his culture alive and telling the stories of Native American traditions
and history through his artwork has been the main drive in Daniel
Long Soldiers art career.
Soldier, of the Oglala Sioux, was born near Potato Creek on the
Pine Ridge Reservation into a family of 12 children. He started
drawing with sticks on the sandbars of a local creek when he was
about five years old. Long Soldier said he attended reservation
boarding school from age six to 16 and was away from his family
for most of his school life.
was difficult for Long Soldier because he couldnt speak English,
so he spent most of his time doodling. It took a long time for him
to learn to speak English, and he said that he is still learning.
Long Soldier said he remembers spending his lunch time at school
drawing while the other children played. By the fifth grade, Long
Soldier said he was painting murals for school projects and began
experimenting with different mediums.
up on a ranch south of Rushville taught Long Solider a lot about
ranch life and being around his relatives also taught him much of
what he knows about his culture and language, Long Soldier said.
Not too long ago, Long Soldier said, he took his wife, Robin, and
two children, Cody and Kieli, to his old ranch house in Rushville
to show them where he grew up. Long Soldier said he was surprised
to see that his wall drawings were still there.
Soldier, who has been painting what he calls Lakota Wicitowa (Lakota
paintings) for over 30 years, works mostly with pen and ink and
Gouache, which he explained as a water based paint that is a medium
between water color and acrylic.
self-taught artist, Long Soldier paints various Native American
related subjects, such as scenery, still life, animals, pictographs
or anything that he sees or what comes to mind.
for his paintings comes not only from his relatives stories,
but from when he worked at the nursing home in Pine Ridge in the
1960s. Long Soldier said that during this time, many Native Americans
who could speak Lakota were hired at the nursing home to communicate
with the elders. Long Soldier said that he heard many stories from
the elders in the nursing home and that many of them were descendents
of famous Native Americans, such Ben Black Elk and those involved
in the battle of Little Big Horn.
Soldiers wife, Robin, who is also native, grew up in a military
back ground and said that she didnt know much about the Native
American culture until she met her husband. Robin said that through
her husband and his art work, she has learned a lot about Native
American traditions. She said that there is no way that anyone
could look at his (Long Soldiers) paintings and not learn
Soldier, who lives in Gordon, has art work all over the United States
and in other countries, such as Germany, Japan, Europe, Italy and
Finland. He has recently been signed with Greenwich Workshop, a
major publisher of fine art. He has also worked with artists like
Tom Gilleon to help depict Native American culture. He painted the
pictographs on the teepees in Gilleons painting titled Soldiers
Falling into Camp.
Soldiers paintings are available for viewing at the Silver
Eagle Gallery located at 261 Main Street in Chadron.