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SIOUX CHILD’S MOCCASIN IDENTIFIED AS HAVING BEEN RECOVERED FROM THE WOUNDED KNEE CREEK CAMP IN 1890:  This small Lakota Sioux child’s moccasin bears a simple inscription on the inside of the rawhide sole, “WOUNDED KNEE CREEK 1890”. 

Measuring 5 ½” long, the moccasin is made of brain tanned buckskin with a rawhide sole.  The moccasin is assembled with, and the beadwork is applied with sinew.  The beadwork consists of a large solid cross on the instep with a border of individually applied three line elements.  All of the beadwork is intact with no loose or missing beads.  The inscription was printed by hand in black ink with a very fine tipped pen, and the ink has turned brown as is typical of early ink writing.  The moccasin shows very little wear and it likely that it was recovered from a storage parfleche in one of the lodges rather than being removed from a child killed during the melee. 

That the Sioux encampments were looted by soldiers, journalists, and civilians is well documented in the various reports and news articles written after the incident at Wounded Knee Creek in 1890.  This moccasin is the type of item which would have been taken by a soldier or civilian, and while it certainly had a mate, it is likely that two souvenir hunters agreed to share the pair between them, resulting in them being separated for all time.   

That the inscription written in ink on the interior of the sole identifies the location of the recovery as “Wounded Knee Creek”, rather than using the later 20th Century references of “Wounded Knee”, “Wounded Knee Massacre”, and “Wounded Knee Battle”, indicates to me that the inscription was written at the time of recovery or shortly thereafter by someone who was using the location name utilized by the army in their after action reports.  It is worth noting that the army reported the events from that terrible encounter as “Wounded Knee Creek”.  The ink has a brown cast to it, consistent with aged black ink.

This single child’s moccasin with the association to the last encounter between the Sioux and the U.S. Army is a very special piece and a sobering reminder of the cost of settling the American West.  (0405)  $550

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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