Inspiration behind "Rise of the Schitsu'Umsh"
In 1858, General George Wright's cavalry troops had been engaged in what have been called the Northwest Indian Wars.
On September 7th of that year, the soldiers, upon orders from General Wright, captured about 900 horses belonging to the local tribes located in the areas of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and Spokane, Washington. As a show of power and to quell the potential for uprising, and after conferring with his officers, Wright ordered the herd corralled near the banks of the Spokane River, just off present-day Interstate 90 west of the Idaho/Washington Stateline, and then killed. Wright also ordered food caches destroyed, thus leaving the tribes with little food or the ability to travel to gather more, as the winter approached.
Several years ago, after conferring with Coeur d'Alene Tribal member and historian, Cliff "Circling Song" Si John about the event, the sculpture was conceived which I have entitled, "Rise of the Schitsu' Umsh", honoring the resilience and resolve of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe of Indians in overcoming the low point in their nearly ten thousand year occupation of our region. The sculpture, depicting four horses rising out of the bones of their murdered ancestors, are being urged upward from the earth by the spirit of legendary tribal prophet, Circling Raven.
During the years since that event, the tribe has not only retained its proud culture and distinctive community, but has risen back to prosperity and health, to the enduring benefit of our region as a whole, and serves to communicate the powerful message that death and destruction need never have the final word.