Plains Cree Beaded Knife Sheath

This is a stunning 1880's rectangular Cree knife sheath with a bold beaded upper panel and a cascading checkered "V" design down the lower panel on a white background. The beadwork on the body is thread sewn and completely intact. The pink beaded edging along the back top edge has some bead loss and the edging on the top front is entirely gone. The braided leather strap at the top was brittle and was replaced, as was one of the side drops.

The knife sheath was part of a small collection of Native American items collected by Colonel Horatio Gates Sickel (1854-1918), which passed down through his family. Colonel Sickel graduated from West Point on June 14, 1876 and was appointed to an infantry regiment. Following the loss of so many officers at the Little Big Horn, he was transferred to the 7th Cavalry at the end of June 1876 and served with the 7th Cavalry for 27 years, spending the first 12 years in the Dakota Territory. At one time during this period he commanded a troop of Indian scouts. It was during this period in the Dakota Territory that he probably collected this knife sheath. He commanded Troop E of the 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee in 1890 in which five cavalrymen from his troop received Medals of Honor for their actions.  He was retired by law in 1918 at age 64 and died that same year.

The Sioux child's vest with flags on our website was part of his collection, as was a pair of Sioux beaded moccasins listed in the "Sold" section of our website.

L. 10" : W. at top 3 1/8"

c. 1880

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