Mike Short Man's Shirt with Print
My mother always told me that this was given to my grandfather by this man, Mike Short Man, who was a friend of his. My grandparents moved to Browning, Montana, in 1917. Somewhere along the line, Mike Short Man gave this to my grandfather. We've just had it in the family ever since.
What do you know about Short Man?
I think he was, like, a sub-chief of the Blackfeet, the Piegan tribe. There are three branches of the Blackfeet Nation, and the Piegans are basically the ones that are in Browning, which, in the United States, is the center of the Blackfoot world, the reservation there. Very close to Glacier National Park.
Well, that's where the railroad was going.
Yes, that's where it is.
And that's where... I mean, it became a tourist mecca, 1899, 1900, through that era. Short Man was a sub-chief, and he was known as a warrior. And the fact that this shirt came from that makes it especially important. If you look, the porcupine quill- decorated strips here are pretty much the same as what he's got on his shirt. I don't think this is the exact same shirt. I think this is a Lakota shirt that... They traded stuff. Things went back and forth. Now, it was made probably between 1870 and the mid-1880s. It has a type of quill work that's real particular to that period. This is your nice dress jacket. This is, "We're going to a ceremony that so-and-so's, "so-and-so's having in his tepee, and we're going to dress up." And he would have had fancy leggings, he would have had his hair decorated. He would have had all his finery. And this was a shirt that represented importance. Now, what really made this guy a celebrity is, Short Man was photographed around 1910 by Edward S. Curtis.
Oh, I wasn't aware of that.
And he's shown as a person who represented that tribe. Now, the print, Great Northern Railroad hired Winold Reiss, who was a German artist, to do these pieces of artworks to promote the railroad. They were on calendars, they had the paintings in the offices, and a lot of these people who he did paintings of, they were all alive at the time. These people were actually hanging around Glacier Park. And I'm sure you want to know what the value is. The print, you see them for anywhere from $25 to $75. The thing about this print, it helps tell that story, and show the importance of this man in culture at that time. The shirt, if it came up at auction, I would estimate it conservatively at $18,000, $25,000, something like that.
This is a bigger responsibility than I realized.
But it's a... It's a, it's... It's a piece of my family history, so it's very important-- thank you.
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