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Tichkematse, also called "Squint Eyes" or Quchkeimus (1857-1932) (Cheyenne), was an artist and collector who worked for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC between 1879 and 1881. [1]

Smithsonian Institution Group of museums and research centers administered by the United States government

The Smithsonian Institution, also known simply as the Smithsonian, is a group of museums and research centers administered by the Government of the United States. It was founded on August 10, 1846, "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge". The institution is named after its founding donor, British scientist James Smithson. It was originally organized as the "United States National Museum", but that name ceased to exist as an administrative entity in 1967.


He is known for his ledger art, begun in the period from 1875 to 1878 while he was held as a prisoner of war at Fort Marion in Florida. He continued to make ledger art after his release. His work is part of the Smithsonian Institution collection and it published a book of his drawings.

Ledger art narrative drawing or painting on paper or cloth by Plains Indians of the American West

Ledger art is a term for Plains Indian narrative drawing or painting on paper or cloth. Ledger art flourished primarily from the 1860s to the 1920s. A revival of ledger art began in the 1960s and 1970s. The term comes from the accounting ledger books that were a common source of paper for Plains Indians during the late 19th century.

Prisoner of war Person who is held in custody by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict

A prisoner of war (POW) is a person, whether a combatant or a non-combatant, who is held captive by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict. The earliest recorded usage of the phrase "prisoner of war" dates back to 1610.

He also was known for his expertise as a collector of bird and mammal specimens, and Cheyenne crafts. During this period, he also worked with anthropologist Frank Hamilton Cushing in documenting Plains Indian Sign Language. [2]

Frank Hamilton Cushing American anthropologist

Frank Hamilton Cushing was an American anthropologist and ethnologist. He made pioneering studies of the Zuni Indians of New Mexico by entering into their culture; his work helped establish participant observation as a common anthropological research strategy.

Plains Indian Sign Language once the lingua franca across North America

Plains Indian Sign Language (PISL), also known as Plains Sign Talk, Plains Sign Language and First Nation Sign Language, is a trade language, formerly trade pidgin, that was once the lingua franca across what is now central Canada, central and western United States and northern Mexico, used among the various Plains Nations. It was also used for story-telling, oratory, various ceremonies, and by deaf people for ordinary daily use. It is falsely believed to be a manually coded language or languages; however, there is not substantive evidence establishing a connection between any spoken language and Plains Sign Talk.


"Meeting between Comanche and Cheyenne Warriors." Drawing by Tichkematse (1879). Comanche-Cheyenne Ledger Drawing.jpg
"Meeting between Comanche and Cheyenne Warriors." Drawing by Tichkematse (1879).

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  1. Tichkematse (1887). Tichkematse book of drawings, 1887 April . Retrieved 2014-01-26.
  2. Greene, Candace S. "Tichkematse: A Cheyenne at the Smithsonian". Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on 2013-10-02. Retrieved 2014-01-26.

Further reading