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Imprisoned but Empowered: Cheyenne Warrior Artists from Fort Marion
Exhibition

Imprisoned but Empowered: Cheyenne Warrior Artists from Fort Marion

September 13, 2024 - January 5, 2025

Following the Civil War, and with the introduction of the railroad, westward expansion increased significantly. So did the competition for resources. This created tension between Native Americans and European immigrants, which culminated with the Red River War in 1874. At the end of the war, the United States government ordered the arrest of 72 Cheyenne, Kiowa, Comanche, Caddo, and Arapaho warriors. Of these, 15 were Cheyenne. Taken from their families, these warriors were loaded onto trains and sent east. Nearly four weeks later, they arrived at Ft. Marion Florida. Their home for the next three years. 

While at the fort, government agents tried to assimilate the imprisoned Cheyenne. Their once long hair was cut short, and their clothing replaced by military uniforms. The Cheyenne were in an environment they barely understood. For nearly 100 years, this narrative was told and retold by historians and government agents. However, the Cheyenne have their own story to tell.  A story highlighting the journey east, as well as the life they left behind.  A story told in art.

This exhibition is curated by Dr. Eric Singleton, Curator of Native American Art and Ethnology and Director of Language and Culture Programs at the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, Gordon Yellowman. It will include ledger art from Fort Marion, material culture items, and contemporary artwork by Cheyenne artists.

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