Standing, William (Fire Bear), 1904-1951


Standing, William (Fire Bear), 1904-1951

Biographical Text

Assiniboine artist William Standing —also known as Fire Bear—was born in Oswego, Montana, on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. He attended an agency day school near Oswego, and then boarding school in Wolf Point. In 1920 he attended the Haskell Institute in Kansas where, as the artist recalled, “I was always painting and drawing, but the only training the teachers gave in this line was jobs of painting the outside of buildings at the school”.

Entirely self-taught, Standing was well known for his humorous works which portrayed daily life on the reservation. Standing also created works that depict a more serious side of life including the ways in which his people struggled to make the transition into the white man’s world. He was able to earn a meager living with his humorous sketches that were sold widely as postcards.

Birth Date



Oswego, Montana

Death Date