Hi Dietmar, I believe there was no official commission in 1887. The Dawes Severalty Act was passed in February 1887. I could imagine that this "trial 1887" (see above) was something of an informational event. There is no identifiable high-ranking (white) person in the photo. Meanwhile, many Lakota could read and they will have followed the "Allotment" topic with tension and concern. In March 1889 Congress passed another act which partitioned the Great Sioux Reservation into the five smaller reservations of today.
The first official commission - headed by Richard Pratt of Carlisle fame - arrived in early summer 1888 on Standing Rock. At that time, only 20-30 persons from 1,000 voting persons signed. Since the "work" of the Pratt Commission was not recognized by the congress, the Crook Commission traveled the Great Sioux Reservation from June 1889. After the bribery of Grass, Gall and others on Standing Rock, around 800 out of 1,000 people voted in favor of adopting the law. Other agencies followed. The Great Sioux reservation was shattered and "surplus" land squandered on whites.
It is noteworthy that the surveying of Indian Country in the Dakotas (for example Pine Ridge & Standing Rock) started in 1892 and ended around 1930. The allottment of land to Lakota should drag on until the 20th century. The land allotted to many Indians included near-desert lands mostly unsuitable for farming.
Well, in all likelihood, the man wearing the bowler hat in Barry´s group photos was not "Colonel Barrister" (typo!), but U.S. Indian Inspector Col. E. D. Bannister of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, indeed sent by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to Standing Rock in November 1887.
Here he is standing without hat but with bald head in one of the five photographic versions available at the Denver Public Library:
Last Edit: Sept 12, 2019 15:04:51 GMT -5 by Dietmar
Great find Dietmar. There was actually a BIA inspector E.D. Bannister, who visited the reservations and examined the conditions there.
According to this essay “Chief Gall and Chief John Grass: Cultural mediators or sellouts?” of James R. Frank
" …U. S. Indian Inspector E. D. Bannister arrived [in November 1887] at Standing Rock. Bannister was surprised to find that the newspaper stories about Sitting Bull were “false in every particular.” When the Inspector visited Sitting Bull’s home, he met his two wives and eight children, four of whom regularly attended the school at Grand River. According to historian Louis Pfaller, Sitting Bull, like Gall and Grass, “wanted the Indian children to learn how to read and write so they could outwit the whites and gain advantages for the Sioux.”
Sitting Bull had 18 head of cattle, four horses, 24 ponies, and various farm implements, including a harness, wagons, and a mower, which he bought with his own money. The Hunkpapa medicine man also plowed seven acres for com, five for oats, eight for wheat, and two for potatoes and other various vegetables.
Bannister also observed that Sitting Bull’s “manner and disposition was submissive and his talk mild and mostly rational.” Bannister’s observations provide further evidence that labeling certain Indians, such as Sitting Bull, as “traditionalists,” and certain Indians, like Gall and Grass, as “progressives,” is an interpretation with serious flaws….”.
In October 1888, E.D. Bannister visited the Flathead Reservation and investigated the leasing practices. More than 50% of the livestock on the reservation belonged to white farmers, who hardly had to pay for land use. "