Ledger Paintings are a Native American tradition that goes back to the late nineteenth century when buffalo herds were shrinking, and the plains tribes had been forced onto reservations. Because native people had limited access to the buffalo hide that they traditionally painted on, they began painting and drawing on ledgers. Native people sourced these ledgers from traders, government agents, missionaries, and military officers. Merle's ledger art honors his ancestor's history, and their resilience in hard times. Merle's pieces stay true to the traditional styles and symbolism found in Lakota ledger art.