July 1885, Squint Eyes enlisted in the Army's newly formed companies
of scouts. The scouts were established to provide assistance
to regular Army troops in patrolling the Cheyenne and Arapaho
Reservation and the Cherokee Outlet. In August, Squint Eyes
was assigned to Company B, Fort Supply, where he served as a
scout for approximately three years under the command of Colonel
Zenas R. Bliss. It was there that Squint Eyes completed a unique
set of drawings that beautifully illustrate a part of the unique
history of Fort Supply and the Cheyenne Indians who served there
in the 1880s.
Eyes' drawings primarily depict Army officers, civilians and
Cheyenne scouts engaged in hunting, an important part of Cheyenne
cultural heritage and a favorite pastime of officers and enlisted
men. Like other Plains Indian drawings, these images deemphasize
landscape setting and individual facial features while providing
remarkably accurate depictions of culturally significant details:
in Squint Eyes' case, the military clothing, arms and accoutrements
of the scouts. Each man is dressed and equipped in items of
standard issue for the period of his service, from coat buttons
to hat ventilators. Only three of the drawings show men in traditional
Cheyenne dress, which at that time consisted of cloth shirts
and leggings. These may have been included to provide a glimpse
of the "old ways," although buffalo appear in only
Eyes (Tichkematse). Photo by G.W. Davis, 1879.
Colonel Z. R. Bliss appears younger in Squint Eyes' drawings
than in this photograph from his book. Perhaps Squint Eyes was
being kind to the white-haired soldier chief, or the photo was
inserted into the book at a later date.
White Man is in a desperate situation. The bull buffalo appears
to be charging. Buffalo were all but gone from the Southern
Plains by the late 1870s, and the image is an anachronism among
the scenes of contemporary hunting life.