Historic Remington M1875 Indian Police Revolver, Pine Ridge Reservation, #29
Identifiable Lakota markings, Carried by Private Good Elk, born in 1853
Competent Research by Respected Scholar and Good Elk’s Family Available
Single Action Army in 44. Caliber, Nickle Finish, Serial No. 734, Pine Ridge No. 29
Date/Period: Made June 2, 1883, ordered by Commissioner H. Price.
Material: Nickle finish, walnut grips
Condition: Excellent, any minor wear limited to high spots is commensurate with use;
action is tight and smooth.
Additional Information: Remington Model 1875 revolver displaying standard barrel
markings purchased by the US Government [Department of the Interior] in 1883 for use
by Indian Police on western reservations. The subject revolver was issued to the Indian
Police on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the Dakota Territory (now South Dakota). To
date, seven of the original 50 issued have been discovered. This one is Remington's
serial number 734, Pine Ridge number 29. All the examples thus far known, fall
between serial number 711 and 736. This gun is a consecutive number to serial number
733, Pine Ridge #24. Of the other Indian Police guns issued to any of the other
agencies, only the Pine Ridge guns were marked and therefore the only ones with
provable provenance. These revolvers are important to history as they speak to
government purchases of…and issuing to…and carried by police officers of the Lakota
tribe on their sovereign land.
There are no extant paper records of the Pine Ridge Indian Police Force therefore
next to impossible to attribute a specific gun to a specific officer; until this gun surfaced,
none could be identified to the officer who carried it. This one, with Lakota markings on
the grip, was/is identifiable. This gun, with Lakota markings on the grip was identifiable.
The officer who carried this gun was Private Good Elk. The markings and their
significance are described in documents written by Wendell Grangaard who spent his
lifetime researching and identifying the Lakota written language. Besides being the only
extant identified example, this gun – PR 29 is in superior condition when compared to
the few others known. This gun displays markings on the grips that are accurately
attributable to Private Good Elk, born in 1853 (in Lakota: Hehaka-Waste, second name
Looking Elk or Hehaka-Wakita). Good Elk marked the revolver with both of his names.
The tradition of two names is called "Limata" or "My Procession". (Accompanying the
gun is a folder of documents from Wendell Grangaard, researcher, who has spent most
of his life's avocation working with the Lakota Sioux.)
The history of ownership is recorded by a letter to Mr. Lewis Steadman which is
included. Our well known and highly respected consignor purchased the gun from
Steadman in 1983.
The below compiled and written by well-known and highly respected researcher
and author, Wendell Grangaard. This information came from the great-
grandchildren of Kills Enemy, who was the daughter of Good Elk.
Pine Ridge Indian Police Revolver No. 29
Years ago, I thought I would write a paper on the Aricitas, the Lakota name for
Indian police, and the 1875 revolvers they used. My paper idea, however, has
turned into a book. The revolver Indian Police Pine Ridge No. 29 was part of an
order of 50 revolvers and other equipment, under the authority #5777, made on
June 2, 1883, by Commissioner H. Price. Revolver No. 29 was in use by the Pine
Ridge Agency in South Dakota until it was replaced in 1889, with the introduction
of 75 -1873 Colt Single Action 45 cal. revolvers.
Each policeman or aricitas of the Pine Ridge Agency was issued and carried an
1874 Remington nickel-plated 44 CF revolver, as well as an 1875 Springfield
Trapdoor 45-70 rifle. The Remington revolvers were numbered 1 through 50 and
stamped with a "PR" for Pine Ridge. Each policeman was issued a star badge
with the same number as the revolver. The most noted of the Pine Ridge Police
Force was Captain George Sword (Mi-Wakayuha}. At that time, the second in
command was 1st Lieutenant (William} Standing Soldier (Akicta-Najin} and the
1st Sergeant was Black Dog (Sunka-Sapa}. The ranking officers were paid
$8.00/month and enlisted men were paid $5.00/month, but most had to
supplement their incomes by farming.
No. 29 was issued to Hehaka-Waste or Good Elk, who was a private in the police
force. Good Elk was sometimes also called Hehaka-Wakita or Looking Elk. As
per tradition, Good Elk marked the revolver with both of his names; the tradition
is known as limata or "my procession" in Lakota. The right grip of the revolver is
marked with the Lakota sign with a circle with a line below it for "good", and the
end of the line is barbed for "elk" (see drawing}. Looking Elk is represented by a
"V" with a mark that looks like a "G." Looking close at the "V" shape where the
two lines intercept, there is a cross, which represents the word "looking" in
Lakota sign language. Off the end of the point of the "V," there is a line with
barbs, again meaning "elk" (see drawing).