Cheyenne Medicine Man. Necklace of Human Fingers. Chippewa Montana and Wyoming c. 1876.
The Pittsburgh Press – 14. Apr. 1902:
During General Crook`s campaign agains the Sioux and Cheyennes, in 1876, the Fourth Cavalry and a detachment of Indian scouts, under Colonel R.C. Mackenzie, surprised and stormed the chief town and principal stronghold of the Cheyennes.
During, or rather after, this engagement one of he Indian Scouts, Baptiste Pouvier, better known as Big Bat, entered the lodge of the chief medicine man of the desired village, and, among other things that the medicine man had overlooked in his hurried flight from he town, the scout found this curious necklace. Big Bat gave it to Colonel Burke, whom he knew as a student of Indian religions and superstitions, and he in turn, prisoned it to the National Museum. The necklace is very old, and was looked upon by the Cheyennes as a hinge endowed with miraculous powers. The Cheyennes tried hard to ge it back, offering a large sum of money and a grew many horses for its return, but this was refused.
The fingers were those of famous enemies, noted for their superior courage and bravery, whom the Cheyennes had killed in battle during their various wars, while the human skin of which the medicine bags were made, was also taken from the bodies of enemies slain in battle.
Source: Annual Ethnology Report of the US Government. Lithographed by Sackett & Wilhelms. Printed in New York: c.1897.
The North American Indian. Being A Series Of Volumes Picturing And Describing. The Indians Of The United States And Alaska. Written, Illustrated, And Published By Edward S. Curtis.