The Sketchbook of Thomas Blue Eagle by Gae Matthaei and Jewell Grutman, 2001 first edition.


Written by Gae Matthaei and Jewell Grutman. Illustrated by Adam Cvijanovic. Lakota Advisor, Arthur Amiotte. First edition, 2001. Chronicle Books. San Francisco.

"My story begins in 1885 when I was eighteen years old. I am Blue Eagle of the Lakota tribe, and this is my sketchbook. It tells of my journey to the faraway lands across the big water..." with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show.

Twin sisters Gae Matthaei and Jewell Grutman first created the Ledgerbook of Thomas Blue Eagle, an award-winning "picture story" they imagined a young Lakota boy from the Plains might have drawn and written as a student at the Carlisle Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. During the 19th C, as the United States expanded West and native peoples across the frontier were confronted by white settlers, many of their young people were taken and installed at Indian schools. Their hair was cut and their native clothes were replaced by conventional clothing, and their languages were banned to force them to learn English and assimilate. From 1879 to 1918, the Carlisle Indian School was attended by over 12,000 children representing more than 140 tribes, and became the model for the 150 Indian schools across the country.

According to the authors, "...the children recorded important events from their earlier lives using the same traditional pictographic methods of their ancestors as they had observed their elders use in robe painting. Among the Plains Indians, pictographs were used in two distinctly different ways. Some were used mnemonic devices to record historical events called winter counts and were painting on hides. Others were used in narratives, or stories, and were painted on robes, tipis, shields, and other objects. Stories told in pictographs normally read from right to left. Portions of figures often represented the whole. Cartoon like, wavy lines were used to indicated dreams. ..."

In The Sketchbook, Lakota advisor Arthur Amiotte explains the history behind Thomas's decision to leave the reservation and what he and others experienced traveling with the Wild West Show.

New York artist Adam Cvijanovic's drawings beautifully capture the form and spirit of the Plains Indians' pictorial storytelling, assisted by Arthur Amiotte.
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Condition: Near Fine. Lacks dust jacket, as issued. Illustrated cover boards with brown cloth spine. Lettering on spine is worn. Pages are clean and complete.

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