Cyrus Edwin Dallin was one of the first sculptors to recognize the plight of the American Indian and to devote his life and art to making dramatic and heroic monuments that proclaimed the Indian point of view. Dallin was born in Springville, Utah, the son of Mormon pioneers. He was raised along with the Paiute and Ute Indians, exposure which set the course of Dallin's career.
Dallin is renowned for his sculpture series known as the 'Indian Cycle'. This series was intended to demonstrate the cycle of the American Indian's relation with the white man. It included his popular subjects: The Scout, The Signal of Peace, The Medicine Man, The Protest and The Appeal to the Great Spirit, among others. For Dallin, the series provided a channel to utilize the preliminary studies that he made from visiting Buffalo Bill's camp at Neuilly, France while he was studying in Paris in1888. However, it also made a statement for the artist that commanded the attention of a broad collectorship as well.
Conceived in 1910, the present model was enlarged to monumental size for the Pan-Pacific Exposition of 1915. This monument, which was awarded a gold medal, was purchased by Kansas City, Missouri for display in Penn Valley Park. The Gorham Foundry was authorized to cast a bronze edition in three sizes between 1917 and 1945: 8 inches (84), 20 inches (44) and 30 inches (7). The present work, measuring 37½ high, is possibly a unique cast.
Dallin's sculptural style emphasizes smooth lines and simplicity rather than the decorative. His method not only demonstrates the American Indians' noble bearing, dignity, beauty and strength, but also lends his sculptures a special appeal to the aesthetic taste of the modern world. Lorado Taft, a sculptor and Dallin's contemporary, wrote auspiciously: "Rodin used to tell us that his task was to find the heroic in the everyday actions. Mr. Dallin finds it without difficulty in his favorite subjects and our critics are enriched through his sympathetic interpretations." (R.G. Francis, Cyrus E. Dallin: Let Justice Be Done, Springville, Utah, 1976, p. X)