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 Amos Bad Heart Bull  (1869 - 1913)

About: Amos Bad Heart Bull


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Lived/Active: Nebraska/South Dakota/Wyoming      Known for: Native American historical drawings, pictographs

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BIOGRAPHY for Amos Bad Heart Bull
1869 (Wyoming Territory)

Nebraska/South Dakota/Wyoming

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Native American historical drawings, pictographs

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Amos Bad Heart Bull was a member of the Oglalas, one of seven bands of the Teton Sioux nation.  He was a friend of Crazy Horse, was a primary recorder of the Reno and Custer battles, and came from a long line of band historians, which were as respected as hunters and warriors.

He grew up hearing and drawing the stories told by his relatives. The Sioux had no written language and depended on oral histories and drawings to preserve their traditions and history. Bad Heart Bull's father was the tribe's historian, and every year he presented to the tribe a pictographic representation of the tribe's events from the previous year.

Although Bad Heart Bull inherited his father's talent he did not become the tribe historian. Amos bad Heart Bull did create his own history for the tribe. While working as a scout for the United States Army in Fort Robinson, Nebraska, Amos Bad Heart Bull began a journal of drawings of pre-reservation life from stories he had heard as a child. He drew pictures of every day events as well as ceremonies and warfare.

Although the journal was buried with Dollie Pretty Cloud as Amos Bad Heart Bull had willed it, there are photographs of the contents. A University of Nebraska graduate student photographed the contents in 1927 and had them hand tinted in 1930 as part of her master's thesis.

In her 1961 children's book, These Were the Sioux, Mari Sandoz used thirteen illustrations of Sioux life by Amos Bad Heart Bull.  They were part of a portfolio, Sioux Indian Painting, Part II, published y Editions d'Art C. Szwedziki, courtesy of the University of Nebraska Press.

The Magazine Antiques, November 2003
Mari Sandoz, These Were the Sioux

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