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Ledger Drawing of a Native American warrior escaping the US infantry | Donald Ellis Gallery

Ledger Drawing

attributed to Cedar Tree
Cedar Tree Ledger Book (pg. 75)
Southern Arapaho
Central Plains

ca. 1880

crayon and graphite on lined paper

height: 7 ¼"
width: 12 ½"

Inventory # P4354-75

Please contact the gallery for more information.


Collected at the Cheyenne and Arapaho Agency, Darlington, Indian Territory, OK, in 1882
Sotheby’s, New York, December 4, 1997, lot 447
Jose Bedia, Miami, FL


Jose Bedia, Crónicas de Guerra, amor y visiones místicas/Chronicles of War, Love and Mystic Visions, Buenos Aires: Latin American Art, 2008, pgs. 58-59

By his red face paint we are able to identify the figure to the right in this highly detailed drawing as Cedar Tree, the Southern Arapaho warrior to whom this drawing is attributed. In this scene the artist represents himself fleeing combat on foot after his horses are killed by bullets from six U.S. soldiers. The fact that neither horses’ tail is wrapped, a martial custom of Native warriors headed to battle, suggests that this confrontation was unanticipated. 

This drawing is page 75 from the Cedar Tree Ledger Book. The fifty-six drawings comprising the Cedar Tree Ledger are the result of a collaborative effort between five or six Native American artists of the Kiowa, Southern Arapaho and Southern Cheyenne nations. Collected in 1882, at the Cheyenne and Arapaho Agency in Darlington, Oklahoma, the ledger book contained, on the last page, a list handwritten in English by one of the ledger’s first non-Indigenous owners. For each folio, the author briefly describes the content of the drawing as well as the tribal identity of its artist. Compellingly, this list shows that this ledger was drawn by artists from different Native nations; Kiowa, Arapaho, and Cheyenne. We can infer, given the groups’ geographic proximity to one another, and where the ledger was collected, that latter artists are in fact Southern Arapaho and Southern Cheyenne respectively.