by forrest fenn
Many of the objects in my collection are significant in a very small depiction of world history. Most are more interesting than they are important. Nevertheless, it is necessary for me to remember that each piece represents who we once were in a time that used to be, and that I will never be anything more than its temporary custodian.
This 4 foot Indian woman was carved about 1830. Her original color tones and tints have gently faded through the years to form a pleasing meld. Her dress of green tobacco leaves identifies her for what she is, a cigar store Indian. The split down her extended bodice may serve to show the struggles of her culture. Before the red men got their own historians, stories of the quarrel always glorified the white man.
I like this wooden lady because she touches me personally. When I look at her – silence responds – but her seeing eyes and angelic face speak in ways that are not misunderstood. Although she is good at keeping secrets, to me she’s the embodiment of an era I am wont to know.
Surely this lady stood in silent repose beside a smoke shop door in St. Louis or some other frontier town as an announcement for the product being sold just inside. At least I want to think so.
Another reason for my feelings about this maiden – she was given to me by my dear friend Eric Sloane, and now he lives vicariously through her to me. Imagination can be a treasure also.