Fred Belt, a Hunkpapa Sioux follower of Sitting Bull in 1876, fought at the Battle of Little Bighorn under Chief Black Moon. A Ghost Dancer in 1890, Belt narrowly missed becoming a casualty at the Massacre of Wounded Knee when his band was briefly lost in the South Dakota Badlands and unable to join Big Foot’s band. Thought past 90 years of age the day this portrait was painted, he was breaking broncos to saddle minutes before he posed.
“Brave up,’ I kept shouting to any who would listen. At the same time I fired at these enemies and tried to set a fine example.” – Pine Ridge Indian Reservation 1939

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