February 20, 2024

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Indigenous Warriors who lost their lives defending their lands and nationhood

For this Remembrance Day and week, MUSKRAT Magazine invited visual artist and oral historian, Philip Cote to share his research and art that honours 100 Indigenous Warriors [excerpt below] who lost their lives defending their lands and nationhood. If you know of more Indigenous warriors that should be honoured, please share with us!

Phil explained:

The following 8 individuals were selected from a compiled list of one hundred Indigenous warriors to provide a cross section of historical warriors and activists. Colonialism and control over Indigenous lands has not ceased today, and although the battlefield has changed, Indigenous warriors are still fighting the same war. This list speaks to Indigenous resistance and activism since contact and throughout the centuries.


1. Russell Means, activist and one of the founding members of the American Indian Movement 1939-2012 (Pine Ridge Reservation)



2. Black Hawk, Sauk War Chief, 1767-1838 (Rock Island Illinois)




3. Tecumseh “Panther In The Sky”, Shawnee 1768-1813 (Scioto River, Ohio)

Tecumseh Poster Version1

4. Joseph Brant, Mohawk Leader 1743-1807 (Cuyahoga River Ohio)


5. Pontiac, Odawa Chief 1720-1769 (Detroit)


6. Jean Baptiste Cope Mi’kmaq Leader 1698-1760 (Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia)


7. Maquinna, Mowachaht Chief Nootka Sound West Coast 1748-1817


8. Sahgimah, Odawa War Chief between1670-1680 (Manitoulin Island)



Specific images where chosen from mid 18th century colonial depictions, family photographs, and when no images could be found, I created drawings from the reading of historical descriptions written about the individuals. Each poster includes a portrait likeness, the name of the individual, and a written text about the individual’s accomplishments, their nation, home territory, cultural visual background and time period in which they lived. Additionally, my knowledge of Indigenous clothing, uses and customary meanings became a crucial component of the individual representations. This series of eight, 91cm by 60cm posters consists of digitally manipulated photographs, paintings, pen drawings, and photo and re-appropriated images of paintings.

HONOURING INDIGENOUS WARRIORS: [excerpt from Philip Cote’s list of 100]

    1. Tecumseh “Panther In The Sky”, Shawnee 1768-1813 (Scioto River, Ohio)
    2. Russell Means, activist and one of the founding members of AIM 1939-2012 (Pine Ridge Reservation)
    3. Norval Morrisseau, Anishnaabe 1932-2007 (Sandy Lake Ontario)
    4. Peter Jones, Mississauga 1802-1856 (New Credit Reserve)
    5. Shingwaukonse, Anishnaabe 1773-1854 (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario)
    6. Big Bear, Cree Leader 1825-1888 (Jackfish, Saskatchewan)
    7. Wandering Spirit, War Chief 1845-1885 (Jackfish, Saskatchewan)
    8. John Norton, Mohawk Cherokee born early 1760s-1826 (Keowee)
    9. Chief Dan George, Coast Salish 1899-1981(British Columbia)
    10. William Commanda, Algonquin Elder 1913-2011(Kitigan-zibi, Quebec)
    11. Pontiac, Odawa Chief 1720-1769 (Detroit)
    12. Big Foot, Lakota Chief 1824-1890 (Pine Ridge)
    13. Black Elk, Lakota Elder 1863-1950 (Pine Ridge)
    14. Blue Jacket, Shawnee Leader 1743-1810 (Scioto River, Ohio)
    15. Cornstalk, Shawnee Chief 1720-1777 (Pennsylvania)
    16. Crazy Horse, Oglala Lakota War Chief 1840-1877 (Black Hills, South Dakota)
    17. Tenskwatawa “The Prophet”, Shawnee Chief, Spiritual Leader 1775-1834 (Scioto River, Ohio)
    18. Red Cloud, Oglala Lakota Chief 1822-1909 (North Platte, Nebraska)
    19. Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Lakota, Tribal Chief & Spiritual Leader 1831-1890 (Grand RiverSouth Dakota)
    20. Rain-in-the-Face, Hunkpapa Lakota War Chief 1835-1905 (Dakota TerritoryCheyenne River)
    21. Spotted Tail, Statesman & Warrior 1823-1881 (White River, South Dakota)
    22. Little Crow, Dakota Chief, 1810-1863 (Kaposia, now in South St. Paul, Minnesota)
    23. Gall, Hunkpapa Lakota, War Chief – Battle of Little Bighorn, 1840-1894 (South Dakota)
    24. Two Strike, Brulé Lakota chief 1831-1915 (White River Valley, South Dakota)
    25. American Horse, Oglala Lakota Chief 1840-1908 (Black Hills, South Dakota)
    26. Young Man Afraid Of His Horses, Oglala Lakota Chief 1836-1900 (White  River Valley, South Dakota)
    27. Conquering Bear, Brulé Lakota Chief 1800-1854 (Northern Wyoming)
    28. Touch The Clouds, Teton Lakota Warrior, 1836-1905 (South Dakota)
    29. Lone Horn, Minneconjou Lakota Chief, 1812-1877 (South Dakota)
    30. Big Jim, Shawnee Leader, Chief of Kispicotha Band 1834-1872 (Sabine Reservation Texas)
    31. Bluejacket, Shawnee Chief, 1743-1810 (Kentucky)
    32. Black Hoof, Shawnee Chief, 1740-1831 (Kentucky)
    33. Shabbona, grandnephew of Pontiac, Potawatomi Chief 1775-1859 (Ohio, Ontario)
    34. Blackbird, Potawatomi Chief, ca. 1750-1800
    35. Black Hawk, Sauk War Chief, 1767-1838 (Rock Island Illinois)
    36. Joseph Brant, Mohawk Leader 1743-1807 (Cuyahoga River Ohio)
    37. Sagamah, Odawa War Chief between1670-1680 (Manitoulin Island)
    38. Mistawasis (Big Child) Plains Cree was born around 1813-1896
    39. Poundmaker Plains Cree 1842-1886 (Battleford Saskatchewan)
    40. Louis David Riel Metis Leader 1844-1885 (Red River Saskatchewan)
    41. Crowfoot Chief Siksika Blackfoot 1821-1890 (Saskatchewan)
    42. Gabriel Dumont Metis Leader 1837-1906 (Saskatchewan)
    43. Saqamaw Iwanchou. Last year (1638)
    44. Saqamaw Denis. (Circa 1671) The Chief of Richibouctou,
    45. Saqamaw Isidorus. (Circa 1716)
    46. We’jitu Isidore (ca. 1656 – ca. 1769)
    47. Stephen Bartlett Chief of the Mi’Kmak Indians of Gravel Pit Reserve (1819- 1902)
    48. Jerry Loneclound (c. 1854 – 1930)
    49. Chief Benjamin of Pictou of Lequille (c. 1830 – 1931)
    50. Chief Seattle Duwamish 1780-1866
    51. King Philip Wampanoag1639-1676
    52. Opchanacanough Pamunkey 1554-1646
    53. Neolin Lenni-Lanape 1761-1763
    54. Chief Logan Mingo 1725-1780
    55. Chief Joseph Nez Perce 1840-1904
    56. Hiawatha birth and death date unknown
    57. Geronimo  Apache 1829-1909
    58. Chief Kegedonce TBA-1831
    59. Billy Bowlegs Sminole 1810-1864
    60. Lone Horn 1720-1805 Minneconjuo Tenton Lakoya
    61. Touch the Clouds 1836-1905 Minneconjuo Tenton Lakoya
    62. Coshise 1815-1874 Apache
    63. Cornplanter Seneca 1798-1831
    64. Captain Jack Modoc 1837-1873
    65. Neolin Mingo 1761 birth and death unknown
    66. Red Jacket Seneca 1750-1839


67. Francis Pegahmagabow (c. 1891 – 1952)
68. Tommy Prince (c. 1915 – 1977)
69. Chief William Yellowhead (circa 1812)
70. Anna Mae Aquash/Naguset Eask (1945 – 1975)

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About The Author

Philip Cote

Philip Cote is Shawnee, Lakota, Potawatomi and Ojibway from Moose Deer Point First Nation. He is a graduate of The Ontario College of Art and Design and has been at the forefront of a group of artists who are exploring new ways to imbue sculpture, painting and other installation art with traditional spiritual perspectives. Philip has been exhibited and commissioned for various galleries, festivals and residencies across Canada and the United States. His recent work includes the 5680 square foot “All My Relations” mural displayed at Allen Gardens until 2015. Philip co-managed and participated in designing one of the five murals. He also recently had a story published in Copper Thunderbird The Art of Norval Morrisseau 2012. Philip is currently a board member on the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective. Philip’s great-grandfather is the great-grandson of Tecumseh, and he has been exploring and researching the importance of the Shawnee leader’s life and spirit.

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  1. Pingback: Teacher Bus Tour with Phil Cote | Nandogikendan

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