The Plains Indian war shirt was synonymous with elevated political and ceremonial status. It typically incorporated a number of standard elements announcing the wearer’s military achievements and spiritual connections: fringes, quillwork panels, and painted passages. Sitting Bull’s shirt exhibits these features in characteristic Lakota style. His shirt came to the ROM in 1955 through the family of Albert Housley, a North West Mounted Police corporal who had been stationed in Fort Walsh in June 1881. The shirt has an accompanying note certifying it was bought directly from Sitting Bull at his camp on the White Mud River, Saskatchewan, by a North West Mounted Police interpreter, William LeQuesne.


  • Title: War shirt
  • Creator: unknown
  • Creator Lifespan: unknown
  • Date: c. 1875
  • Location: Probably made in Montana or the Dakotas, United States
  • Physical Dimensions: w30.5 cm
  • Provenance: Given in memory of Albert Housley
  • Type: Shirt
  • Rights: Royal Ontario Museum
  • Medium: bighorn sheepskin; human hair; weasel skins; dyed horsehair; porcupine quills
  • Length: 78
  • Culture: Hunkpapa Lakota (Sioux)
  • Accession Number: 955.105

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