn campaign. His duties included delegating scouting parties and the resulting reports. He, along with the Crow and Arikara under his command, were the ones that spotted the huge Indian encampment with hundreds of lodges and thousands of horses, which would soon be attacked by Custer. He survived the battle and was the last surviving officer to die of natural causes at the age of 86.