Buffalo Hunt is traditional style Kiowa ledger art. In centuries past, the Kiowa created historical records by using hide paintings to document important events of the tribe. Though this piece closely resembles leather, it was rendered on 140 pound Aches paper formed to look like buffalo hide.
Contemporary artist Sherman Chaddlesone chose the same colors his ancestors would have used in the 1800s to create Buffalo Hunt. “They had the basic colors, so the horses would be painted different colors to separate them out from the buffalo.” Because they are hunting, the warriors in this scene have no feathers attached to their spears. This differs from other Kiowa images with feathers representing kills in battle. Chaddlesone is the grandson of Kiowa artist James Auchiah, whose mural Indian Friendship illustrates this use of feathers. It is displayed on the second floor of the Oklahoma Judicial Center. See page 147. He is also a nephew of Stephen Mopope. See pages 133 and 144.
Surely influenced by his artistic family, Chaddlesone has been creating art as long as he can remember. He studied at the Institute of American Arts in Santa Fe before serving as an intelligence and operations specialist in the United States Army during Vietnam. His Grandfather Auchiah was very fond of the color green and Chaddlesone bought him a green silk scarf in Vietnam. “He tied it around his neck and wore it all the time after that. He was buried in it.”
After the war, Chaddlesone served as director of the Indian Arts workshop with the San Francisco Art Commission. While living in the Bay Area, he learned the University of California at Berkley had a shield belonging to his ancestor Kiowa Chief Set’tainte (sometimes referred to as Satanta), a leader who fought valiantly for the rights of his people. Though it took more than a decade and numerous petitions, Chaddlesone convinced the university to return the shield to the Kiowa Tribe. Chief Set’tainte also holds a unique distinction related to the judicial system. He was one of the first Native Americans tried in a state court. In 1871 he was charged with multiple counts of murder stemming from actions in a raid on a wagon train in Texas. Though convicted on seven counts of murder and sentenced by the jury to hang, the Texas governor commuted his sentence to life in prison.
After a few years in San Francisco, Chaddlesone returned to Oklahoma and completed his fine arts education at Central State University (now the University of Central Oklahoma). Since 1982, he has been a full-time professional artist, working primarily as a painter, printmaker and sculptor of stone and bronze.
In 1985, he and his wife were the featured Oklahoma artists in an exhibit in the Governor’s Gallery at the State Capitol. His work has also been exhibited at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming and the Smart Museum of Art in Chicago. In 1993, he served as artist-in-residence at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana.
His work is included in the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, the Art in Embassies Program, the United States Department of the Interior Building in Washington, D.C., the Missouri State Historical Society in St. Louis and the Kiowa Tribal Museum in Carnegie. Buffalo Hunt was purchased for the Oklahoma Judicial Center Collection.
Source: “Indian Museum Opens Special Exhibition from Collection,” Lawton Constitution, April 4, 1997; artist provided biography; personal interview April 19, 2013, Indian Country Today, August 22, 2013.