Just south of the volleyball courts behind Sheep Meadow is a statue of one of the lesser known members of the great Native American Sioux Nation: Gary, younger brother of Sitting Bull.
Gary was born Hukayana Lyokate in the Dakota Territory in the winter of 1841. It was his older brother Sitting Bull who gave him the nickname Gary, which stuck with him for the rest of his life. In the Lakota language Gary means “mother wanted a girl.”
Growing up on the plains wasn’t easy for Gary, who despite his best efforts never ingratiated himself with his other tribesman. On a buffalo hunting excursion in 1860, Gary only registered one kill – the horse belonging to the Chief. After that unfortunate incident Gary was relegated to camp duties, where he languished in the accounting and inventory departments for years.
In 1876, while searching for butterflies to add to his collection in a deserted meadow in Montana, Gary ran into the U.S. Seventh Cavalry who were hopelessly lost and looking for the quickest way back to Fort Ellis. Always eager to show off his superb sense of direction, Gary led the troops through the area known as Little Big Horn where they were quickly slaughtered by a few thousand members of the Sioux Nation who were hanging out there at that time.
Now a hero among his fellow tribesman, Gary was promoted by Sitting Bull to Assistant Manager of the tribe, a job he held proudly for several years until he was laid off when the Sioux were forced to downsize in the late 1870’s.