the crow scout
u.s. 7th cavalry
2009, oil, 36"h x 24"w
The year 1876, infamous in American history, culminated with the defeat of the Custer command at the Battle of Little Bighorn. The intense enmity felt by the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho, which climaxed with this fateful engagement, began almost twenty years earlier during the westward migration along the Oregon Trail. For many decades prior, these same tribes had been the avowed enemies of the Crow people, who threatened them with annihilation by waging constant hostilities and warfare. With the escalating clashes between the Americans and the Sioux and their allies, the Crow saw an opportunity to even the odds against their old adversaries. The Crow leadership sought to create a basis for peaceful relations with the Americans beginning with the military forces charged to deal with the hostile Sioux. This resulted in a mutually good relationship and the addition of Crow warriors as scouts in the military ranks which already utilized Indian scouts from the Shoshone, Arikara and other Nations.
Whether riding with Colonel Gibbon's command on the Yellowstone or traveling northward with General Crook on the Tongue River, Crow scouts had a distinguished record. Zhuo's painting gives testament to their participation during those waring days of the Indian Wars.