Article #4 - originally published in the July/August 1998 issue of "The Cigar Label Gazette"

cigar label art author pic Did You Know?
by Chip Brooks

Article #4

Indian or First American (Politically Correct) Labels
Yes, there were real people behind those images.

first american cigar label art

"Chief Joseph" - (1840?-1904)
In 1871, when he became chief of the Nex Percé Indian tribe in the American Northwest, Joseph led his people in an unsuccessful resistance to the takeover of their land by white settlers.  The land was in the Wallowa Valley of the Oregon Territory.  Negotiations failed and in 1877 the tribe was ordered to move to the Lapwai Reservation in Idaho.  Although Joseph reluctantly agreed a few of his braves didn't and they killed several settlers.  This prompted Chief Joseph to try an escape from the soldiers which took him some 1,600 miles through Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. Although they were able to defeat the pursuing U.S. Army troops in several battles, he finally surrendered on October 5, 1877.  He and his people were taken to the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) where many of the tribe became very sick and died.  Finally Joseph and the remainder of his tribe were sent to the Colvill Reservation in the Washington Territory where he died on September 21, 1904.  Chief Joseph is in the "Cowboy Hall of Fame".

chief jo inner cigar labelchief jo outer cigar label
THE LABEL: Getting hard to find in the inner size.  The outer label has recently surfaced but only about 50 are so were found.  This may eventually become a good example of an outer label being more valuable than the inner.

"Red Cloud" - birth name Mahpiua Luta (1822-1909)
Born into the Bad Face band of the Oglala Sioux in the Nebraska Territory, Red Cloud became Chief of the Oglala Sioux in the 1860.  For 9 years he led his warriors in campaigns that prevented the U. S. Army from opening the Bozeman Trail to the Montana goldfields.  The war lasted until 1868 and included the notable Fetterman Massacre in 1866.   The Treaty of Fort Laramie was signed by Red Cloud in 1869 after the Army garrisons were withdrawn and their forts burned.  He then laid down his arms and lived at the Red Cloud Agency in Nebraska.

From 1870 on Red Cloud was an advocate of peace and often traveled to Washington, D. C. to meet with political leaders and to speak to the white audiences.   He did not become involved in the later Sioux conflicts that led to George Custer's defeat at Little Big Horn. He was deposed as chief of the Oglala in 1881 (Crazy Horse & Sitting Bull took over).  He lived his last years in declining health and died in 1909 in Pine Ridge, S. Dakota at the age of 87.

red cloud inner cigar label

THE LABEL: This is the label that started it all for me in 1972 ($0.50) because of the "Thunderbird" on Red Cloud's shield (my company name is Thunderbird Productions).  Even after all of these years and many hundreds of labels later, it is still one of my favorites.  I have always considered this to be a common label and thought that there were about 12,000 found but according to Steven Gilbert (his father found the label) there were only about 2,000 found that were in near mint condition.  They found around 4,000 outers.  There is also the rarer "BB" version of Red Cloud.

bb red cloud inner cigar label

I think the art work on the BB Calvert Litho. is a little crisper and it is much harder to find. Now if Sid Emerson would only donate his newly acquired very early Red Cloud (really a beautiful label) to the CB Benevolent Library - my Red Cloud collection would be complete. Ha!

1870's inner cigar label1870's outer cigar label

"Black Hawk" - Chief of the Sauk Tribe (1767-1838)
Black Hawk was born in a Sauk village near the mouth of the Rock River in Illinois.  He was the leader of the last war against white settlers in the Northwest Territory.  In the War of 1812 he was recruited by the British to Fight Against the United States government.  After the war he was forced to sign a treaty ceding all lands east of the Mississippi River to the United States.   Black Hawk later claimed the treaty invalid and fighting broke out.  At that time he had a band of about 1,000 followers but most of the group were women, old men and children. Other tribes failed to help Black Hawk's band and he was defeated in 1831.  He was imprisoned for a time and then was taken East where he met President Andrew Jackson.  His autobiography, dictated to a government interpreter, is an American classic.  Black Hawk died in Iowa in 1838 at the age of 71.

black hawk inner cigar label

THE LABEL: For a photomechanical label from 1938 it has a great look.  They can still be obtained anywhere from $20 to $75.  This earlier version of Black Hawk is worth considerably more.

very early Black Hawk cigar label

There are many Indian / First American labels available.  They range in price from $15 to several thousand.  If you would like to view several more examples of this popular theme, go to my Theme page and click on Indians / First Americans.

May You and Your Collection Prosper!

If you have any info on other labels - E-mail or Snail Mail me at.
316 N. Ave. 66, Suite #8, Los Angeles, CA 90042-2971
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