A-173, Buckskin "War Shirt" Hunkpapa Sioux, Standing Rock Reservation
Collected by B. H. Pope, donated by Mr. & Mrs. G. D. Pope
This fine buckskin shirt is richly decorated with porcupine quill designs and paint. Colonel B. H. Pope was likely stationed at Fort Yates, North Dakota on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation when he acquired this shirt. The Hunkpapa are a part of the Lakota Tribe, which in turn are part of a group of Native Peoples collectively sometimes known as “Sioux.” Once resident in the forests of modern Minnesota, the introduction of horses and firearms transformed their culture. They became Plains-roving bison hunters. In the late 19th century the Hunkpapa division of the Lakota tribe was famously involved in several conflicts that were a part of the “Plains Indian Wars,” including the Battle of Little Big Horn, where General George Armstrong Custer’s 7th Cavalry were defeated. Shirts of this type are sometimes known as “war shirts,” as they were often created in such a way as to document their owner’s exploits in battle.