David Humphreys Miller’s deep love for art and history fashioned the unique and fascinating life of this pioneering Ohio native. In 1930, and at just 16 years of age, David Humphreys Miller was given his parents blessing and headed West for Indian Country. His passion for Indian lore, as well as the mystique surrounding General George Armstrong Custer and the Battle of the Little Big Horn, proved to be deciding factors in his decisions to go West. He wanted to learn more about the famed “Last Stand,” speak to Indian survivors, and most of all, paint the portraits of these aged warriors. His suitcases loaded with paints and brushes, he roamed the reservation in the Dakotas, Montana, Nebraska, Wyoming and Oklahoma.
Miller lived among these aged warriors, learned their native tongues (he taught himself 14 Indian Languages), and painted their portraits. In the past, they had been leery of being painted or photographed because they believed that part of their spirit was captured in the image. Each of the 72 extraordinary “Custer Survivors” portraits reflect a deep sense of pride, honor, and respect for these gallant warriors.
THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA © at Crazy Horse Memorial has reproductions of the 72 portraits David Humphreys Miller created. Miller & four survivors of the Battle of Little Big Horn were present for the first blast on the Mountain in 1948.
Click the image below to view the David Humphreys Miller Collection