Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Indigenous Peoples in 18C America - "Slaughter of Moravian Leanpe Indians 1781"

From Europe to the Atlantic coast of America & on to the Pacific coast during the 17C-19C, settlers moved West encountering a variety of Indigenous Peoples who had lived on the land for centuries.

Sketch & Narrative From Henry Howe's 1852 book Historical Collections of the Great West, "Slaughter of Moravian Leanpe Indians 1781"

A melancholy disaster, about the same time, befell a body of one hundred & seven United States troops, under Capt. Laherty, on their way down the Ohio to Fort Steuben, at the Falls of the Ohio. They were attacked by an overwhelming force of Indians, near the mouth of the Great Miami, and, although making a brave resistance, were compelled to retreat, with the loss of about fifty slain. Massacre of the Moravian or Christian Indians. As early as the year 1762, the Moravian missionaries, Post & Heckewelder, established a mission among the Indians on the Tuscarawas. Before the close of the war of the revolution, they had three flourishing stations Or villages, viz: Shoenbrun, Gnadenhutten & Salem. These were respectively about five miles apart, & stood near fifty miles west of the site of Steubenville, Ohio. In the war, their position was eminently dangerous. They were midway between the hostile towns on the Sandusky & the frontier settlements, & being on the direct route of war parties of either, were compelled occasionally to give sustenance & shelter to both. This excited the jealousy of the contending races, although they preserved a strict neutrality, & looked with horror upon the shedding of blood. In February, 1782, many murders were committed upon the upper Ohio & the Monongahela, by the hostile Indians. The settlers believing that the Moravians were either concerned in these murders, or had harbored those who were, determined to destroy their towns, the existence of which, they deemed dangerous to their safety. Accordingly, in March, about ninety volunteers assembled under the command of Col. David Williamson, in the Mingo Bottom, just below the site of Steubenville. Arriving in the vicinity of Gnadenhutten, they, on the morning of the 8th, surrounded & entered the town, where they found a large party of Indians in a field, gathering corn. They informed the Indians that they had come on an errand of peace & friendship that they were going to take them to Fort Pitt for protection. The unsuspecting Indians, pleased at the prospect of their removal, delivered up their arms which they used for hunting, & commenced preparing breakfast for themselves & guests. An Indian messenger was dispatched to Salem, to apprise the brethren there of the new arrangement, & both companies then returned to Gnadenhutten. On reaching the village, a number of mounted militia started for the Salem settlement, but ere they reached it, found that the Moravian Indians at that place had already left their corn-fields, by the advice of the messenger, & were on the road to join their brethren at Gnadenhutten. Measures had been adopted by the militia to secure the Indians whom they had at first decoyed into their power. They were bound, confined in two houses, & well guarded. On the arrival of the Indians from Salem, (their arms having been previously secured without suspicion of any hostile intention,) they were also fettered, & divided between the two prison-houses, the males in one, the females in the other. The number thus confined in both, including men, women & children, have been estimated from ninety to ninety-six. A council was then held to determine how the Moravian Indians should be disposed of. This self-constituted military court embraced both officers & privates. The late Dr. Dodridge, in his published notes on Indian wars, says:

"Colonel Williamson put the question, whether the Moravian Indians should be taken prisoners to Fort Pitt, or put to death?" requesting those who were in favor of saving their lives to step out & form a second rank. Only eighteen out of the whole number stepped forth as advocates of mercy. In these, the feelings of humanity were not extinct. In the majority, which was large, no sympathy was manifested. They resolved to murder (for no other word can express the act) the whole of the Christian Indians in their custody. Among these were several who had contributed to aid the missionaries in the work of conversion & civilization two of whom emigrated from New Jersey after the death of their spiritual pastor, the Rev. David Brainard. One woman, who could speak good English, knelt before the commander & begged his protection. Her supplication was unavailing. They were ordered to prepare for death. But the warning had been anticipated. Their firm belief in their new creed was shown forth in the sad hour of their tribulation, by religious exercises of preparation. The orisons of these devoted people were already ascending the throne of the Most High! the sound of the Christian's hymn & the Christian's prayer found an echo in the surrounding woods, but no responsive feeling in the bosoms of their executioners. With gun, & spear, & tomahawk, & scalping-knife, the work of death progressed in these slaughter-houses, until not a sigh or moan was heard to proclaim the existence of human life within all, save two two Indian boys escaped, as if by a miracle, to be witnesses in after times of the savage cruelty of the white man toward their unfortunate race. Of the number thus cruelly murdered by the backwoodsmen of the upper Ohio, between fifty & sixty were women & children some of them innocent babes. No resistance was made; one only attempted to escape. The whites finished the tragedy by setting fire to the town, including the slaughter-houses with the bodies in them, all of which were consumed. A detachment was sent to the upper town, Shoenbrun, but the people having received information of what was transpiring below, had deserted it. Those engaged in the campaign, were generally men of standing, at home. When the expedition was formed, it was given out to the public that its sole object was to remove the Moravians to Pittsburgh, & by destroying the villages, deprive the hostile savages of a shelter. In their towns, various articles plundered from the whites, were discovered. One man is said to have found the bloody clothes of his wife & children, who had recently been murdered. These articles, doubtless, had been purchased of the hostile Indians. The sight of these, it is said, bringing to mind the forms of murdered relations, wrought them up to an uncontrollable pitch of frenzy which nothing but blood could satisfy. In the year 1799, when the remnant of the Moravian Indians were recalled by the United States to reside on the same spot, an old Indian, in company with a young man by the name of Carr, walked over the desolate scene, & showed to the white man an excavation, which had formerly been a cellar, & in which were still some moldering bones of the victims, though seventeen years had passed since their tragic death the tears, in the meantime, falling down the wrinkled face of this aged child of the Tuscarawas. Crawford's Defeat. At the time of the massacre, less than half of the Moravian Indians were at their towns, on the Tuscarawas, the remainder having been carried off, by the hostile Indians, to Sandusky, had settled these in their vicinity. Immediately after the return of Williamson's men, what may be called a second Moravian campaign, was projected; the object being first to finish the destruction of the christian Indians, at their new establishment, on the Sandusky, & then destroy the Wyandot towns on the same river.


The long continuance of the Indian war, the many murders & barbarities committed upon the frontiers, had so wrought upon the inhabitants, as to create an indiscriminate thirst for revenge. Having had a taste of blood & plunder, in their recent expedition, without loss or danger on their part, it was now determined not to spare the lives of any Indians who might fall into their hands, whether friends or foes. On the 25th of May, 1782, four hundred & eighty men, principally from the upper Ohio, assembled at the Old Mingo towns, near the site of Steubenville. At this place, they chose Col. Wm. Crawford commander, his competitor being Col. Williamson. Crawford* accepted the office with great reluctance. Soon after, his men exhibited such an utter disregard to military order, that he was depressed with a presentiment of evil. Notwithstanding the secrecy & dispatch of the enterprise, the Indian spies discovered their rendezvous, on the Mingo Bottom, knew their number & destination. They visited every encampment on their leaving it, & saw written on the barks of trees & scraps of paper, that " no quarter was to be given to any Indian, whether man, woman or child." Their route was by the "Williamson trail," through the burnt Moravian towns. On the 6th of June, they arrived at the site of the Moravian villages, on a branch of the Sandusky. Here, instead of meeting with Indians & Elunder, they found nothing but vestiges of desolation. A few huts, surrounded by high grass, alone remained; their intended victims having, some time before, moved to the Scioto, some eighteen miles south. A council then decided to march on north one day longer, & if then, no Indian towns were reached, to retreat. About 2 o'clock, the next day, while on their march through the Sandusky plains, the advanced guard were driven in by Indians concealed in great numbers in the high grass. The action then became general, & the firing was incessant & heavy until dark, for In this battle, the whites had the advantage, & lost but a few men. The Indians were driven from the woods & prevented from gaining a strong position on the right flank, by the vigilance & bravery of Major Leet. During the night, both armies lay upon their arms behind a line of fires, to prevent surprise. The next day, the Indians were seen in large bodies traversing the plains, while others were busy carrying off their dead & wounded. At a council of officers, Col. Williamson proposed marching, with one hundred & fifty volunteers, to upper Sandusky; but the commander opposed it, stating that the Indians, whose numbers were hourly increasing, would attack & conquer their divided forces in detail. The dead were buried, & preparations made for a retreat after dark. The Indians perceiving their intention, about sunset, attacked them with great fury in all directions, except that of Sandusky. In the course of the night, the army commenced their retreat, regained their old trail by a circuitous route, & continued on with but slight annoyance from the enemy. Unfortunately, when the retreat commenced, a large number erroneously judging that the Indians would follow the main body, broke off into small parties & made their way toward their homes, in different directions. These the Indians, for days, pursued in detachments, with such activity that but very few escaped, some being killed almost within sight of the Ohio River.


{Col. W. Crawford was a native of Virginia, but at this time was residing near Brownsville, Pa. He was a captain in the old French war, & in the revolution, raised a regiment of continentals by his own exertions. He was an intimate friend of Washington a man of character, & of noted bravery. At this time, he was about fifty years of age. The battle was fought three miles north of upper Sandusky. The large tree on the right of the engraving (Eng. p. 110) & others in the vicinity, even to the present day, show marks of the bullets.}


Soon after the retreat began, Col. Crawford having missed his son & several of his connections, halted & unsuccessfully searched the line for them as it passed on, & then, owing to the weariness of his horse, was unable to overtake the retreating army. Falling in company with Dr. Knight & others, they kept on until the third day, when they were attacked, & Crawford & Knight captured. They were taken to an Indian encampment in the vicinity, where they found nine other prisoners, & all, the next morning, were conducted toward the Tyemochte, by Pipe & Wingenund, Delaware chiefs, except four of them, who were killed & scalped on the way. At a Delaware town on the Tyemochte, a few miles northwesterly from the site of upper Sandusky, preparations were made for the burning of Col. Crawford. In the vicinity, the remaining five of the nine prisoners were tomahawked & scalped by squaws & boys. Crawford's son & son-in-law were executed at a Shawanese town. The account of the burning of Crawford is thus given by Dr. Knight, his companion, who subsequently escaped. When we went to the fire, the colonel was stripped naked, ordered to sit down by the fire, & then they beat him with sticks & their fists. Presently after, I was treated in the same manner. They then tied a rope to the foot of a post about fifteen feet high, bound the colonel's hands behind his back & fastened the rope to the ligature between his wrists. The rope was long enough for him to sit down or walk round the post once or twice, & return the same way. The colonel then called to Girty, & asked if they intended to burn him? Girty answered, yes. The colonel said he would take it all patiently. Upon this, Captain Pipe, a Delaware chief, made a speech to the Indians, viz: about thirty or forty men, & sixty or seventy squaws & boys. When the speech was finished, they all yelled a hideous & hearty assent to what had been said. The Indian men then took up their guns & shot powder into the colonel's body, from his feet as far up as his neck. I think that not less than seventy loads were discharged upon his naked body. They then crowded about him, & to the best of my observation, cut off his ears; when the throng had dispersed a little, I saw the blood running from both sides of his head in consequence thereof. The fire was about six or seven yards from the post to which the colonel was tied; it was made of small hickory poles, burnt quite through in the middle, each end of the poles remaining about six feet in length. Three or four Indians, by turns, would take up, individually, one of these burning pieces of wood, & apply it to his naked body, already burnt black with the powder. These tormentors presented themselves on every side of him with the burning fagots & poles. Some of the squaws took broad boards, upon which they would carry a quantity of burning coals & hot embers, & throw on him, so that in a short time, he had nothing but coals of fire & hot ashes to walk upon. In the midst of these extreme tortures, he called to Simon Girty, & begged of him to shoot him; but Girty making no answer, he called to him again. Girty then, by way of derision, told the colonel he had no gun, at the same time turning about to an Indian who was behind him, laughed heartily, & by all his gestures, seemed delighted at the horrid scene. Girty then came up to me & bade me prepare for death. He said, however, I was not to die at that place, but to be burnt at the Shawanese towns. He swore by G d I need not expect to escape death, but should suffer it in all its extremities. Col. Crawford, at this period of his sufferings, besought the Almighty to have mercy on his soul, spoke very low, & bore his torments with the most manly fortitude.


He continued in all the extremities of pain for an hour & hour & three quarters or two hours longer, as near as I can judge, when at last, being almost exhausted, he lay down on his belly; they then scalped him, & repeatedly threw the scalp in my face, telling me, " that was my great captain." An old squaw (whose appearance every way answered the ideas people entertain of the devil) got a board, took a parcel of coals & ashes & laid them on his back & head, after he had been scalped; he then raised himself upon his feet & began to walk round the post; they next put a burning stick to him, as usual, but he seemed more insensible of pain than before. The Indian fellow who had me in charge, now took me away to Captain Pipes house, about three-quarters of a mile from the place of the colonel's execution. I was bound all night, & thus prevented from seeing the last of the horrid spectacle. Next morning, being June 12th, the Indian untied me, painted me Black, & we set off for the Snawanese town, which he told me was somewhat less than forty miles distant from that place. We soon came to the spot where the colonel had been burnt, as it was partly in our way; I saw his bones lying among the remains of the fire, almost burnt to ashes; I suppose, after he was dead, they laid his body on the fire. The Indian told me that was my big captain, & gave the scalp halloo. Most of the prisoners taken in this campaign, were burned to death, with cruel tortures, in retaliation for the massacre of the Moravian Indians, who were principally Delaware's. This invasion was the last made from the region of the upper Ohio during the war. But the Indians, encouraged by their successes, overran these settlements with scalping parties. In September, three hundred Indians, for three days, unsuccessfully invested the fort at Wheeling. A detachment of one hundred of these, made an attack upon Rice's Fort, twelve miles north. Although defended by only 6 men, they were obliged to retire with loss.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Karl Ferdinand Wimar (1828-1862) The Captive Charger

From Europe to the Atlantic coast of America & on to the Pacific coast during the 17C-19C, settlers moved West encountering a variety of Indigenous Peoples who had lived on the land for centuries.
Karl Ferdinand Wimar (1828-1862 a painter of the American West was also known as Charles Wimar & Carl Wimar) The Captive Charger

Monday, August 14, 2017

American artist Seth Eastman (1808-1875) portrays an Indian Council Meeting

From Europe to the Atlantic coast of America & on to the Pacific coast during the 17-19C, settlers moved West encountering a variety of Indigenous Peoples who had lived on the land for centuries.
Seth Eastman (American artist, 1808-1875) Indian Council

Born in 1808 in Brunswick, Maine, Seth Eastman (1808-1875) found expression for his artistic skills in a military career. After graduating from the US Military Academy at West Point, where officers-in-training were taught basic drawing & drafting techniques, Eastman was posted to forts in Wisconsin & Minnesota before returning to West Point as assistant teacher of drawing. --- While at Fort Snelling, Eastman married Wakaninajinwin (Stands Sacred), the 15-year-old daughter of Cloud Man, Dakota chief. Eastman left in 1832, for another military assignment soon after the birth of their baby girl, Winona, & he declared his marriage ended when he left. Winona was also known as Mary Nancy Eastman & was the mother of Charles Alexander Eastman, author of Indian Boyhood. --- From 1833 to 1840, Eastman taught drawing at West Point. In 1835, he married his 2nd wife & was reassigned to Fort Snelling as a military commander & remained there with Mary & their 5 children for the next 7 years. During this time Eastman began recording the everyday way of life of the Dakota & the Ojibwa people. Transferred to posts in Florida, & Texas in the 1840s, Eastman made sketches of the native peoples there. This experience prepared him for the next 5 yeas in Washington, DC, where he was assigned to the commissioner of Indian Affairs & illustrated Henry Rowe Schoolcraft's important 6-volume Historical  Statistical Information Respecting the History, Condition, & Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States. In 1867, Eastman returned to the Capitol to paint a series of scenes of Native American life for the House Committee on Indian Affairs. From the office of the United States Senate curator, we learn that in 1870, the House Committee on Military Affairs commissioned artist Seth Eastman 17 to paint images of important fortifications in the United States. He completed the works between 1870 & 1875. Of his 17 paintings of forts, 8 are located in the Senate, while the others are displayed on the House side of the Capitol. Eastman was working on the painting West Point, when he died in 1875.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Woman Returning to the Tribe in the Snow with Sticks to Burn with by Cassilly Adams (1843-1921)

Cassilly Adams (American artist, 1843-1921) Returning to the Tribe

A descendant of President John Adams, Kassilli or Cassilly Adams (1843-1921) was born  in Zanesville, Ohio. His father, William Adams, was an amateur painter. Young Cassilly studied painting at the Academy of Art in Boston and Cincinnati Art School. During the Civil War he served in the US Navy.

From Europe to the Atlantic coast of America & on to the Pacific coast during the 17C-19C, settlers moved West encountering a variety of Indigenous Peoples who had lived on the land for centuries. By 1880, Adams was living in St. Louis. In 1884, the artist created a monumental canvas depicting the Battle of the Little Bighorn (death of the Seventh Cavalry Regiment of the US Army and its famous commander George Custer) - "Custer's Last Fight." The painting was exhibited across the country, and then was purchased by the company "Anheuser-Busch" and later donated to the Seventh Cavalry. After the restoration of the original during the Great Depression, it was exhibited in the officers' club at Fort Bliss (Texas), and June 13, 1946 was burned in a fire. Despite the success of "Custer's Last Fight," Adams remained a relatively unknown artist. He focused on the image of Indians American West Plains life, worked as an illustrator, a farmer. He died Kassilli Adams May 8, 1921 in Traders Point near Indianapolis.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Native American Thanks...

The Picture Collection of the New York Public Library Image ID: 806997
The Thanksgivings

Translated from a traditional Iroquois prayer by Harriet Maxwell Converse
We who are here present thank the Great Spirit that we are here to praise Him.
We thank Him that He has created men and women, and ordered that these beings shall always be living to multiply the earth.
We thank Him for making the earth and giving these beings its products to live on.
We thank Him for the water that comes out of the earth and runs for our lands.
We thank Him for all the animals on the earth.
We thank Him for certain timbers that grow and have fluids coming from them for us all.
We thank Him for the branches of the trees that grow shadows for our shelter.
We thank Him for the beings that come from the west, the thunder and lightning that water the earth.
We thank Him for the light which we call our oldest brother, the sun that works for our good.
We thank Him for all the fruits that grow on the trees and vines.
We thank Him for his goodness in making the forests, and thank all its trees.
We thank Him for the darkness that gives us rest, and for the kind Being of the darkness that gives us light, the moon.
We thank Him for the bright spots in the skies that give us signs, the stars.
We give thanks that the voice of the Great Spirit can still be heard through the words of Ga-ne-o-di-o.
We thank the Great Spirit that we have the privilege of this pleasant occasion.
We give thanks for the persons who can sing the Great Spirit's music, and hope they will be privileged to continue in his faith.
We thank the Great Spirit for all the persons who perform the ceremonies on this occasion.

Harriet Maxwell Converse (1836-1903) was born Elmira, New York, into a family fascinated by Native cultures. Both her grandfather & her father were Indian traders in the Seneca Nation. At the age of 25 Harriet married Frank Converse, a musician known as "The Father of the Banjo."  The couple traveled throughout the U.S & Europe. While Frank played the banjo, Harriet developed her writing talents & became a published poet & regular contributor to national magazines. 


Harriet Maxwell Converse (1836-1903).

By 1881, Harriet began to write about the Six Nations. She traveled to reservations in western New York as well as Canada, collecting cultural artifacts today in the collections of the State Museum at Albany. She also became a political advocate for the Six Nations.  The Seneca Nation recognized Harriet's efforts by adopting her into the Snipe Clan.  In 1891, Harriet Maxwell Converse (her Indian name was Ga-is-wa-noh: the Watcher) became the 1st white woman to be named chief of an Indian tribe.  Converse became chief of the Six Nations tribe at Tonawanda reservation in New York.  She had been adopted by the Seneca tribe 7 years earlier because of her efforts on behalf of the tribe.  She was invested with the responsibility of the welfare of her adopted people, & given the name "The Watcher."

Friday, August 11, 2017

Wife of Two Crows by George Catlin 1796-1872

George Catlin (American artist, 1796-1872) Wife of Two Crows

New Jersey born George Catlin (1796-1872) is reknowned for his extensive travels across the American West, recording the lives of Native Americans. In 1818, Catlin practiced law in Connecticut & Pennsylvania, but he abandoned his practice in 1821 to pursue painting. Catlin enjoyed modest success painting portraits & miniatures, but he longed to be a history painter. In 1828, after seeing a delegation of western Indians in the east, he had wrote that he had found a subject, "on which to devote a whole life-time of enthusiasm." In 1830, Catlin made his initial pilgrimage to St. Louis to meet William Clark & learn from him all he could of the western lands he hoped to visit. Catlin traveled the frontier from 1830 to 1836, visiting 50 tribes west of the Mississippi, from present-day North Dakota to Oklahoma, creating an astonishing visual record of Native American life. He had only a short time to accomplish his goal—to capture with canvas & paint the essence of Indian life & culture. In that same year, the Indian Removal Act commenced the 12-year action that would remove the remaining Indians from land east of the Mississippi. Within a few years, the Mandan would be decimated by smallpox; with in a few decades, the number of buffalo would drop from millions to a few thousand, & the Native Americans' high prairies would be crosshatched by the plow & the railroad.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874) - A Trapper and His Squaw 1858

Alfred Jacob Miller (American, 1810-1874) Bourgeois W---r, and His Squaw 1858

"The term 'Bourgeois' is given in the mountains to one who has a body of trappers placed under his immediate command. Capt. W...r, being trustworthy and intelligent, received an appointment of this kind, and with his men had many battles with the Indians... The Sketch exhibits a certain etiquette. The Squaw's station in traveling is at a considerable distance in the rear of her liege lord, and never at the side of him. W...r had the kindness to present the writer a dozen pair of moccasins worked by this squaw - richly embroidered on the instep with colored porcupine quills." A.J. Miller, extracted from "The West of Alfred Jacob Miller" (1837)

In July of 1858, Baltimore art collector William T. Walters commissioned 200 watercolors at $12  apiece from Baltimore-born artist Alfred Jacob Miller. These paintings were each accompanied by a descriptive text written by the artist, & were delivered in installments over the next 21 months & ultimately bound in 3 albums. These albums included the field-sketches drawn during Miller's 1837 expedition to the annual fur-trader's rendezvous in the Green River Valley (now western Wyoming).  These watercolors offer a unique record of the the lives of those involved in the closing years of the western fur trade & a look at the artist's opinions of both women & Native Americans.  The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Indian camp, the evening (1876-1877) by Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902)

Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) Indian camp, the evening (1876-1877)

Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) was best known for his lavish, sweeping landscapes of the American West. To paint the scenes, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Bierstadt, was born in Solingen, Germany. He was still a toddler, when his family moved from Germany to New Bedford in Massachusetts. In 1853, he returned to Germany to study in Dusseldorf, where he refined his technical abilities by painting Alpine landscapes. After he returned to America in 1857, he joined an overland survey expedition traveling westward across the country. Along the route, he took countless photographs & made sketches & returned East to paint from them. He exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum from 1859-1864, at the Brooklyn Art Association from 1861-1879, & at the Boston Art Club from 1873-1880. A member of the National Academy of Design from 1860-1902, he kept a studio in the 10th Street Studio Building, New York City from 1861-1879. He was a member of the Century Association from 1862-1902, when he died.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Native Americans in 1736 Georgia - Philipp Georg Friedrich von Reck 1710–1798

1736 Georgia Philipp Georg Friedrich von Reck (German artist, 1710–1798) The supreme commander of the Yuchi Indian nation, whose name is Kipahalgwa. The Coyaha people, sometimes known as the Yuchi, (also spelled Euchee and Uchee), are people of a Native American tribe who traditionally lived in the eastern Tennessee River valley in Tennessee in the 16C. The Coyaha were well known mound builders. During the 17C, they moved south to Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. After suffering many fatalities due to epidemic disease and warfare in the 18C, several surviving Coyaha were removed to Indian Territory in the 1830s, together with their allies the Muscogee Creek. Some who remained in the South were classified as "free persons of color;" others were enslaved. Some remnant groups migrated to Florida, where they became part of the recently formed Seminole Tribe of Florida. Today the Coyaha live primarily in the northeastern Oklahoma area, where many are enrolled as citizens in the federally recognized Muscogee Creek Nation. Other Coyaha are enrolled as members of other federally recognized tribes, such as the Absentee Shawnee Tribe and the Cherokee Nation.

In 1736, Philipp Georg Friedrich von Reck (German artist, 1710–1798) then only 25 years old, sailed with other colonists from Germany to Georgia. One of his intentions, expressed in a letter before he left Europe, was to bring back from America "ocular proof" of what he called "this strange new world." Idealistic & enthusiastic, well-educated & blessed with an amazing artistic gift, von Reck kept a travel diary, wrote separate descriptions of the plants, animals & Indians he discovered in Georgia & drew some 50 watercolor & pencil sketches of what he saw. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Charles Deas (American painter, 1818-1867) paints a Group of Sioux

From Europe to the Atlantic coast of America & on to the Pacific coast during the 17C-19C, settlers moved West encountering a variety of Indigenous Peoples who had lived on the land for centuries. Paintings of Native Americans in the 19C, often reinforced notions of American Indians as savage & white settlers as cultivated & divinely ordained - a notion that helped justify white colonization of the West. 
Charles Deas (American painter, 1818-1867) A Group of Sioux

The Sioux are groups of Native American tribes & First Nations peoples in North America. The term can refer to any ethnic group within the Great Sioux Nation or to any of the nation's many language dialects. The Sioux are a nation of Native Americans including the Dakota, Lakota (or the Teton Sioux), & Yankton Sioux. The Sioux were once the dominant people of the Great Plains; & they were a strong confederacy of tribes that had fierce warriors but a peaceful society. Unfortunately, wars with the United States in the 1860s into the 1880s led to the Sioux being confined to reservations.

Charles Deas (1818-1867) was an American painter noted for his oil paintings of Native Americans & fur trappers. Although he was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, his family was originally from South Carolina, where his maternal grandfather was American politician Ralph Izard. Deas studied under John Sanderson in Philadelphia, & the National Academy of Design in New York electd him as an associate member in 1839. By 1840, he decided to emulate Baltimore artist George Catlin, journeying west to the Wisconsin Territory. By 1841, Deas established a home base in St. Louis, Missouri. From there, Deas would spend time living among the Indian tribes, observing their manners & customs. Between 1841 & 1848, Deas' regularly exhibited his works in St. Louis at the "Mechanics Fairs." He also shipped many of his paintings, for sale, to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts & New York's American Art Union. Deas returned to New York in early 1848, hoping to open a gallery of Indian art, but soon he was declared legally insane. On May 23, 1848, Deas was committed to New York's Bloomingdale Asylum for the insane, where he lived for the rest of his life. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Pacific Coast Native Americans by Louis Choris (1795-1828)

Louis Choris (1795-1828) Aleut paddling a baidarka, with an anchored Russian ship in the background, near Saint Paul Island, 1817. At sea, Aleut men wore wooden hunting hats. The shape of the headgear indicated a man's rank; a short visor was worn by the young & inexperienced hunters, an elongated visor by the rank-&-file, & open-crown long-visor hats by important mature men. 

Alaska Natives are the indigenous peoples of Alaska. They include: Aleut, Inuit, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Eyak, & a number of Northern Athabasca cultures. Alaskan natives in Alaska number about 119,241 (as of the 2000 census). There are 229 federally recognized Alaskan villages & 5 unrecognized Tlingit Alaskan Indian tribes.

Stretching like a rocky necklace from Asian to North America, the Aleutian Islands & the nearby Alaska Peninsula are the home of the Aleuts. The term "Aleut" was introduced by Russians & comes originally from the Koryak or Chukchi languages of Siberia; it appears to have been quickly adopted by the Aleut people themselves.

Aleut comes from the Russian word Aleuty. The Aleut, are known as Unangan or Unangas in their language, which translates as “we the people.” Aleut homelands include the Aleutian Islands, the Pribilof Islands, the Shumagin Islands, & the far western part of the Alaska Peninsula. The natural marine environment defines subsistence lifestyles & cultures that date back more than 8,000 years ago.

The Aleuts & the Alutiiq differ in language & culture but a commonality was created from the first contact with the Russians in the 18C that is evident today. The Aleut are expert boat builders & sailors & are well known for their kayaks. They are also known for their very fine baskets. The Aleut language, Unangax, also derives from the Esk-Aleut family.

Aleut settlements were, as a rule, located on bays where there was a good gravel beach for landing skin-covered watercraft. Village locations on necks between 2 bays were preferred, as such locations provided at least one protected landing for any given wind direction & served as an escape route in the event of enemy attack. A good supply of fresh water nearby was a necessity, as a good salmon stream was indispensable; other considerations were availability of driftwood & access to stone materials suitable for tool- & weapon-making & mineral paints, sea mammal hauling grounds, & an elevated lookout post from which one could watch for enemies & whales. 

Aleut society was ranked, with hereditary classes of high nobles, commoners, & slaves. The leaders were recruited from the high nobles or the chiefly elite. This ranking was reflected in allocation of living space within the longhouse & in burials. The "east" & the "above" were the sacred dimensions associated with the creator - Agugux. At dawn Aleut men emerged on the rooftops of their houses & faced the east to greet the day & "swallow light." 

After the arrival of missionaries in the late 18C, many Aleuts became Christian by joining the Russian Orthodox Church. One of the earliest Christian martyrs in North America was Saint Peter the Aleut. In 18C, Russian furriers established settlements on the islands & exploited the people.There was a recorded revolt against Russian workers in Amchitka in 1784. It started from the exhaustion of necessities that the Russians provided to local people in return for furs they had made.

In 1811, in order to obtain more of the now commercially valuable otter pelts, a party of Aleut hunters traveled to the coastal island of San Nicolas, near the Alta California-Baja California border. The locally resident Nicoleño nation sought a payment from the Aleut hunters for the large number of otters being killed in the area. Disagreement arose, turning violent; in the ensuing battle nearly all Nicoleño men were killed. This, along with European diseases, so impacted the Nicoleños, that by 1853, only one living Nicoleña person remained. 

Prior to major influence from outside, there were approximately 25,000 Aleuts on the archipelago. Barbarities by outside corporations & foreign diseases soon reduced the population to less than 1/10 this number, The 1910 Census count showed 1,491 Aleuts. In the 2000 Census, 11,941 people reported they were of Aleut ancestry; nearly 17,000 said Aleuts were among their ancestors.  Alaskans generally recognize the Russian occupation left no full-blooded Aleuts. When Alaska Natives enrolled in their regional corporations under the terms of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA), the Aleut Corporation attracted only about 2,000 enrollees who could prove a blood quantum of 1/4 or more Alaska Native (including Aleut).

Native Americans in a Lunar Eclipse by William Rimmer (American artist, 1816-1879)

William Rimmer (American artist, 1816-1879) Native Americans in a Lunar Eclipse. Every year, there are at least 2 lunar eclipses and as many as 5, although total lunar eclipses are significantly less common. A lunar eclipse always occurs about 2 weeks before or after a solar eclipse. On some occasions, a lunar eclipse can be both preceded and followed by a solar eclipse.  A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind the Earth into its umbra (shadow). This can occur only when the sun, Earth, and moon are aligned (in "syzygy") exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Hence, a lunar eclipse can occur only the night of a full moon. The type and length of an eclipse depend upon the Moon's location relative to its orbital nodes.  A total lunar eclipse has the direct sunlight completely blocked by the earth's shadow. The only light seen is refracted through the earth's shadow. This light looks red for the same reason that the sunset looks red, due to rayleigh scattering of the more blue light. Because of its reddish color, a total lunar eclipse is sometimes called a blood moon. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Indigenous Women Of America Photo

Indigenous Women Of America - Comanche Girl, 1885. The Comanche are a Native American tribe from the Great Plains, Rockies, Texas, & the Ozarks in the United States. Along with the Sioux, the Comanche often raided the American West from the 1850s until the 1868-1875 Red River War, which destroyed the Plains Indians & forced the Comanche to submit to the US.  The Comanche emerged as a distinct group shortly before 1700, when they broke off from the Shoshone people living along the upper Platte River in Wyoming. In 1680, the Comanche acquired horses from the Pueblo Indians after the Pueblo Revolt. They separated from the Shoshone after this, as the horses allowed them greater mobility in their search for better hunting grounds.

Comancheria, the former territory of the Comanche including large portions of Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma & Kansas
The horse was a key element in the emergence of a distinctive Comanche culture. It was of such strategic importance that some scholars suggested that the Comanche broke away from the Shoshone & moved southward to search for additional sources of horses among the settlers of New Spain to the south (rather than search for new herds of buffalo.)  From Natchitoches in Spanish Louisiana, Athanase de Mézières reported in 1770, that the Comanches were "so skillful in horsemanship that they have no equal, so daring that they never ask for or grant truces, & in possession of such a territory that... they only just fall short of possessing all of the conveniences of the earth, & have no need to covet the trade pursued by the rest of the Indians."

Their original migration took them to the southern Great Plains, into a sweep of territory extending from the Arkansas River to central Texas. They reached present-day New Mexico & the Texas Panhandle by 1700, forcing the Lipan Apache people ever southward, defeating them in a nine-day battle along the Rio del Fierro (Wichita River) in 1723.[20][21] The river may be the location mentioned by Athanase de Mézières in 1772, containing "a mass of metal which the Indians say is hard, thick, heavy, & composed of iron," which they "venerate...as an extraordinary manifestation of nature," the Comanche's calling it Ta-pic-ta-carre [standing rock], Po-i-wisht-carre [standing metal], or Po-a-cat-le-pi-le-carre [medicine rock], the general area containing a "large number of meteoric masses."  By 1777, the Lipan Apache had retreated to the Rio Grande & the Mescalero Apache to Coahuila.

During that time, their population increased dramatically because of the abundance of buffalo, an influx of Shoshone migrants, & their adoption of significant numbers of women & children taken captive from rival groups. The Comanche never formed a single cohesive tribal unit, but were divided into almost a dozen autonomous groups, called bands. These groups shared the same language & culture, & rarely fought each other. They were estimated to have taken captive thousands of people from the Spanish, Mexican & American settlers in their lands. 

By the mid-19C, the Comanche were supplying horses to French & American traders & settlers, & later to migrants passing through their territory on the way to the California Gold Rush, along the California Road. The Comanche had stolen many of the horses from other tribes & settlers; they earned their reputation as formidable horse thieves, later extending their rustling to cattle. Their stealing of livestock from Spanish & American settlers, as well as the other Plains tribes, often led to battles.

The Comanche also had access to vast numbers of feral horses, which numbered approximately 2,000,000 in & around Comancheria, & which the tribe was particularly skilled at breaking to saddle. In the late 18C & early 19C, the Comanche lifestyle required about one horse per person (though warriors each possessed many more). With a population of about 30,000 to 40,000 & in possession of herds many times that number, the Comanche had a surplus of about 90,000 to 120,000 horses.
They were formidable opponents who developed strategies for using traditional weapons for fighting on horseback. Warfare was a major part of Comanche life. Comanche raids into Mexico traditionally took place during the full moon, when the Comanche could see to ride at night. This led to the term "Comanche Moon," during which the Comanche raided for horses, captives, & weapons. The majority of Comanche raids into Mexico were in the state of Chihuahua & neighboring northern states.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874) - Indian Girls Swinging

Alfred Jacob Miller (American artist, 1810-1874) Indian Girls Swinging

This "single incident that arrested the Artist's eye" proved to be a popular picture that, perhaps as much as any other image, seemed to show the Indians to be a carefree, romantic lot. Miller later permitted it to be copied as a chromolithograph for C. W. Webber's book entitled "The Hunter-Naturalist: Wild Scenes and Song-Birds" (1854). As might be anticipated, later editions of the work had the girl fully clothed, despite Miller's note that "she had in truth, almost 'nothing to wear.'" A.J. Miller, extracted from "The West of Alfred Jacob Miller" (1837). 

In July of 1858, Baltimore art collector William T. Walters commissioned 200 watercolors at $12 apiece from Baltimore-born artist Alfred Jacob Miller. These paintings were each accompanied by a descriptive text written by the artist, & were delivered in installments over the next 21 months & ultimately bound in 3 albums. These albums included the field-sketches drawn during Miller's 1837 expedition to the annual fur-trader's rendezvous in the Green River Valley (now western Wyoming).  These watercolors offer a unique record of the the lives of those involved in the closing years of the western fur trade & a look at the artist's opinions of both women & Native Americans. 

 The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Alfred Boisseau (Paris-born American painter, 1823–1901) paints a Choctaw Woman in Louisiana

From Europe to the Atlantic coast of America & on to the Pacific coast during the 17C-19C, settlers moved West encountering a variety of Indigenous Peoples who had lived on the land for centuries.
Alfred Boisseau (Paris-born American painter, 1823–1901) A Choctaw Woman in Louisiana.  The Choctaw are a Native American people native to Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, & Louisiana in the American South. Most Choctaw supported the United States during the American Revolutionary War, & the Choctaw never went to war with the USA. They were some of the first tribes to be moved west of the Mississippi River under the Indian Removal Act, & they were given some of the most favorable lands in the Indian Territory, while those in Mississippi were given US citizenship in 1831. The Choctaw supported the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War, & they would be part of the US Army's code-talkers during World War I. 

 Choctaw Indian Nation traces its ancestry to Mississippi & some sections of Alabama. Legends tell that the Choctaw people originated from "Nanih Waya," a sacred hill near what is now known as Noxapter, Mississippi. "Nanih Waiya" means "Productive Mound" and is often referred to as "The Mother Mound." Culturally, the Choctaws honored their women as the head of the family household. They were the care-takers of tribe children, elders, and the home.

The Choctaws were the 1st of the 5 southern tribes of the United States to be moved to Oklahoma by the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830. Over 20,000 Choctaws moved on this long journey, with many of the Choctaw people not surviving this removal on what has come to be called "THE TRAIL OF TEARS."  The Choctaws adjusted quickly to their new homeland. Missionaries were sent to Oklahoma Territory including Southern Baptists, Congregationalists, & Presbyterians. These missionaries established good rapport with the Choctaws, & early impressed upon the Choctaws the importance & need for formal education, if they were to co-exist with the invading settlers.

At that time there were 3 districts in Oklahoma where the Choctaws resided; Pushmataha, Apukshunubbee and Mushulatubbee. Here, largely through the efforts of early missionaries, the Choctaws accepted an alien religion & code of morals; established a completely foreign educational system; adopted the constitution & legal system; & modified their agricultural & commercial practices to conform with the US economic system.

The Choctaw "public school" system was started in 1821, before removal to what became Oklahoma.  The Wheelock Academy was founded in 1831. One of the most prominent of the Choctaw schools was established in 1843, known as Armstrong Academy situated in the vicinity north of Bokchito, Bryan County, Oklahoma. When the Civil War broke out, the Choctaws moved their capitol to the Armstrong Academy, so that it would be removed from the war zone. By 1883, the Choctaw Capitol had moved to Tuskahoma, and Armstrong Academy was again used as a boarding school for orphaned Choctaw boys. By 1894, Calvin Institute, another school for Indian youths, was established in Durant, Bryan County, Oklahoma. By 1899, it had attracted an enrollment of 300. The school eventually became known as Oklahoma Presbyterian College, which closed in 1960.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

American artist Seth Eastman (1808-1875) portrays Native American Rice Gatherers

Seth Eastman (American artist, 1808-1875) Rice Gatherers

From Europe to the Atlantic coast of America & on to the Pacific coast during the 17C-19C, settlers moved West encountering a variety of Indigenous Peoples who had lived on the land for centuries.

Born in 1808 in Brunswick, Maine, Seth Eastman (1808-1875) found expression for his artistic skills in a military career. After graduating from the US Military Academy at West Point, where officers-in-training were taught basic drawing & drafting techniques, Eastman was posted to forts in Wisconsin & Minnesota before returning to West Point as assistant teacher of drawing. --- While at Fort Snelling, Eastman married Wakaninajinwin (Stands Sacred), the 15-year-old daughter of Cloud Man, Dakota chief. Eastman left in 1832, for another military assignment soon after the birth of their baby girl, Winona, & he declared his marriage ended when he left. Winona was also known as Mary Nancy Eastman & was the mother of Charles Alexander Eastman, author of Indian Boyhood. --- From 1833 to 1840, Eastman taught drawing at West Point. In 1835, he married his 2nd wife & was reassigned to Fort Snelling as a military commander & remained there with Mary & their 5 children for the next 7 years. During this time Eastman began recording the everyday way of life of the Dakota & the Ojibwa people. Transferred to posts in Florida, & Texas in the 1840s, Eastman made sketches of the native peoples there. This experience prepared him for the next 5 yeas in Washington, DC, where he was assigned to the commissioner of Indian Affairs & illustrated Henry Rowe Schoolcraft's important 6-volume Historical  Statistical Information Respecting the History, Condition, & Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States. In 1867, Eastman returned to the Capitol to paint a series of scenes of Native American life for the House Committee on Indian Affairs. From the office of the United States Senate curator, we learn that in 1870, the House Committee on Military Affairs commissioned artist Seth Eastman 17 to paint images of important fortifications in the United States. He completed the works between 1870 & 1875. Of his 17 paintings of forts, 8 are located in the Senate, while the others are displayed on the House side of the Capitol. Eastman was working on the painting West Point, when he died in 1875.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Indian Encampment by Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902)

From Europe to the Atlantic coast of America & on to the Pacific coast during the 17C-19C, settlers moved West encountering a variety of Indigenous Peoples who had lived on the land for centuries.
Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) Indian Encampment 

Albert Bierstadt (German-born American painter, 1830-1902) was best known for his lavish, sweeping landscapes of the American West. To paint the scenes, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Bierstadt, was born in Solingen, Germany. He was still a toddler, when his family moved from Germany to New Bedford in Massachusetts. In 1853, he returned to Germany to study in Dusseldorf, where he refined his technical abilities by painting Alpine landscapes. After he returned to America in 1857, he joined an overland survey expedition traveling westward across the country. Along the route, he took countless photographs & made sketches & returned East to paint from them. He exhibited at the Boston Athenaeum from 1859-1864, at the Brooklyn Art Association from 1861-1879, & at the Boston Art Club from 1873-1880. A member of the National Academy of Design from 1860-1902, he kept a studio in the 10th Street Studio Building, New York City from 1861-1879. He was a member of the Century Association from 1862-1902, when he died.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Native American Chief by Cassilly Adams (1843-1921)

Cassilly Adams (American artist, 1843-1921) The Chief

A descendant of President John Adams, Kassilli or Cassilly Adams (1843-1921) was born  in Zanesville, Ohio. His father, William Adams, was an amateur painter. Young Cassilly studied painting at the Academy of Art in Boston and Cincinnati Art School. During the Civil War he served in the US Navy. By 1880, Adams was living in St. Louis. In 1884, the artist created a monumental canvas depicting the Battle of the Little Bighorn (death of the Seventh Cavalry Regiment of the US Army and its famous commander George Custer) - "Custer's Last Fight." The painting was exhibited across the country, and then was purchased by the company "Anheuser-Busch" and later donated to the Seventh Cavalry. After the restoration of the original during the Great Depression, it was exhibited in the officers' club at Fort Bliss (Texas), and June 13, 1946 was burned in a fire. Despite the success of "Custer's Last Fight," Adams remained a relatively unknown artist. He focused on the image of Indians American West Plains life, worked as an illustrator, a farmer. He died Kassilli Adams May 8, 1921 in Traders Point near Indianapolis.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Indians from the Bay area of San Francisco 1816 by Louis Choris (1795-1828)

Ohlone people, also known as the Costanoan, are a Native American people of the central & northern California coast. When Spanish explorers & missionaries arrived in the late 18th century, the Ohlone inhabited the area along the coast from San Francisco Bay through Monterey Bay to the lower Salinas Valley. They lived by hunting, fishing, & gathering, in the typical ethnographic California pattern. The members of these various bands interacted freely with one another as they built friendships & marriages, traded tools & other necessities, & partook in cultural practices. Before the Spanish came, the northern California region was one of the most densely populated regions north of Mexico. However in the years 1769 to 1833, the Spanish missions in California had a devastating effect on Ohlone culture. The Ohlone population declined steeply during this period.


Louis Choris (German-Russian painter 1795-1828) Indians from the Bay area of San Francisco 1816

Louis Choris (1795-1828) was a German-Russian painter & explorer. He was one of the 1st sketch artists used for for expedition research. Choris, who was a Russian of German stock, was born in Yekaterinoslav, now Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine on March 22, 1795. He visited the Pacific coast of North America in 1816, on board the Ruric, being attached in the capacity of artist to the Romanzoff expedition under the command of Lieutenant Otto von Kotzebue, sent out for the purpose of exploring a Northwest Passage. After the voyage, Choris went to Paris, where he issued a portfolio of his drawings in lithographic reproduction. Choris worked extensively in pastels, as he documented the Ohlone people in the missions of San Francisco, California in 1816. Voyage Pittoresque Autour du Monde, Avec des Portraits de Savages d'Amerique...by Louis Choriswas was published in Paris by Firmin Didot in 1822. Choris was only 20 years old,  when he was appointed official artist aboard the Rurik, 1815- 1818, commanded by the Russian, Otto von Kotzebue. After visiting islands in the South Seas, Kotzebue explored the North American coast & landed twice on the Hawaiian Islands. The first work in particular has great American interest because of its lithographs of California, the Queen Charlotte Islands, the Aleutians, St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea, & Kotzebue Sound in Alaska. The lithographs cover all aspects of native life & culture.