Minnesota Historical Society

Little Crow Print

$ 15.00

Cha-tan-wah-ka-wah-ma-nee (The Hawk That Chases Walking) - Little Crow - Petit Corbeau-Chief of the Kaposia Band of Dakota or Sioux
  • Reproduction of painting by Frank Blackwell Mayer
  • Image size: 14" x 20"
  • Paper size: 20" x 30"

Little Crow, known in the Dakota language as Taoyateduta (His Red Nation), was born about 1810 in the Dakota village of Kaposia on the Mississippi River (present-day South St. Paul, Minnesota). In 1846 he assumed a position of authority as the leader of this village and in the late 1850s became the spokesman for the Mdewakanton band of Dakota of the Eastern Sioux in their dealings with the United States government. Little Crow reluctantly led the Dakota in the Dakota War of 1862; he was killed by a farmer near Hutchinson the following year.

Frank Blackwell Mayer (1827-99), an artist and librarian from Baltimore, made his only western journey in 1851 to observe treaty signings between the government and Dakota people in Minnesota Territory. In his diary, Mayer recorded his first impression of Little Crow at Kaposia: “The chief is a man of some forty five years of age & of a very determined & ambitious nature, but withal exceedingly gentle and dignified in his deportment. His face is full in intelligence when he is in conversation & his whole bearing is that of a gentleman.” On July 2, 1851, Little Crow posed for Mayer at Traverse des Sioux holding a pipe and wearing a headdress of buffalo horns, weasel tails, ribbons, and strings of knotted buckskin. Mayer’s fine pencil drawing (now in the Newberry Library, Chicago) was the basis for this painting, made more than forty years later.

For more information, see: Gary Clayton Anderson, Little Crow: Spokesman for the Sioux, and Mayer, With Pen and Pencil on the Frontier in 1851: The Diary and Sketches of Frank Blackwell Mayer (both MHS Press, 1986).


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