For Supremecy

For Supremecy, Charles M Russell, 1895

As he conversed with his Indian friends, Russell heard many accounts of intertribal warfare among the Blackfeet, Crow and Sioux earlier in the century. One bloody conflict occurred in 1866, when the Piegan Blackfeet were said to have killed more than 300 Crow and Gros Ventres near the Cypress Hill, exacting revenge for the murder of a prominent chief. Such conflicts usually involved a mounted charge into close combat, as Russell shows here. The warriors fought with a variety of weapons, and valor and victory were viewed as the sum of individual efforts. Although Russell’s painting is remarkable for its wealth of detail, it ignores the fact that warriors generally stripped down to the bare essentials for battle. Objects such as the painted buffalo robe or those with beadwork decoration are left behind.

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