Wassenberg Art Center

Wooden Leg

Wooden Leg, a Northern Cheyenne warrior aged 18 in 1876, fought under Chief Lame White Man at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. After killing at least three troopers in the action against Reno's command and bringing down one of Reno's Arikara scouts, Wooden Leg and other Cheyennes were rallied by Lame White Man to fight Custer's immediate command. After the battle, Wooden Let took a new kind of scalp - the face skin and luxuriant side-whiskers of a fallen solder-chief (probably that of Lt. W.W. Cooke, Custer's adjutant).

"My people said I had wooden legs like trees that never tire, so they also called me Good Walker. Maybe you expected me to be an amputee. We never practiced cutting off legs or arms or our wounded. When we died, we wanted to go to the spirit land whole - all in on piece."
Lame Deer, MT 1936

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