Item #7717 Fast Eagle. Deadwood, S.D. Davis Photo Studio.
Fast Eagle. Deadwood, S.D.
Fast Eagle. Deadwood, S.D.

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Fast Eagle. Deadwood, S.D.

Deadwood, South Dakota, [ca. 1920s]. Silver print photograph, 9.8” x 8” in original frame. Image titled and credited in the negative. Partially inaccurate note on frame backing: “G. G. Inman. Born April 5 18[65] among the Indians [?] in a tipi. A frontiersman and Indian Scout. He donated a large collection of Indian and other relics to the public schools at Sioux City, Iowa.” CONDITION: Very good, strong tonality, light wear at edges.

A rare image of collector and lecturer G. G. Inman who toured the U.S. exhibiting his collection of Native American art and artifacts.

Born in Illinois, G. G. Inman (1865–?) moved with his father to Indian Territory south of Fort Dodge, Kansas in 1880, and appears to have lived most of his adult life in Deadwood and Kadoka, South Dakota. Inman formed a large collection of Native American handicrafts comprising several hundred specimens, including buckskin suits, saddles, weapons, ceremonial instruments, and art. He is shown here posing as a wild west type, with tousled hair, wearing a buckskin jacket— evidently drawn from his collection—and holding a pistol in his hands. A rifle rests by his side. The title identifies him as “Fast Eagle”—a named given to him by the Sioux, as detailed by The Daily Deadwood Pioneer-Times in 1926:

In the forty years he has been associated with the Sioux Indian, Mr. Inman has a great respect for them…and the Indians showed their appreciation of the deeds done by Mr. Inman by adopting him in their tribe and giving him the name of ‘Wanblee Luzaha,’ meaning Fast Eagle, the name Eagle to the Indian is next to the great Spirit, and to wear the emblem of the eagle shows dignity and honor.

Accounts differ on the details of Inman’s life; some sources claim that he lived among Indians after his father’s death and was employed by the federal government as an Indian Scout. Despite his long association with Native Americans, the exact nature of his history and relationship with them and how he came to amass his collection is unclear.

Newspaper accounts suggest that Inman toured extensively with his collection. One such tour took place in 1923, when he was hired by the Custer Battlefield Highway Association to make a trip over the highway in an effort to stimulate tourism. The Highway went through the site of the Custer Battlefield National Cemetery (where Custer and his men were buried), and also passed through Custer State Park, the Badlands of South Dakota, and Devil's Tower in Wyoming. Inman traveled by truck with his collection which he exhibited in a tent at each stop. He also transported one of the original mail and express stages used to carry the mail between Ft. Pierre on the Missouri River and Deadwood (before the advent of the railroad). Inman is known to have donated parts of his collection to public schools in Sioux City, Iowa and to the city of Deadwood. A permanent resident of Deadwood as early as 1926, he lived at least into the 1940s.

We have been unable to locate any other examples of this photograph, which was likely taken for distribution during one of Inman’s tours.

A rare photograph of a Wild West character and noted collector of Native American handicrafts.

REFERENCES: The Daily Deadwood Pioneer-Times (Deadwood, SD, 1 Sept. 1926), p. 1; Kadoka Press, Vol. 15, No. 48 (Kadoka, SD, 13 Apr. 1923), p. 1; Sioux City Journal (Sioux City, Iowa, 25 Feb. 1941), p. 14.

Item #7717

Price: $850.00

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