Though his initial model for "Paul Revere" was Cyrus Dallin's first
public recognition, Dallin's reputation was made on his work involving
Native American subjects. Dallin's first Native American equestrian, "Signal of Peace," was created during his first stay in Paris and won a bronze medal at the Paris Salon. In a manner similar to other American series such as Thomas Cole's "The Course of Empire," "Signal of Peace" became the first of a series of Native American figures depicting the Native American situation at the time. In addition to choice of subject, what made Dallin's work stand out was that it told the story from a point of view sympathetic to Native Americans. As the pieces gained popularity and were cast as monuments in public squares around the country, Dallin changed the face of public art in America.
"Signal of Peace" was optimistic, showing a figure on a horse with spear raised in a non-threatening manner as if to offer peaceful relations. The second equestrian, the "Medicine Man," showed a figure with hand raised in warning, possibly cautioning his people about the futility of diplomacy. This notion is confirmed by the third figure of the series, "The Protest."
"The Protest" was initially created for the 1904 World's Fair as part of an exhibit for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. The full-size plaster version of "The Protest" was a massive 18 feet tall, and its size was further accentuated by placing it atop a high pedestal. The statue depicts a Sioux chief protesting the encroachment of lands and the indiscriminate slaughter of the bison by white hunters. The horse's posture, hind quarters pulling under and chin pulled back as if preparing to rear upward, reflects the indignation in the piece. The posture is punctuated by the chief's upraised fist.
"The Protest" won a gold medal at the Exposition. It was never cast into a bronze monument, but smaller models were cast in bronze. "The Protest" is less stately than the rest of the pieces in the Epic of the Indian series, but it certainly is the liveliest.
"The Protest" is being offered in a numbered edition of 30 casts.