This mural is painted in homage to the ancestors who were part of the generation between life before colonization and after. The source photo for the main figure of this mural gives her name as Pretty Nose, identifies her as Northern Cheyenne and locates her in time and place 1878 at Fort Keogh.
The Battle of Little Big Horn or as it is known by Lakotas; "the Battle of Greasy Grass", had taken place just two years previous to this. This had been a major victory for the Lakota, Cheyenne & Arapaho people. In the years following, the US Calvary intensified their attempts to subdue the Northern Cheyenne. Picking up puzzle pieces as to why Pretty Nose was at Fort Keogh in Eastern Montana reveals that a band of 300 Northern Cheyenne under the leadership of Two Moon, surrendered to that post in 1877 to General Miles who had defeated them in the Battle of Wolf Mountain. This was around the same time that the Northern Cheyenne Reservation was established in Southeastern Montana.
History tends to place the emphasis on the experiences and deeds of the men while the women remain a mystery. We are passed down their names and tribes only. This mural is a dedication to the lives of those women whose stories remains unknown, only for our imaginations to invent. Did they fight alongside the men for their freedom? What roles did they play in decision making as to their future?
We can't know. It is my hope with this mural to honor the women ancestors.