North American Auction Company
Live Auction

Legends of the West: Western & Native American Sale

Sat, Sep 23, 2023 11:00AM EDT
Lot 8

C. Dec. 25, 1890 Ghost Dance Lakota Photograph

Estimate: $500 - $1,000

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$50 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$30,000 $2,500
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000
This is an original, authentic Lakota Sioux Ghost Dance photograph at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota from photographer George E. Trager Northwestern Photographic Co. taken December 25, 1890. This is from the Jim Aplan Piedmont, South Dakota collection. The image was taken 10 days after the arrest and murder of Chief Sitting Bull (just North at Standing Rock Indian Reservation in South Dakota) pushing tensions near the breaking point, and just 4 days before the U.S. Cavalry killed hundreds of Lakota in the Wounded Knee Massacre, only around 20 miles from this spot (it is easily presumed that some of the members in the photograph were eventually killed at Wounded Knee). There is another promenade or boudoir card photographs that was listed by Swann Auction Gallery in September 2021 which shows two photographs, one being this exact image and the other taken at the exact same time, several of the exact dancers can be seen in both photographs, with the other being marked in the negative, “Rose Bud and Sioux Indian War Dance at Pine Ridge Agcy, Dec 25th, 1890, S. Dak.,”. The back of the card is handwritten in graphite pencil at the top in cursive, “The Ghost Dance”. The card also is printed on the back, “VIEWS Wounded Knee Battle, Indian Camps, War Camps, Indian Chiefs. Everything of interest in the late Pine Ridge War are held by us for sale. Agents wishing to make $10 to $15 per day wanted. Northwestern Photographic Co., Chadron, Neb.” The back also shows a quack Epilepsy Cure stating, “The water from the famous MINNE PAZUTA SPRINGS have cured 20 cases of the worst forms of Epilepsy within the last year. For information and testimonials address Trager & Ford Chadron, NEB.” The photograph truly shows one of the most contentions and important moments in time during the Indian Wars and Native American history. Tatanka Iyotake, better known as Sitting Bull led the Lakota / Hunkpapa Sioux during years of resistance against the brutal anti-Native American policies declared by the United States government. Sitting Bull was killed by the police on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation just north of where this photograph was taken during an attempt to arrest him. The authorities greatly feared that Sitting Bull, being the highest person of influence, would join the Ghost Dance movement, which preached resistance to assimilation. This photograph is a reaction to the killing of their beloved leader, taken only 10 days after his death, and eventually led to the great massacre of nearly 300 Lakota Sioux by the U.S. Cavalry. One of the best photographs we have offered and on the public market. Provenance: From the Jim Aplan collection Piedmont, South Dakota. Measures 8.5” by 5”.

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