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mezzotint

12.5 x 10.5 in.

Ita ta win, 2008

Ita ta win (Wind Woman), the daughter of Pretty Woman, was born around 1830. It is difficult to know for sure because it was before records were kept, before Indians were corralled onto reservations and before Indian Agents took a census of Indian populations. She was married many times and according to her daughter, Josephine McCarthy Waggoner (my great grandmother), she was lucky with good husbands.

 

She was an excellent bead worker and was a good business woman, getting hides to trade or sell. (Her first husband, Ben Arnold, was a fur trapper and Indian guide and was presumed dead, so she then married Joseph McCarthy my great great grandfather; but later, Ben turned up!) Because her second husband, Joseph McCarthy, had a good job and also owned some land, they lived in a log cabin at Ft. Yates, where my great grandmother was born. Ita ta win was responsible for encouraging her daughters to attend to the newly opened schools on the reservation, which were mostly run by missionaries.

 

She also stored guns under her floorboards when the Indian agency made the Indians give up their guns and horses. She made moccasins and leggings and had the best hides tanned to make clothes that would resist rain, as well as making winter clothes with rabbit fur around the hoods.

 

What is most interesting about Ita ta win is that she was part of Sitting Bull’s clan, the Ircira (one of 4 bands) of the Hunkpapa of the Oglala band of Sioux Indians. During the Indian Wars, when the American government signed many treaties and then broke them, the Indians realized that the whites were going to take their land. After the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Sitting Bull took the Ircira up into Canada to join the Canadian bands of Sioux, and tried to get the Canadian government to give him a reservation since he was a wanted man by the American government.

 

Ita ta win was part of this band, along with two brothers, that went to Canada. When Sitting Bull realized that the Canadians weren’t going to allow him to stay, he retreated back to the Dakota Territory and gave himself up and Ita ta win returned with him. Ita ta win later moved away from Ft. Yates. We do not know where or when she died.

 

Lynne Allen