Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

May 2002


Published in Great Plains Quarterly, vol. 22, no. 2 (Spring 2002). Published by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Copyright © 2000 Center for Great Plains Studies. Used by permission.


In 1880 the Lakota warrior Black Hawk drew a series of seventy-six ledger drawings in exchange for credit at William Caton’s Cheyenne River Reservation trade store. In 1994, these drawings were purchased for the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Working with Sioux elders, Janet Berlo has analyzed Black Hawk’s drawings in a beautiful book that will interest Plains scholars. As an artist, Black Hawk drew seventeen typical ledger art warfare scenes, but probably more valuable are the drawings of his visions, Sioux cosmology and ceremonies, and even enemy Crow warriors. He also drew seventeen natural history studies showing fifteen different animal species.