The full content of this document is only available to subscribing institutions. More information can be found via

Title Letter [manuscript]: to my friend Mr. Burbank, through his interpreter "Ista Tanka" [c.1900]
Author Blue Horse (Shon-kee-toh) (c.1830-c.1900)
Document Type Correspondence
Description From the Newberry Library Catalogue: Letter written about 1900 by Blue Horse, through his interpreter Ista Tanka, to Elbridge Ayer Burbank. Burbank, nephew of Edward E. Ayer, was commissioned by his uncle in the late 1890’s to travel throughout the West and paint prominent Indian chiefs. Among Burbank’s hundreds of subjects was Blue Horse. In this letter Blue Horse provides some information about his early life, his experiences with and attitudes toward the white man, and his religious beliefs.
Names Tanka, Ista; Spotted Tail (1823-1881); Big Mouth (c.1830-c.1873); Bryan, William Jennings (1860-1925)
Places Blue Horse Village, South Dakota, United States
Keywords art, exploration, chief, memoir, religion, cultural contact, mythology, government relations, Great Spirit, missionary
Theme Observation, Representation and Cultural Encounters
Tribe / Nation
Culture Area Great Plains
Additional Information Blue Horse (Shon-kee-toh), was a Brule Sioux chief born around 1830, the son of Chief "Snaoke". Following the murder of his older brother Big Mouth by Chief Spotted Tail in 1869, Blue Horse became chief of the "melt" band of Sioux and moved his band to Blue Horse Village. Eventually he was relocated to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Library The Newberry Library
Copyright The Newberry Library
Collection The Edward E. Ayer Collection
Reference VAULT box Ayer MS 82
Catalogue Link The Newberry Library Catalogue