A Kiowa’s Odyssey: A sketchbook from Fort Marion

May 15th, 2009 | By | Category: 20-4: Tribal College Leadership and Vision, Media Reviews

University of Washington Press (2007)

Review by Holy Ristau

In May of 1875, the government exiled 72 Cheyenne and Kiowa Indians from Fort Sill, in what is now the state of Oklahoma, to Fort Marion, FL. Many of these captives were artists, and at least 26 of the 72 created over 1,400 drawings during the years of 1875-1878.

One of the artists, Etahdleuh, made a sketchbook illustrating his life, which the lieutenant in charge, Richard Henry Pratt, kept and gave to his son. Mason Pratt had the pages bound and made into a book he called A Kiowa’s Odyssey.

This book includes the story of the Indian artists, the reincarnations the book experienced over the years, and a full color reproduction of the sketchbook. Each chapter is notated and researched in detail. This book accompanied an exhibition of the same name composed of many of the pages described. Exhibition details and additional information can be found at: http://www.dickinson.edu/trout/Odyssey%20program/index.html

I highly recommend this book to any library but especially to the tribal college and university libraries, where patrons interested in art, Native art, history, or historical art and perspectives, will find new and inspirational insights.

Holly Ristau is library director at the White Earth Tribal and Community College and librarian at the Mahnomen ISD #432 in Mahnomen, MN.

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