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Portrait of Chief Two Guns White Calf
Two Guns, the last Chief of the Pikuni Blackfoot Indians, was also known as John Two Guns and John White Calf. A widely held belief, by some historians, is that Chief Two Guns was the main model for the Indian Nickel. The Chief headed a secret group known as the “Mad Dog Society” whose purpose was to protect and sustain the Blackfoot Heritage. Chief Two Guns was very outspoken about US policies and the mistreatment of Native Americans. The Government, at the time, feared that Chief Two Guns might incite the Blackfoot warriors to a confrontation in order regain their lands, thus painting the Chief in a not so favorable light. The story was spread by US Officials that his image was not on the coin, attributing the likeness to a composite of three Native Americans: Two Moons, Big Tree and Iron Trail. Chief Two Guns was a publicity representative for the Northern Pacific Railroad and a local fixture for the tourists at Glacier National Park. He was a great statesman working for the Native American rights with Presidents and other key figures. In this full-length portrait Chief Two Guns is positioned facing the right looking onward in silent dignity. His deer skinned garment is adorned with beaded stitched symbolism and accentuated by beaded necklaces. A feather, the recognized symbol of bravery, is affixed to his hair. Many of the adornments worn by Two Guns signifies his bravery. He stoically crosses his arms, allowing a pelt to drape from this embrace.