Sitting Bull and the Plains Indian warriors gathered along the banks of Little Bighorn River did not panic when camp scouts reported the approach of the U.S. Cavalry. During a Sundance not long before, Sitting Bull experienced a vision of a great number of dead Union “soldiers falling into camp” from the skies. It was a sign, he felt, of a great victory to come.
“This painting, thanks to Daniel Long Soldier, has become a far more important piece than I could have imagined,” artist R. Tom Gilleon enthusiastically relates. “I had wanted to give an accurate depiction of the area where Custer met his end and tell some of the Little Bighorn story from the Indian’s point of view. Daniel’s Lakota Wicitowa (Lakota Paintings) of real warrior’s exploits, which I’ve used as the pictographs on the tepees, add a spirit to the piece that I couldn’t have achieved myself.
“The ribbon of river you see is the Little Bighorn. From a vantage point such as this, it would be hard to see the true size of Sitting Bull’s encampment. On the Plains, American soldiers were used to encountering villages of 50 to 60 lodges. In a landscape such as this, it’s easy to see why they would have had trouble seeing just how many Indians were waiting below.”
Gilleon’s previous editions of Tribal Tripartite and Shadow of the Sixth are Sold Out at Publisher. Soldiers Falling into Camp will certainly follow suit.