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Ruling His Son, Pawnee Warrior / Brummett Echohawk


Ruling His Son, Pawnee Warrior depicts an iconic elder and warrior from Pawnee history. Brummett Echohawk (Pawnee) was connected to Ruling His Son1 (1829–1928) through the Kitkahahki Band of Pawnee, and they knew each other during the artist’s lifetime. The eagle feather worn by Ruling His Son is part of a traditional hairstyle, and the grizzly-claw necklace was worn by Pawnee warriors.

Throughout his life, the artist recorded his lived experiences and memories in great detail, and this drawing on scratchboard is reminiscent of Echohawk’s hyper-realistic World War II battlefield sketches that included views of wounded, haggard troops and wartime death. These sketches began to be widely published in U.S. newspapers in 1944, in an effort to dispel romantic illusions of the wartime experience abroad and raise civilian awareness of the realities of war.

The same truthfulness that Echohawk used to depict the soldiers he fought with can be seen in his stark portrait of a Pawnee warrior, which is a testament to his mastery at presenting a life narrative in a single image.

—Jordan Poorman Cocker, Henry Luce Foundation Curatorial Scholar for Indigenous Painting Collection Research, 2021

This text was developed from an interview with author and attorney Walter Echohawk, nephew of Brummett Echohawk, by Jordan Poorman Cocker, June 21, 2021


1 Gilcrease Museum also has two photographs of Ruling His Son made by A. E. Merryman, Merryman Studio, Pawnee, Oklahoma. You can see one here, dated 1927; the inscription on the back gives an incorrect age for Ruling His Son. The other photo, although undated, is very similar, with Ruling His Son holding the feather fan in a slightly different position and wearing a vertical head adornment.

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Ruling His Son, Pawnee Warrior
Brummett Echohawk (Artist)
Native American; Pawnee
drafting ink on paper
Portrait; single-sided 0.684-0.694mm cream colored card stock board
Object Type: 
Credit Line: 
Gift of Maxine Zarrow
Accession No: 
Previous Number(s): 
Not On View

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