Second Indian Wars sculpture, Give Me Eighty Men, accepted at Tucson Museum of Art

I am proud to announce that the second installment in my Indian Wars series, Give Me Eighty Men, has been added to the permanent collection at the Tucson Museum of Art.

Indian Wars series making a name in museums

Give Me 80 Men

After Memorare, Sand Creek 1864 was accepted into the permanent collection of the Booth Museum of Western Art in Georgia, I was eager to find a good home for my second Indian Wars piece as well.

I was delighted when the selection committee of the Tucson Museum of Art chose Give Me Eighty Men for the permanent collection of the museum’s western art holdings.

The piece “fits beautifully within the Tucson Museum of Art’s collection of Art of the American West,” according to the museum’s Executive Director, Robert Knight.

History of the Fetterman Fight of 1866

When U.S. Army Captain William Judd Fetterman claimed he only needed 80 men to take on the entire Sioux Nation, the odds were mounted against him.

When these 80 men took on 2,000 Native Americans, the battle was over within 20 minutes, with the Native Americans emerging victorious.

The U.S. loss to Native Americans in Fetterman’s Fight is second in magnitude only to the Battle of Little Bighorn.

Give Me Eighty Men is at once arresting and emotional as a memorial to those fighting on both sides of the battle,” Knight says.

Give Me Eighty Men inspires reflection

Give Me Eighty Men showcases a Lakota warrior holding up an Army bugle in victory. But he also acknowledges that retaliation for the win on this battlefield could be horrendous.

“The sculpture invites viewers to consider the conflict between the U.S. Cavalry and our Native Peoples,” says Knight.

The sculpture reminds us of how easily we can become overconfident in our abilities, as the U.S. soldiers did. They overestimated their strength against a large alliance of Plains Indians, and in the end, it needlessly cost many young men their lives.

This particular Indian battle may be lesser know than the Battle of Little Bighorn, but it speaks volumes about the physical and emotional casualties of war.

“Mr. Bergsgaard not only calls into question many false assumptions of our country’s Indian wars, but he forces a reflexive moment of realization that the lessons learned back then could be equally applicable to today’s world conflicts,” Knight says.

Museum placement allows a more historical path for future pieces

I have been anticipating the opportunity to incorporate deeper meanings into my pieces, and the Indian Wars series is the perfect place to sculpt these battles from the Native American viewpoint.

All this land was theirs and their stories deserve to be told even today.

A special thank you

I would like to extend a special “thank you” to the collector who purchased Give Me Eighty Men and donated to the museum. I appreciate your generosity and willingness to help me share my interpretation of this chapter of American history with the public.

Give Me 80 Men Collector

Give Me 80 Men” is available for sale. If you would like to add this work to your collection, please contact me at: Craig Bergsgaard Studios.

On June 18, my work will be featured at the historic Toadlena Trading Post

See the collection—NEW in bronze

Wopila Bronze

It seems strange that over a year ago in April I was at the Toadlena Trading Post with my friend and colleague, renowned painter James Ayers.

The two of us were so inspired by the intricate works of art that the weavers of the trading post created that over dinner on the Navajo Reservation, we came up with the idea for Honoring Weavers in Canvas and Bronze, the first show of our new philanthropic organization, Wopila Artist Guild.

Fiesta at Toadlena

The art opening is part of the trading post’s bi-annual party—and what a party it will be! In addition to James and I sharing our works with the public, there will be food, music by actor Wes Studi’s band, and all the weavers and local families coming out and having a great time.

You are, of course, invited.

Please see our Toadlena Trading Post travel Guide for directions to the trading post.

20% of the proceeds will go to charity

Our goal with Wopila and this art show is to increase funding for Native American Youth art education.

Twenty percent of the proceeds from the three of James’s paintings and my three sculptures will be donated to the Toadlena Young Weaver’s Project, a non-profit fund administered by the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian in Santa Fe.

The artwork

These are the the finished bronzes that will be unveiled on June 18th.

The Chaperone

The Chaperone

The Lesson

The Lesson

Saving the Day

Saving the Day

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I had the help of several Navajo weavers who provided input on my early versions of the clays.

For example, Master Weaver Emily Watchman looked at Saving the Day, my sculpture of a Navajo man on a horse and asked: ‘Where are his earrings? My grandfather always wore earrings.’ I would have never known this aspect without her input.

Master Weaver

Craig gets feedback on his sculpture from Master Weaver Emily Watchman

The #1 of each sculpture has these special features:

  • A miniature Navajo rug (approx 6″ x 18″) with the title of the piece handwoven into it
  • A special walnut “jewelry box” style base with a drawer that can house the tiny rug, the catalog, and photos of the piece with the weavers (and other show ephemera)
  • The title is laser cut into the jewelry box and then highlighted with gold pigment.

I personally invite you to attend

Let’s make the first annual Wopila art show the best yet. I invite you to join me, James Ayers, and the nice folks at the historic Toadlena Trading Post.

If you have interest in purchasing one of the sculptures, please contact me: contact Craig Bergsgaard Studios.

About Wopila Artist Guild

Wopila Artist Guild is an informal artist association organized in 2010 to promote pre-eminent Western art while also supporting Native American youth art education. Wopila was founded by sculptor Craig Bergsgaard and painter James Ayers in 2010. Artists with a similar dedication to giving back to the arts are invited to contact Wopila for more information.