Saint O-kuh-ha-tuh part 3

While at Fort Marion Pratt, having previously observed their artistic bent, gave the prisoners—hostages to some—art supplies and ledger books on which to draw. Historically, plains Indian women painted geometric designs where the men painted people and animals, often depicted in action scenes important to them. Ledger art had already been created by some plains Indians but not to a large extent. Making Medicine was one of the most prolific artists at Fort Marion. His drawings, generally done in pen and ink, chronicled events such as tribal dances, hunts, courting, activities at the fort, and personal achievements. These drawings were done in a style similar to the decorations previously done on hides and personal possessions.

Townspeople and visitors to the fort were attracted to the drawings and Pratt encouraged the artists to sell their works to the tourists. He has since been criticized for commercializing this art. Making Medicine was the most prolific and his drawings, made in ink and colored pencil, were the most popular. Some he signed with this moniker, others with a glyph representing a sun dancer in a lodge.

Henry Benjamin Whipple, Episcopal Bishop of Minnesota, became a frequent visitor and a patron of the Fort Marion arts program. He bought several books of ledger art, which he showed to President Grant as evidence of the progress Pratt was making with his charges.

In 1998, Herman J. Viola compiled ledger art done by Making Medicine and Zotom (Kiowa meaning The Biter) aka Paul Caryl Zotom into a book adding commentary to give it contest. Samples follow.

<end of part three>


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