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    Description

    A truly remarkable set of previously unknown documents of considerable historic importance.

    Doubtless the Most Touching, and Telling, Letter We've ever Read Dealing with the Plight of Native Americans in the late 19th Century American West. 4 7/8" x 8", four pages, neat ink script, folio, headed "Pine Ridge Agency, Dak. April 18th 1887". The letter is authored by the Oglala Sioux Chief "American Horse" and addressed to Gen. J. H. Hammond. American Horse established his reputation as a prominent Sioux warrior during the Bozeman Trail War in 1866. During the Sioux Wars of the 1870s, he quickly recognized the futility of resistance, and was a strong advocate of rapprochement with the United States government. Representing his tribe, American Horse was one of the signers of a treaty with the American government in 1887, in which the lands of the Sioux Reservation in the Dakota Territory were reduced by half. It is in apparent direct response to that treaty that this letter is written.

    The disillusionment and tragedy this letter conveys is difficult to comprehend, but characteristic of the conduct of the United States government toward native American peoples during the 19th century:

    "My Friend - I am gong to write to you today. Before we came back to here, and while we were at the Missouri River you told me to come back and stay on our present reservation. And in doing this you said that our country shall not be touched by any Whiteman but now, the great father and his children are trying to take our land away from us and your promises were forgotten and we would like very much to have you to write to the great father that we wanted him to do what is right with us & not to take away our land. I have told my people what you told me last summer & they were all glad to hear your words.

    We will not consent to sign any treaty that comes out from the great father as we did not approve of the bill that was passed in congress for our land and as we did not like to give up our land to the great father that we would like you help us in this way.

    Now, you told me that if we ever found ourselves in trouble to let you know that you will help us. I have told what you told me to the Oglallas & they were all glad of it".

    The letter includes further requests for help along with questions about the well being of Hammond's family. This letter, as well as the map were were included with items of Hammond's Civil War correspondence, most of which were sold in the June 2009 Heritage Civil War Auction #6024.

    The map is 9¾" x 15¼" and drawn in pencil on an unfolded piece of folio stationary. It is identified on the reverse as "Road to Sidney via White Clay & Beaver". All locations are identified with both their English and Sioux names. There are additional notations, including a list of Sioux names at the upper left, notations on the map and the signature at the lower right "American Horse/ Wah-sichata Shunka/ Fecit", all in red ink. Although it is possible the language is both pieces was simply dictated by American Horse and actually written by someone else, it is interesting to note that he was one of the earliest advocates of education for the Indian, and his son, Samuel, was among the first students at the Carlisle Indian School. Both pieces in fine condition, just some weakness/ minor separation at the folds.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2009
    25th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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