Saturday, June 29, 2019

Wáh-chee-te, Wife of Cler-mónt, and Child by George Catlin 1796-1872

George Catlin (American artist, 1796-1872) Wáh-chee-te, Wife of Cler-mónt, and Child

In 1818, the artist George Catlin (1796–1872) was practicing law in Connecticut & Pennsylvania, but he abandoned his practice in 1821, to pursue painting Native Americans, a subject, "on which to devote a whole life-time of enthusiasm." Catlin based his entire body of work—including over 500 paintings done in the 1830s recounting his travels — following the Vanishing (Native) American, "In traversing the immense regions of the Classic West, the mind...gradually rises again into the proud & heroic elegance of savage society, in a state of pure & original nature, beyond the reach of civilized contamination...here, treachery & cruelty, are...restrained & frequently subdued by the noblest traits of honor & magnanimity, by a race of men who live & enjoy life & its luxuries, & practice its virtues, very far beyond the usual estimations of the world...From the first (colonial) settlements of our Atlantic coast to the present day, the...frontier has regularly crowded upon them, from the northern to the southern extremities of our country, &, like the fire in a mountain, which destroys every thing where it passes, it has blasted & sunk them, & all but their names, into oblivion, wherever it has traveled." Catlin traveled the frontier from 1830 to 1836, visiting 50 tribes west of the Mississippi, from present-day North Dakota to Oklahoma, creating a visual & narrative record of Native American life. In 1830, the Indian Removal Act began a 12-year campaign to remove the remaining Indians from their ancient homelands east of the Mississippi. Within a few years, many Native Americans would be decimated by starvation & disease; within 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. Catlin produced 2 major collections of paintings of American Indians & published a series of books chronicling his travels among the native peoples of North, Central, & South America.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

1833 Child's Picture Book of Indians

By the 19th century, teaching U.S. children about Native Americans depended mostly on centuries of myths and degrading portrayals. Children were typically taught how the indigenous people possessed a primitive mind, culture, and religion. Euro-Americans would either lean toward a curriculum of paternalism, believing that the Indians needed “White Americans” to save them from themselves. However, in this children’s book from 1833, the author takes an almost sympathetic view of the native population and their plight over the centuries. 

“The predecessors of the English on the American soil were in several respects a remarkable people. Although sunk in ignorance, and destitute of all the refinements of civilization, they were far from the stupidity and imbecility of the Hottentots.”
and further elaborated….

“After their acquaintance with the English had commenced, they often exhibited as much shrewdness and sagacity as their more enlightened neighbors. In acts of heroic bravery, and in unyielding endurance, they have never been excelled. If they were more artful and treacherous than the whites, (although this may be doubted,) they had not the same principles acting upon them to restrain their mischievous propensities; while the recorded instances of their fidelity and gratitude, their kindness and humanity, are not only numerous, but in many instances exceedingly touching.”

“the Indians were, and where they still exist, are, a remarkable people. They are now dwindling away. In another century, it is doubtful whether even a remnant of them will be found in the land, the whole of which they once called their own, and over which their tribes of mighty renown held dominion…”
Sporting the Summer Dress
“The upper part of his hair, you see, is out short, forming a ridge, which stands up, like the comb of a cock. The rest of his hair is shorn, or tied in a knot behind his ear. On his head, are stuck three feathers, by way of  ornament, taken from the turkey, pheasant, or hawk. From his ear hangs a fine shell, with pearl drops. At his breast, is another fine shell, polished very smooth. This, though not to be perceived, is intended to have a star,  or half moon, upon it. From his neck and wrists, hang strings of beads. His apron is made of deer’s skin, around the edges of which is a fringe. Behind his back, or on his side, hangs a quiver to contain his arrows. This was  generally made of thin bark ; but sometimes of the skull of a fox, or young wolf; and to make it look more terrible, the head hung down from the end of the quiver ; but it is not so represented in the picture. To add to the warlike appearance of the quiver, it was tied on with the tail of a panther, or a buffaloe. You perceive it hanging down between the Indian’s legs. On the shoulder of the Indian whose back is turned towards you, you see a dotted mark. This was to show to what tribe he belonged.”
The so-called barbacue
 “The principal food of the Virginia Indians was fish and flesh. These they boiled, or roasted, as they pleased. They had two ways of broiling, viz. one by laying the meat itself upon the coals—the other by laying it upon sticks raised upon forks, at some distance above the live coals. This latter method they called barbacuing”
The dance
 “The sports of the Virginia Indians consisted chiefly in dancing, singing, instrumental music, and some boisterous plays, which were performed by running and leaping upon one another…, representing a solemn festival dance of the Indians round their carved posts.”
What happened to all the fish?
“Before the arrival of the English, the Indians had fish in such abundance, that the boys and girls would take a pointed stick, and strike the smaller sort, as they swam upon the flats. In the picture, you see several who are thus engaged, with their spears.”

Description:
The child’s picture book of Indians :containing views of their costumes, ornaments, weapons, sports, habitations, war-dances, &c, to which is added a collection of Indian anecdotes, original and select. Boston : Carter, Hendee and Co., 1833.

See: Widner Library at Harvard University

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Native Americans Hunting by Cassilly Adams (1843-1921)

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

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 near Indianapolis.

Monday, June 24, 2019

George Catlin (1796-1872) Comanchees Moving their Village of Skin Tents with all their Goods & Chattel

George Catlin (1796 –1872) Camanchees Moving Their village of skin tents being moved, with all their goods and chattels, and a dog fight in its midst.

LETTERS AND NOTES ON THE MANNERS, CUSTOMS, AND CONDITIONS OF NORTH AMERICAN NDIANS
by George Catlin (First published in London in 1844)
LETTER--No. 42.

GREAT CAMANCHEE VILLAGE.

The Village of the Camanchees by the side of which we are encamped, is composed of six or eight hundred skin-covered lodges, made of poles & buffalo skins, in the manner precisely as those of the Sioux & other Missouri tribes, of which I have heretofore given some account. This village with its thousands of wild inmates, with horses & dogs, & wild sports & domestic occupations, presents a most curious scene; & the manners & looks of the people, a rich subject for the brush & the pen.

In the view I have made of it, but a small Portion of the village is shewn; which is as well as to shew the whole of it, inasmuch as the wigwams, as well as the customs, are the same in every part of it. In the foreground is seen the wigwam of the chief; & in various parts, crotches & poles, on which the women are? Drying meat, & "graining" buffalo robes. These people, living in a country where buffaloes are abundant, make their wigwams more easily of their skins, than of anything else; & with them find greater facilities of moving about, as circumstances often require; when they drag them upon the poles attached to their horses, & erect them again with little trouble in their new residence.

We white men, strolling about amongst their wigwams, are looked upon with as much curiosity as if we had come from the moon; & evidently create a sort of chill in the blood of children & dogs, when we make our appearance. I was pleased to-day with the simplicity of a group which came out in front of the chiefs lodge to scrutinize my faithful friend Chadwick & I, as we were strolling about the avenues & labyrinths of their village; upon which I took out my book & sketched as quick as lightning, whilst "Joe" riveted their attention by some ingenious trick or other, over my shoulders, which I did not see, having no time to turn my head. These were the juvenile parts of the chiefs family, & all who at this moment were at home; the venerable old man, & his three or four wives, making a visit, like hundreds of others, to the encampment.

In speaking just above, of the mode of moving their wigwams, & changing their encampments, I should have said a little more, & should also have given to the reader, a sketch of one of these extraordinary scenes, which I have had the good luck to witness; where several thousands were on the march, & furnishing one of those laughable scenes which daily happen, where so many dogs, & so many squaws, are travelling in such a confused mass; with so many conflicting interests, & so many local & individual rights to be pertinaciously claimed & protected. Each horse drags his load, & each dog, (i. e. each dog that will do it & there are many that will not), also dragging his wallet on a couple of poles; & each squaw with her load, & all together (notwithstanding their burthens) cherishing their pugnacious feelings, which often bring them into general conflict, commencing usually amongst the dogs, & sure to result in fisticuffs of the women; whilst the men, riding leisurely on the right or the left, take infinite pleasure in overlooking these desperate conflicts, at which they are sure to have a laugh, & in which, as sure never to lend a hand.

The Camanchees, like the Northern tribes, have many games, & in Pleasant weather seem to be continually practicing more or less of them, on the prairies, back of, & contiguous to, their village.

In their ball-plays, & some other games, they are far behind the Sioux & others of the Northern tribes; but, in racing horses & riding, they are not equalled by any other Indians on the Continent. Racing horses, it would seem, is a constant & almost incessant exercise, & their principal mode of gambling; & perhaps, a more finished set of jockeys are not to be found. The exercise of these people, in a country where horses are so abundant, & the country so fine for riding, is chiefly done on horseback; & it "stands to reason", that such a people, who have been practicing from their childhood, should become exceedingly expert in this wholesome & beautiful exercise. Amongst their feats of riding, there is one that has astonished me more than anything of the kind I have ever seen, or expect to see, in my life -- a stratagem of war, learned & practiced by every young man in the tribe; by which he is able to drop his body upon the side of his horse at the instant he is passing, effectually screened from his enemies' weapons as he lays in a horizontal position behind the body of his horse, with his heel hanging over the horses' back; by which he has the power of throwing himself up again, & changing to the other side of the horse if necessary. In this wonderful condition, he will hang whilst his horse is at fullest speed, carrying with him his bow & his shield, & also his long lance of fourteen feet in length, all or either of which he will wield upon his enemy as he passes; rising & throwing his arrows over the horse's back, or with equal ease & equal success under the horse's neck. This astonishing feat which the young men have bees repeatedly playing off to our surprise as well as amusement, whilst they have been galloping about in front of our tents, completely puzzled the whole of us; & appeared to be the result of magic, rather than of skill acquired by practice. I had several times great curiosity to approach them, to ascertain by what means their bodies could be suspended in this manner, where nothing could be seen but the heel hanging over the horse's back. In these endeavors I was continually frustrated, until one day I coaxed a young fellow up within a little distance of me, by offering him a few plugs of tobacco, & he in a moment solved the difficulty, so far as to render it apparently more feasible than before; yet leaving it one of the most extraordinary results of practice & persevering endeavors. I found on examination, that a shorthair halter was passed around under the neck of the horse, & both ends tightly braided into the mane, on the withers, leaving a loop to hang under the neck, & against the breast, which, being caught up in the hand, makes a sling into which the elbow falls, taking the weight of the body on the middle of the upper arm. Into this loop the rider drops suddenly & fearlessly, leaving his heel to hang over the back of the horse, to steady him, & also to restore him when he wishes to regain his upright position on the horse's back.

Besides this wonderful art, these people have several other feats of horsemanship, which they are continually showing off; which are pleasing & extraordinary, & of which they seem very proud. A people who spend so very great a part of their lives, actually on their horses backs, must needs become exceedingly expert in every thing that pertains to riding-to war, or to the chase; & I am ready, without hesitation, to pronounce the Camanchees the most extraordinary horsemen that I have seen yet in all my travels, & I doubt very much whether any people in the world can surpass them.

The Camanchees are in stature, rather low, & in person, often approaching to corpulency. In their movements, they are heavy & ungraceful; & on their feet, one of the most unattractive & slovenly-looking races of Indians that I have ever seen; but the moment they mount their horses, they seem at once metamorphosed, & surprise the spectator with the ease & elegance of their movements. A Camanchee on his feet is out of his element, & comparatively almost as awkward as a monkey on the ground, without a limb or a branch to cling to; but the moment he lays his hand upon his hone, his face, even becomes handsome, & he gracefully flies away like a different being.

Our encampment is surrounded by continual swarms of old & young-of middle aged -- of male & female -- of dogs, & every moving thing that constitutes their community; & our tents are lined with the chiefs & other worthies of the tribe. So it will be seen there is no difficulty of getting subjects enough for my brush, as well as for my pen, whilst residing in this place.

The head chief of this village, who is represented to us here, as the head of the nation, is a mild & pleasant looking gentleman, without anything striking or peculiar in his looks; dressed in a very humble manner, with very few ornaments upon him, & his hair carelessly falling about his face, & over his shoulders. The name of this chief is Ee-shahko-nee (The Bow & Quiver). The only ornaments to be seen about him were a couple of beautiful shells worn in his ears, & a boar's tusk attached to his neck, & worn on his breast.

For several days after we arrived at this place, there was a huge mass of flesh, Ta-wah-que-nah (The Mountain of Rocks), who was put forward as head chief of the tribe; & all honours were being paid to him by the regiment of dragoons, until the above-mentioned chief arrived from the country, where it seems he was leading a war-party; & had been sent for, no doubt, on the occasion. When he arrived, this huge monster, who is the largest & fattest Indian I ever saw, stepped quite into the background, giving way to this admitted chief, who seemed to have the confidence & respect of the whole tribe.

This enormous man, whose flesh would undoubtedly weigh three hundred pounds or more, took the most wonderful strides in the exercise of his temporary authority; which, in all probability, he was lawfully exercising in the absence of his superior, as second chief of the tribe.

A perfect personation of Jack Falstaff, in size & in figure, with an African face, & a beard on his chin of two or three inches in length. His name, he tells me, he got from having conducted a large party of Camanchees through a secret & subterraneous passage, entirely through the mountain of granite rocks, which lies back of their village; thereby saving their lives from their more powerful enemy, who had "cornered them up" in such a way, that there was no other possible mode for their escape. The mountain under which he conducted them, is called Ta-wah-que-nah (The Mountain of Rocks), & from this he has received his name, which would certainly have been far more appropriate if it had been a mountain of flesh.

Corpulency is a thing exceedingly rare to be found in any of the tribes, amongst the men, owing, probably, to the exposed & active sort of lives they lead; & that in the absence of all the spices of life, many of which have their effect in producing this disgusting, as well as unhandy & awkward extravagance in civilized society.

Ish-a-ro-yeh (He Who Carries A Wolf); & Is-sa-wah-tam-ah (The Wolf Tied With Hair); are also chiefs of some standing in the tribe, & evidently men of great influence, as they were put forward by the head chiefs, for their likenesses to be painted in turn, after their own. The first of the two seemed to be the leader of the war-party which we met, & of which I have spoken; & in escorting us to their village, this man took the lead & piloted us the whole way, in consequence of which Colonel Dodge presented him a very fine gun.

His-oo-san-ches (The Spaniard), a gallant little fellow, is represented to us as one of the leading warriors of the tribe; & no doubt is one of the most extraordinary men at present living in these regions.

He is half Spanish, & being a half-breed, for whom they generally have the most contemptuous feelings, he has been all his life thrown into the front of battle & danger; at which posts he has signalized himself, & commanded the highest admiration & respect of the tribe, for his daring & adventurous career. This is the man of whom I have before spoken, who dashed out so boldly from the war-party, & came to us with the white rag raised on the point of his lance, & of whom I have made a sketch in. I have here represented him as he stood for me, with his shield on his arm, with his quiver slung, & his lance of fourteen feet in length in his right hand. This extraordinary little man, whose figure was light, seemed to be all bone & muscle, & exhibited immense power, by the curve of the bones in his legs & his arms. We had many exhibitions of his extraordinary strength, as well as agility; & of his gentlemanly politeness & friendship, we had as frequent evidences. As an instance of this, I will recite an occurrence which took place but a few days since, when we were moving our encampment to a more desirable ground on another side of their village. We had a deep & powerful stream to ford, when we had several men who were sick, & obliged to be carried on litters. My friend "Joe" & I came up in the rear of the regiment, where the litters of the sick were passing, & we found this little fellow up to his chin in the muddy water, wading & carrying one end of each litter on his head, as they were in turn, passed over. After they had all passed, this gallant little fellow beckoned to me to dismount, & take a seat on his shoulders, which I declined; preferring to stick to my horse's back, which I did, as he took it by the bridle & conducted it through the shallowest ford. When I was across, I took from my belt a handsome knife & presented it to him, which seemed to please him very much.

Besides the above-named chiefs & warriors, I painted the portrait of Kots-o-ko-ro-ko (The Hair of The Bull's Neck); & Hah-nee (The Beaver); the first, a chief, & the second, a warrior of terrible aspect, & also of considerable distinction. These & many other paintings, as well as manufactures from this tribe, may be always seen in my Museum, if I have the good luck to get them safe home from this wild & remote region.

From what I have already seen of the Camanchees, I am fully convinced that they are a numerous & very powerful tribe, & quite equal in numbers & prowess, to the accounts generally given of them.

It is entirely impossible at present to make a correct estimate of their numbers; but taking their own account of villages they point to in such numbers, South of the banks of the Red River, as well as those that lie farther West, & undoubtedly North of its banks, they must be a very numerous tribe; & I think I am able to say, from estimates that these chiefs have made me, that they number some 30 or 40,000 -- being able to shew some 6 or 7000 warriors, well-mounted & well-armed. This estimate I offer not as conclusive, for so little is as yet known of these people, that no estimate can be implicitly relied upon other than that, which, in general terms, pronounces them to be a very numerous & warlike tribe.

We shall learn much more of them before we get out of their country; & I trust that it will yet be in my power to give something like a fair census of them before we have done with them.

They speak much of their allies & friends, the Pawnee Picts, living to the West some three or four days' march, whom we are going to visit in a few days, & afterwards return to this village, & then "bend our course" homeward, or, in other words, back to Fort Gibson. Besides the Pawnee Picts, there are the Kiowas & Wicos; small tribes that live in the same vicinity, & also in the same alliance, whom we shall probably see on our march. Every preparation is now making to be off in a few days -- & I shall omit further remarks on the Camanchees, until we return, when I shall probably have much more to relate of them & their customs. So many of the men & officers are getting sick, that the little command will be very much crippled, from the necessity we shall be under, of leaving about thirty sick, & about an equal number of well to take care of & protect them: for which purpose, we are constructing a fort, with a sort of breastwork of timbers & bushes, which will be ready in a day or two; & the sound part of the command prepared to start with several Camanchee leaders, who have agreed to pilot the way.

During the mid-19C, George Catlin created 2 large collections of paintings featuring Indian portraits, genre scenes, & western landscapes. The 1st collection, which he called his "Indian Gallery," included more than 500 works completed during the 1830s. Most of the surviving paintings from this group are now at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. During the 1850s & 1860s, Catlin created a 2nd collection, numbering more than 600 works, which he called his "Cartoon Collection." The surviving works from this collection were acquired by the American Museum of Natural History in New York in 1912. Paul Mellon purchased more than 300 paintings from the Cartoon Collection when they were deaccessioned. In 1965, he gave 351 works from this collection to the National Gallery of Art.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Karl Ferdinand Wimar (1828-1862) The Lost Trail

Karl Ferdinand Wimar (1828-1862 a painter of the American West was also known as Charles Wimar & Carl Wimar) The Lost Trail

A German-born immigrant to the United States, Charles Wimar(1828-1862) was fascinated by the American frontier.   In 1843, he traveled to St. Louis, a fur-trading frontier town at the time. Between 1846 & 1850, he was apprenticed to the artist Leon de Pomarede, & accompanied him on a journey up the Mississippi, to St. Anthony Falls in Minnesota. In 1852, Wimar returned to Germany; & for 4 years, he studied with with Emmanuel Leutze & Josef Fay in Düsseldorf. After his return to the United States, Wimar took several journeys up the Mississippi River and, in 1858, up the Yellowstone River – documented in various sketchbooks. When he died from tuberculosis at the age of 34, he left about 50 paintings.  Wimar's paintings, like others of the time, reinforced notions of Native Americans as savage & white settlers as cultivated & divinely ordained - a notion that helped justify white colonization of the West. 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

George Catlin (1796 –1872) Comanchee Horsemanship

George Catlin (1796 –1872) Comanchee Horsemanship

LETTERS AND NOTES ON THE MANNERS, CUSTOMS, AND CONDITIONS OF NORTH AMERICAN NDIANS
by George Catlin (First published in London in 1844)
LETTER--No. 42.

GREAT CAMANCHEE VILLAGE.

The Village of the Camanchees by the side of which we are encamped, is composed of six or eight hundred skin-covered lodges, made of poles & buffalo skins, in the manner precisely as those of the Sioux & other Missouri tribes, of which I have heretofore given some account. This village with its thousands of wild inmates, with horses & dogs, & wild sports & domestic occupations, presents a most curious scene; & the manners & looks of the people, a rich subject for the brush & the pen.


In the view I have made of it, but a small Portion of the village is shewn; which is as well as to shew the whole of it, inasmuch as the wigwams, as well as the customs, are the same in every part of it. In the foreground is seen the wigwam of the chief; & in various parts, crotches & poles, on which the women are? Drying meat, & "graining" buffalo robes. These people, living in a country where buffaloes are abundant, make their wigwams more easily of their skins, than of anything else; & with them find greater facilities of moving about, as circumstances often require; when they drag them upon the poles attached to their horses, & erect them again with little trouble in their new residence.


We white men, strolling about amongst their wigwams, are looked upon with as much curiosity as if we had come from the moon; & evidently create a sort of chill in the blood of children & dogs, when we make our appearance. I was pleased to-day with the simplicity of a group which came out in front of the chiefs lodge to scrutinize my faithful friend Chadwick & I, as we were strolling about the avenues & labyrinths of their village; upon which I took out my book & sketched as quick as lightning, whilst "Joe" riveted their attention by some ingenious trick or other, over my shoulders, which I did not see, having no time to turn my head. These were the juvenile parts of the chiefs family, & all who at this moment were at home; the venerable old man, & his three or four wives, making a visit, like hundreds of others, to the encampment.


In speaking just above, of the mode of moving their wigwams, & changing their encampments, I should have said a little more, & should also have given to the reader, a sketch of one of these extraordinary scenes, which I have had the good luck to witness; where several thousands were on the march, & furnishing one of those laughable scenes which daily happen, where so many dogs, & so many squaws, are travelling in such a confused mass; with so many conflicting interests, & so many local & individual rights to be pertinaciously claimed & protected. Each horse drags his load, & each dog, (i. e. each dog that will do it & there are many that will not), also dragging his wallet on a couple of poles; & each squaw with her load, & all together (notwithstanding their burthens) cherishing their pugnacious feelings, which often bring them into general conflict, commencing usually amongst the dogs, & sure to result in fisticuffs of the women; whilst the men, riding leisurely on the right or the left, take infinite pleasure in overlooking these desperate conflicts, at which they are sure to have a laugh, & in which, as sure never to lend a hand.


The Camanchees, like the Northern tribes, have many games, & in Pleasant weather seem to be continually practicing more or less of them, on the prairies, back of, & contiguous to, their village.


In their ball-plays, & some other games, they are far behind the Sioux & others of the Northern tribes; but, in racing horses & riding, they are not equalled by any other Indians on the Continent. Racing horses, it would seem, is a constant & almost incessant exercise, & their principal mode of gambling; & perhaps, a more finished set of jockeys are not to be found. The exercise of these people, in a country where horses are so abundant, & the country so fine for riding, is chiefly done on horseback; & it "stands to reason", that such a people, who have been practicing from their childhood, should become exceedingly expert in this wholesome & beautiful exercise. Amongst their feats of riding, there is one that has astonished me more than anything of the kind I have ever seen, or expect to see, in my life -- a stratagem of war, learned & practiced by every young man in the tribe; by which he is able to drop his body upon the side of his horse at the instant he is passing, effectually screened from his enemies' weapons as he lays in a horizontal position behind the body of his horse, with his heel hanging over the horses' back; by which he has the power of throwing himself up again, & changing to the other side of the horse if necessary. In this wonderful condition, he will hang whilst his horse is at fullest speed, carrying with him his bow & his shield, & also his long lance of fourteen feet in length, all or either of which he will wield upon his enemy as he passes; rising & throwing his arrows over the horse's back, or with equal ease & equal success under the horse's neck. This astonishing feat which the young men have bees repeatedly playing off to our surprise as well as amusement, whilst they have been galloping about in front of our tents, completely puzzled the whole of us; & appeared to be the result of magic, rather than of skill acquired by practice. I had several times great curiosity to approach them, to ascertain by what means their bodies could be suspended in this manner, where nothing could be seen but the heel hanging over the horse's back. In these endeavors I was continually frustrated, until one day I coaxed a young fellow up within a little distance of me, by offering him a few plugs of tobacco, & he in a moment solved the difficulty, so far as to render it apparently more feasible than before; yet leaving it one of the most extraordinary results of practice & persevering endeavors. I found on examination, that a shorthair halter was passed around under the neck of the horse, & both ends tightly braided into the mane, on the withers, leaving a loop to hang under the neck, & against the breast, which, being caught up in the hand, makes a sling into which the elbow falls, taking the weight of the body on the middle of the upper arm. Into this loop the rider drops suddenly & fearlessly, leaving his heel to hang over the back of the horse, to steady him, & also to restore him when he wishes to regain his upright position on the horse's back.


Besides this wonderful art, these people have several other feats of horsemanship, which they are continually showing off; which are pleasing & extraordinary, & of which they seem very proud. A people who spend so very great a part of their lives, actually on their horses backs, must needs become exceedingly expert in every thing that pertains to riding-to war, or to the chase; & I am ready, without hesitation, to pronounce the Camanchees the most extraordinary horsemen that I have seen yet in all my travels, & I doubt very much whether any people in the world can surpass them.


The Camanchees are in stature, rather low, & in person, often approaching to corpulency. In their movements, they are heavy & ungraceful; & on their feet, one of the most unattractive & slovenly-looking races of Indians that I have ever seen; but the moment they mount their horses, they seem at once metamorphosed, & surprise the spectator with the ease & elegance of their movements. A Camanchee on his feet is out of his element, & comparatively almost as awkward as a monkey on the ground, without a limb or a branch to cling to; but the moment he lays his hand upon his hone, his face, even becomes handsome, & he gracefully flies away like a different being.


Our encampment is surrounded by continual swarms of old & young-of middle aged -- of male & female -- of dogs, & every moving thing that constitutes their community; & our tents are lined with the chiefs & other worthies of the tribe. So it will be seen there is no difficulty of getting subjects enough for my brush, as well as for my pen, whilst residing in this place.


The head chief of this village, who is represented to us here, as the head of the nation, is a mild & pleasant looking gentleman, without anything striking or peculiar in his looks; dressed in a very humble manner, with very few ornaments upon him, & his hair carelessly falling about his face, & over his shoulders. The name of this chief is Ee-shahko-nee (The Bow & Quiver). The only ornaments to be seen about him were a couple of beautiful shells worn in his ears, & a boar's tusk attached to his neck, & worn on his breast.


For several days after we arrived at this place, there was a huge mass of flesh, Ta-wah-que-nah (The Mountain of Rocks), who was put forward as head chief of the tribe; & all honours were being paid to him by the regiment of dragoons, until the above-mentioned chief arrived from the country, where it seems he was leading a war-party; & had been sent for, no doubt, on the occasion. When he arrived, this huge monster, who is the largest & fattest Indian I ever saw, stepped quite into the background, giving way to this admitted chief, who seemed to have the confidence & respect of the whole tribe.


This enormous man, whose flesh would undoubtedly weigh three hundred pounds or more, took the most wonderful strides in the exercise of his temporary authority; which, in all probability, he was lawfully exercising in the absence of his superior, as second chief of the tribe.


A perfect personation of Jack Falstaff, in size & in figure, with an African face, & a beard on his chin of two or three inches in length. His name, he tells me, he got from having conducted a large party of Camanchees through a secret & subterraneous passage, entirely through the mountain of granite rocks, which lies back of their village; thereby saving their lives from their more powerful enemy, who had "cornered them up" in such a way, that there was no other possible mode for their escape. The mountain under which he conducted them, is called Ta-wah-que-nah (The Mountain of Rocks), & from this he has received his name, which would certainly have been far more appropriate if it had been a mountain of flesh.


Corpulency is a thing exceedingly rare to be found in any of the tribes, amongst the men, owing, probably, to the exposed & active sort of lives they lead; & that in the absence of all the spices of life, many of which have their effect in producing this disgusting, as well as unhandy & awkward extravagance in civilized society.


Ish-a-ro-yeh (He Who Carries A Wolf); & Is-sa-wah-tam-ah (The Wolf Tied With Hair); are also chiefs of some standing in the tribe, & evidently men of great influence, as they were put forward by the head chiefs, for their likenesses to be painted in turn, after their own. The first of the two seemed to be the leader of the war-party which we met, & of which I have spoken; & in escorting us to their village, this man took the lead & piloted us the whole way, in consequence of which Colonel Dodge presented him a very fine gun.


His-oo-san-ches (The Spaniard), a gallant little fellow, is represented to us as one of the leading warriors of the tribe; & no doubt is one of the most extraordinary men at present living in these regions.


He is half Spanish, & being a half-breed, for whom they generally have the most contemptuous feelings, he has been all his life thrown into the front of battle & danger; at which posts he has signalized himself, & commanded the highest admiration & respect of the tribe, for his daring & adventurous career. This is the man of whom I have before spoken, who dashed out so boldly from the war-party, & came to us with the white rag raised on the point of his lance, & of whom I have made a sketch in. I have here represented him as he stood for me, with his shield on his arm, with his quiver slung, & his lance of fourteen feet in length in his right hand. This extraordinary little man, whose figure was light, seemed to be all bone & muscle, & exhibited immense power, by the curve of the bones in his legs & his arms. We had many exhibitions of his extraordinary strength, as well as agility; & of his gentlemanly politeness & friendship, we had as frequent evidences. As an instance of this, I will recite an occurrence which took place but a few days since, when we were moving our encampment to a more desirable ground on another side of their village. We had a deep & powerful stream to ford, when we had several men who were sick, & obliged to be carried on litters. My friend "Joe" & I came up in the rear of the regiment, where the litters of the sick were passing, & we found this little fellow up to his chin in the muddy water, wading & carrying one end of each litter on his head, as they were in turn, passed over. After they had all passed, this gallant little fellow beckoned to me to dismount, & take a seat on his shoulders, which I declined; preferring to stick to my horse's back, which I did, as he took it by the bridle & conducted it through the shallowest ford. When I was across, I took from my belt a handsome knife & presented it to him, which seemed to please him very much.


Besides the above-named chiefs & warriors, I painted the portrait of Kots-o-ko-ro-ko (The Hair of The Bull's Neck); & Hah-nee (The Beaver); the first, a chief, & the second, a warrior of terrible aspect, & also of considerable distinction. These & many other paintings, as well as manufactures from this tribe, may be always seen in my Museum, if I have the good luck to get them safe home from this wild & remote region.


From what I have already seen of the Camanchees, I am fully convinced that they are a numerous & very powerful tribe, & quite equal in numbers & prowess, to the accounts generally given of them.


It is entirely impossible at present to make a correct estimate of their numbers; but taking their own account of villages they point to in such numbers, South of the banks of the Red River, as well as those that lie farther West, & undoubtedly North of its banks, they must be a very numerous tribe; & I think I am able to say, from estimates that these chiefs have made me, that they number some 30 or 40,000 -- being able to shew some 6 or 7000 warriors, well-mounted & well-armed. This estimate I offer not as conclusive, for so little is as yet known of these people, that no estimate can be implicitly relied upon other than that, which, in general terms, pronounces them to be a very numerous & warlike tribe.


We shall learn much more of them before we get out of their country; & I trust that it will yet be in my power to give something like a fair census of them before we have done with them.


They speak much of their allies & friends, the Pawnee Picts, living to the West some three or four days' march, whom we are going to visit in a few days, & afterwards return to this village, & then "bend our course" homeward, or, in other words, back to Fort Gibson. Besides the Pawnee Picts, there are the Kiowas & Wicos; small tribes that live in the same vicinity, & also in the same alliance, whom we shall probably see on our march. Every preparation is now making to be off in a few days -- & I shall omit further remarks on the Camanchees, until we return, when I shall probably have much more to relate of them & their customs. So many of the men & officers are getting sick, that the little command will be very much crippled, from the necessity we shall be under, of leaving about thirty sick, & about an equal number of well to take care of & protect them: for which purpose, we are constructing a fort, with a sort of breastwork of timbers & bushes, which will be ready in a day or two; & the sound part of the command prepared to start with several Camanchee leaders, who have agreed to pilot the way.


During the mid-19C, George Catlin created 2 large collections of paintings featuring Indian portraits, genre scenes, & western landscapes. The 1st collection, which he called his "Indian Gallery," included more than 500 works completed during the 1830s. Most of the surviving paintings from this group are now at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. During the 1850s & 1860s, Catlin created a 2nd collection, numbering more than 600 works, which he called his "Cartoon Collection." The surviving works from this collection were acquired by the American Museum of Natural History in New York in 1912. Paul Mellon purchased more than 300 paintings from the Cartoon Collection when they were deaccessioned. In 1965, he gave 351 works from this collection to the National Gallery of Art.

The artist George Catlin (1796–1872), who based his entire body of work—including over 500 paintings done in the 1830s & several books recounting his travels—on the theory of the Vanishing American, provided a vivid description of the process at work: "In traversing the immense regions of the Classic West, the mind of a Philanthropist is filled to the brim with feelings of admiration; but to reach this country, one is obliged to descend from the light & glow of civilized atmosphere, through the different grades of civilization, which gradually sink to the most deplorable vice & darkness along our frontier; thence through the most pitiable misery & wretchedness of savage degradation, where the genius of natural liberty & independence have been blasted & destroyed by the contaminating vices & dissipations of civilized society. Through this dark & sunken vale of wretchedness one hurries as through a pestilence, until he gradually rises again into the proud & heroic elegance of savage society, in a state of pure & original nature, beyond the reach of civilized contamination … Even here, the predominant passions of the savage breast, of treachery & cruelty, are often found, yet restrained & frequently subdued by the noblest traits of honor & magnanimity,—a race of men who live & enjoy life & its luxuries, & practice its virtues, very far beyond the usual estimations of the world … From the first settlements of our Atlantic coast to the present day, the bane of this blasting frontier has regularly crowded upon them, from the northern to the southern extremities of our country, &, like the fire in a mountain, which destroys every thing where it passes, it has blasted & sunk them, & all but their names, into oblivion, wherever it has traveled."

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 they 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.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874) - Attack by Crow Indians

Alfred Jacob Miller (American, 1810-1874) Attack by Crow Indians

Miller did not see this scene, which occurred during one of Captain Stewart's earlier trips to the mountains, but it was explained to him in detail and he painted several versions of it, including a large painting approximately 5 x 9 feet for Murthly Castle and this fine watercolor. According to LeRoy R. Hafen's account of the incident ("Broken Hand," p. 134), a band of young Crows invaded the camp while Fitzpatrick was away and Stewart was in charge. They carried off stock, pelts, and other property. They encountered Fitzpatrick on their return and stripped him of everything of value as well. As Stewart described the incident, the Crow medicine man had told the braves that, if they struck the first blow, they could not win. Thus, they had to provoke Stewart or someone in his party into striking the first blow. Stewart stood firm, refusing to strike. The Crows left, and the captain survived a situation in which he would have surely lost the battle. Fitzpatrick managed to talk the Crows into returning most of what they had taken.

The Crow are a Native American tribe who lived in the Yellowstone Valley in Wyoming, Montana, & North Dakota. The Crow/Apsaroke moved from Ohio further west due to pressure from the Ojibwe & Cree, & the Crow & Cheyenne would fight against each other before both being pushed farther west by the Sioux. The Crow became bitter enemies of both the Sioux & Cheyenne, & the Crow allied with the United States during the Indian Wars, being friendly to the whites & being granted a reservation of 5,779 miles at the Crow Agency, south of Billings, Montana. 

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, June 20, 2019

George Catlin (1796 –1872) Caddoe Indians Gathering Wild Strawberries

George Catlin (1796 –1872) Caddoe Indians Gathering Wild Strawberries

The Caddo Nation is a confederacy of several Southeastern Native American tribes, previously known as the Caddo Tribe of Oklahoma. Their ancestors historically inhabited much of what is now East Texas, Louisiana, & portions of southern Arkansas & Oklahoma. They were descendants of the Caddoan Mississippian culture that constructed huge earthwork mounds at several sites in this territory. In the early 19C, Caddo people were forced to a reservation in Texas; they were removed to Indian Territory in 1859.

The Caddo are thought to be an extension of Woodland period peoples, the Fourche Maline & Mossy Grove cultures, whose members were living in the area of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, & Texas between 200 BCE & 800 CE. The Wichita & Pawnee are related to the Caddo, as both tribes speak Caddoan languages. By 800 CE, this society had begun to coalesce into the Caddoan Mississippian culture. Some villages began to gain prominence as ritual centers. Leaders directed the construction of major earthworks, serving as temple mounds & platforms for residences of the elite. The flat-topped mounds were arranged around leveled, large, open plazas, which were usually kept swept clean & were often used for ceremonial occasions. As complex religious & social ideas developed, some people & family lineages gained prominence over others.  By 1000 CE, a society that is defined by archaeologists as "Caddoan" had emerged. By 1200, the many villages, hamlets, & farmsteads established throughout the Caddo world had developed extensive maize agriculture, producing a surplus that allowed for greater density of settlement. In these villages, artisans & craftsmen developed specialties. The artistic skills & earthwork mound-building of the Caddoan Mississippians flourished during the 12C & 13C.

The Spiro Mounds, near the Arkansas River in present-day southeastern Oklahoma, were some of the most elaborate mounds in the United States. They were made by Mississippian ancestors of the historic Caddo & Wichita tribes, in what is considered the westernmost point of the Mississippian culture.  The Caddo were farmers & enjoyed good growing conditions most of the time. The Piney Woods, the geographic area where they lived, was affected by the Great Drought from 1276–1299 CE, which covered an area extending to present-day California & disrupted many Native American cultures.

Archeological evidence has confirmed that the cultural continuity is unbroken from prehistory to the present among these peoples. The Caddoan Mississippian people were the direct ancestors of the historic Caddo people & related Caddo-language speakers who encountered the first Europeans, as well as of the modern Caddo Nation of Oklahoma.

Caddo oral history of their creation story says the tribe emerged from a cave, called Chahkanina or "the place of crying," located at the confluence of the Red River of the South & Mississippi River in northern present-day Louisiana. Their leader, named Moon, instructed the people not to look back. An old Caddo man carried with him a drum, a pipe, & fire, all of which have continued to be important religious items to the people. His wife carried corn & pumpkin seeds. As people & accompanying animals emerged, the wolf looked back. The exit from the underground closed to the remaining people & animals.

The Caddo peoples moved west along the Red River, which they called Bah'hatteno in Caddo. A Caddo woman, Zacado, instructed the tribe in hunting, fishing, home construction, & making clothing. Caddo religion focuses on Kadhi háyuh, translating to "Lord Above" or "Lord of the Sky." In early times, the people were led by priests, including a head priest, the xinesi, who could commune with spirits residing near Caddo temples.  A cycle of ceremonies developed around important periods of corn cultivation. Tobacco was & is used ceremonially. Early priests drank a purifying sacrament made of wild olive leaves.

Centuries before extensive European contact, some of the Caddo territory was invaded by migrating Dhegihan-speaking peoples, Osage, Ponca, Omaha, & Kaw, who moved west beginning about 1200 due to years of warfare with the Iroquois in the Ohio River area of present-day Kentucky. The Iroquois took control of hunting grounds in the area. The Osage particularly fought the Caddo, pushed them out of some former territory, & became dominant in the region of present-day Missouri, Arkansas, & eastern Kansas. These tribes had become settled in their new territory west of the Mississippi prior to mid-18C European contact.

Most of the Caddo historically lived in the Piney Woods ecoregion of the United States, divided among the state regions of East Texas, southern Arkansas, western Louisiana, & southeastern Oklahoma. This region extends up to the foothills of the Ozarks. The Piney Woods are a dense forest of deciduous & pinophyta flora covering rolling hills, steep river valleys, & intermittent wetlands called "bayous". Caddo people primarily settled near the Caddo River.

When they first encountered Europeans & Africans, the Caddo tribes organized themselves in three confederacies: the Natchitoches, Hasinai, & Kadohadacho. They were loosely affiliated with other neighboring tribes including the Yowani a Choctaw band. The Natchitoches lived in now northern Louisiana, the Haisinai lived in East Texas, & the Kadohadacho lived near the border of Texas, Oklahoma, & Arkansas.

The Caddo people had a diet based on cultivated crops, particularly maize (corn), but also sunflower, pumpkins, & squash. These foods held cultural significance, as did wild turkeys. They hunted & gathered wild plants, as well.

The Caddo first encountered Europeans & Africans in 1541 when the Spanish Hernando de Soto Expedition came through their lands.  De Soto's force had a violent clash with one band of Caddo Indians, the Tula people, near present-day Caddo Gap, Arkansas. This historic event has been marked by the modern town with a monument.

French explorers in the early 18C  encountered the Natchitoche in northern Louisiana. They were followed by fur traders from outposts along the Gulf Coast, & later by missionaries from France & Spain, who also traveled among the people. The Europeans carried infections such as smallpox & measles, because these were endemic in their societies. As the Caddo peoples had no acquired immunity to such new diseases, they suffered epidemics with high fatalities that decimated the tribal populations. Influenza & malaria also devastated the Caddo.

French traders built forts with trading posts near Caddo villages, that already were important hubs in the Great Plains trading network. These stations attracted more French & other European settlers. Among such settlements are the present-day communities of Elysian Fields & Nacogdoches, Texas, & Natchitoches, Louisiana. In the latter two towns, early explorers & settlers kept the original Caddo names of the villages.

Having given way over years before the power of the former Ohio Valley tribes, the later Caddo negotiated for peace with the waves of Spanish, French, & finally Anglo-American settlers. After the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, by which the United States took over the former French colonial territory west of the Mississippi River, the US government sought to ally with the Caddo peoples. During the War of 1812, American generals such as William Henry Harrison, William Clark, & Andrew Jackson crushed pro-British uprisings among other Southeast Indians, in particular the Creeks. Due to the Caddo's neutrality & their importance as a source of information for the Louisiana Territory government, they were left alone. In the 1830s, the federal government embarked on a program of Indian removal of tribes from the Southeast in order to enable European-American settlement, as new migrants pressed from the east.

In 1835 the Kadohadacho, the northernmost Caddo confederacy, signed a treaty with the US to relocate to independent Mexico (in the area of present-day East Texas). Then lightly settled by Mexican colonists, this area was being rapidly transformed by greatly increased immigration of European Americans. In 1836, the Anglo-Americans declared independence from Mexico & established the Republic of Texas, an independent nation.  The name "Texas" is derived from the Hasinai word táysha, meaning "friend".

On December 29, 1845, Texas was admitted to the US as a state. At that time, the federal government forced the relocation of both the Hasinai & the Kadohadacho as well as remnants of allied Delaware (Lenape) & Yowani onto the Brazos Reservation. Pressures increased on the Brazos Reservation Indians to remove north, culminating in a violent attack on December 26, 1858 on a Caddo encampment just off the reservation. This vigilante group led by Captain Peter Garland was a vigilante force from Erath County. The Caddo group was led by Choctaw Tom who was a Yowani Choctaw married to a Hasinai woman, who was killed in this fight along with twenty-seven other Indians.  In 1859, many of the Caddo were relocated again to Indian Territory north of Texas, in present-day Oklahoma. After the Civil War, the Caddo were concentrated on a reservation located between the Washita & Canadian rivers in Indian Territory.

In the late 19C, the Caddo took up the Ghost Dance religion, which was widespread among American Indian nations in the West. John Wilson, a Caddo-Lenape medicine man who spoke only Caddo, was an influential leader in the Ghost Dance. In 1880, Wilson became a peyote roadman. The tribe had known the Half Moon peyote ceremony, but Wilson introduced the Big Moon ceremony to them.  The Caddo tribe remains very active in the Native American Church today.

Congress passed the 1887 Dawes Act to promote assimilation of tribes in Indian Territory. It authorized distribution of tribal communal landholdings into allotments for individual households in order for them to establish subsistence family farms along the European-American model. Any tribal lands remaining after such allotments were to be declared "surplus" & sold, including to non-Native Americans. The allotment system was intended to extinguish tribal Native American land claims to enable admission of Oklahoma as a state & assimilate Native Americans into the majority culture. At the same time, tribal governments were to be ended. The territory had already been settled by numerous European Americans outside the tribal territories.

The Caddo vigorously opposed allotment. Whitebread, a Caddo leader, said, "because of their peaceful lives & friendship to the white man, & through their ignorance were not consulted, & have been ignored & stuck away in a corner & allowed to exist by sufferance."  Tribal governments were dismantled at this time, & Native Americans were expected to act as state & US citizens. After some period, the adverse effects of these changes were recognized. The Caddo & other Native American peoples suffered greatly from the disruption of the loss of their lands & breakup of their traditional cultures.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Karl Ferdinand Wimar (1828-1862) The Indian Raid 1853

Karl Ferdinand Wimar (1828-1862 a painter of the American West was also known as Charles Wimar & Carl Wimar) The Indian Raid (1853)

A German-born immigrant to the United States, Charles Wimar was fascinated by the American frontier, Wimar focused during this period on images of indiginous American conflicts with settlers, in particular the theme of captivity & abduction. This theme appeared widely in the popular literature & visual arts of the 18C & 19C, in which it was fashionable to mythologize the struggles of the frontier with exotic portrayals of the West & Native Americans. When he died from tuberculosis at the age of 34, he left about 50 paintings. In 1843, he traveled to St. Louis, a fur-trading frontier town at the time. Between 1846 & 1850, he was apprenticed to the artist Leon de Pomarede, & accompanied him on a journey up the Mississippi, to St. Anthony Falls in Minnesota. In 1852, Wimar returned to Germany; & for 4 years, he studied with with Emmanuel Leutze & Josef Fay in Düsseldorf. After his return to the United States, Wimar took several journeys up the Mississippi River and, in 1858, up the Yellowstone River – documented in various sketchbooks. Wimar's paintings, like others of the time, reinforced notions of Native Americans as savage & white settlers as cultivated & divinely ordained - a notion that helped justify white colonization of the West. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

George Catlin (1796 –1872) Black Hawk and the Prophet - Saukie

George Catlin (1796 –1872) Black Hawk and the Prophet - Saukie

 The Sauk tribe, also known as the Sacs or Saukies were a fierce, warlike people who originally inhabited territory in the western Great Lakes region then moved west of Lake Michigan to present-day Wisconsin. In 1734, the Sauk joined in a alliance with the Fox tribe who had been defeated by the French in the Fox Wars. The tribes extended their territory westward beyond the Mississippi. Sauk chiefs included Keokuk, Wapello and the famous Black Hawk, leader of the 1832 Black Hawk War.

The food of the Sauk Northeast Woodland people were fish and small game including squirrel, deer, elk, raccoon, bear and beaver. Corn, squash, beans and pumpkin were raised by the women. The men also raised tobacco.  The food of the Sauk people who inhabited the Great Plains region was predominantly buffalo but also they also hunted bear, deer and wild turkey. The women also collected roots, wild fruit and vegetables

The Sauk (Sac) tribe were farmers, hunter-gatherers and fishermen who made good use of their lightweight birchbark canoes they used on hunting, trading and fishing trips. Originally living along the western Great Lakes, they extended their lands into Wisconsin and the biggest Sauk villages were on the Wisconsin River. They extended their territories further west where they hunted buffalo. Their neighbours were the Fox tribe who were defeated by the French during the Fox Wars (1712 - 1733). The Fox then joined the larger Sauk tribe, an association that led to a long standing alliance. Both the Sauk and the Fox (Meskwaki) people had a strong sense of tribal identity and each tribe retained their separate chiefs, customs and traditions. The Sauk maintained good relations with the French until the Fox Wars and also traded with the Dutch and the English. The Sauk left their central Michigan location for northern Wisconsin after tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy attacked the people in the mid-seventeenth century. The Sauk became allies with the British during the French and Indian wars (1689 - 1763). The Fox tribe relocated south from Wisconsin into Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri. Following the American War of Independence an alliance of many different tribes, called the Western Confederacy, was formed who aimed to keep the Ohio River as a boundary between Native Indian lands and the United States. The Sauk subsequently fought in Little Turtle’s War (1785–1795), Tecumseh's War (1811–1813) and the 1832 Black Hawk War. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 resulted in the Sauk tribe being moved to reservations in Indian territory.

1600s: The Sauk lived in the southern Great Lakes Region

1600's: New France' was established in the area of the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. New France was divided into five colonies of Canada, Acadia, Hudson Bay, Newfoundland and Louisiana

1614: The New Netherlands was established and the Sauk started trading with the Dutch

1628: The Sauk defeat their Mohican enemies

1620: The Great Migration of English colonists and the encroachment of Native Indian lands in New England begins

1634: Devastating epidemics of smallpox were spread by the Europeans

1667: The first Sauk contact with the French at Chequamegon Bay, Lake Superior. Jesuit missionary Claude Jean Allouez, vicar general of Quebec, was the first person to describe the Sauk and wrote that the tribe was more savage than all the other peoples he had met.

1670: Hudson Bay Company was formed establishing significant fur trading in Lake Superior region

1688: The French and Indian Wars (1688-1763) begin marking the outbreak of King William's War (1688-1699) and the Sauk tribe become allies of the British

1712: First Fox War (1712–1716)

Monday, June 17, 2019

Mong-shóng-sha, Bending Willow, Wife of Great Chief by George Catlin 1796-1872

George Catlin (American artist, 1796-1872) Mong-shóng-sha, Bending Willow, Wife of Great Chief

In 1818, the artist George Catlin (1796–1872) was practicing law in Connecticut & Pennsylvania, but he abandoned his practice in 1821, to pursue painting Native Americans, a subject, "on which to devote a whole life-time of enthusiasm." Catlin based his entire body of work—including over 500 paintings done in the 1830s recounting his travels — following the Vanishing (Native) American, "In traversing the immense regions of the Classic West, the mind...gradually rises again into the proud & heroic elegance of savage society, in a state of pure & original nature, beyond the reach of civilized contamination...here, treachery & cruelty, are...restrained & frequently subdued by the noblest traits of honor & magnanimity, by a race of men who live & enjoy life & its luxuries, & practice its virtues, very far beyond the usual estimations of the world...From the first (colonial) settlements of our Atlantic coast to the present day, the...frontier has regularly crowded upon them, from the northern to the southern extremities of our country, &, like the fire in a mountain, which destroys every thing where it passes, it has blasted & sunk them, & all but their names, into oblivion, wherever it has traveled." Catlin traveled the frontier from 1830 to 1836, visiting 50 tribes west of the Mississippi, from present-day North Dakota to Oklahoma, creating a visual & narrative record of Native American life. In 1830, the Indian Removal Act began a 12-year campaign to remove the remaining Indians from their ancient homelands east of the Mississippi. Within a few years, many Native Americans would be decimated by starvation & disease; within 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. Catlin produced 2 major collections of paintings of American Indians & published a series of books chronicling his travels among the native peoples of North, Central, & South America.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

George Catlin (1796 –1872) Black Hawk and Five Other Saukie Prisoners

George Catlin (1796 –1872) Black Hawk and Five Other Saukie Prisoners

 The Sauk tribe, also known as the Sacs or Saukies were a fierce, warlike people who originally inhabited territory in the western Great Lakes region then moved west of Lake Michigan to present-day Wisconsin. In 1734, the Sauk joined in a alliance with the Fox tribe who had been defeated by the French in the Fox Wars. The tribes extended their territory westward beyond the Mississippi. Sauk chiefs included Keokuk, Wapello and the famous Black Hawk, leader of the 1832 Black Hawk War. 

The food of the Sauk Northeast Woodland people were fish and small game including squirrel, deer, elk, raccoon, bear and beaver. Corn, squash, beans and pumpkin were raised by the women. The men also raised tobacco.  The food of the Sauk people who inhabited the Great Plains region was predominantly buffalo but also they also hunted bear, deer and wild turkey. The women also collected roots, wild fruit and vegetables

The Sauk (Sac) tribe were farmers, hunter-gatherers and fishermen who made good use of their lightweight birchbark canoes they used on hunting, trading and fishing trips. Originally living along the western Great Lakes, they extended their lands into Wisconsin and the biggest Sauk villages were on the Wisconsin River. They extended their territories further west where they hunted buffalo. Their neighbours were the Fox tribe who were defeated by the French during the Fox Wars (1712 - 1733). The Fox then joined the larger Sauk tribe, an association that led to a long standing alliance. Both the Sauk and the Fox (Meskwaki) people had a strong sense of tribal identity and each tribe retained their separate chiefs, customs and traditions. The Sauk maintained good relations with the French until the Fox Wars and also traded with the Dutch and the English. The Sauk left their central Michigan location for northern Wisconsin after tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy attacked the people in the mid-seventeenth century. The Sauk became allies with the British during the French and Indian wars (1689 - 1763). The Fox tribe relocated south from Wisconsin into Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri. Following the American War of Independence an alliance of many different tribes, called the Western Confederacy, was formed who aimed to keep the Ohio River as a boundary between Native Indian lands and the United States. The Sauk subsequently fought in Little Turtle’s War (1785–1795), Tecumseh's War (1811–1813) and the 1832 Black Hawk War. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 resulted in the Sauk tribe being moved to reservations in Indian territory.

1600s: The Sauk lived in the southern Great Lakes Region

1600's: New France' was established in the area of the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. New France was divided into five colonies of Canada, Acadia, Hudson Bay, Newfoundland and Louisiana

1614: The New Netherlands was established and the Sauk started trading with the Dutch

1628: The Sauk defeat their Mohican enemies

1620: The Great Migration of English colonists and the encroachment of Native Indian lands in New England begins

1634: Devastating epidemics of smallpox were spread by the Europeans

1667: The first Sauk contact with the French at Chequamegon Bay, Lake Superior. Jesuit missionary Claude Jean Allouez, vicar general of Quebec, was the first person to describe the Sauk and wrote that the tribe was more savage than all the other peoples he had met.

1670: Hudson Bay Company was formed establishing significant fur trading in Lake Superior region

1688: The French and Indian Wars (1688-1763) begin marking the outbreak of King William's War (1688-1699) and the Sauk tribe become allies of the British

1712: First Fox War (1712–1716)

Saturday, June 15, 2019

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.

Friday, June 14, 2019

George Catlin (1796 –1872) Bivouac of a Sioux War Party

George Catlin (1796 –1872) Bivouac of a Sioux War Party

The Sioux ( Dakota), 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 Dakota are first recorded to have resided at the source of the Mississippi River & the Great Lakes during the seventeenth century.  They were dispersed west in 1659 due to warfare with the Iroquois. By 1700 the Dakota Sioux were living in Wisconsin & Minnesota, at this time they exterminated the Wicosawan, another Siouan people in 1710. A split of branch known as the Lakota had migrated to present-day South Dakota.  Late in the 17th century, the Dakota entered into an alliance with French merchants.  The French were trying to gain advantage in the struggle for the North American fur trade against the English, who had recently established the Hudson's Bay Company.

The first recorded encounter between the Sioux & the French occurred when Radisson & Groseilliers reached what is now Wisconsin during the winter of 1659–60. Later visiting French traders & missionaries included Claude-Jean Allouez, Daniel Greysolon Duluth, & Pierre-Charles Le Sueur who wintered with Dakota bands in early 1700.  In 1736 a group of Sioux killed Jean Baptiste de La Vérendrye & twenty other men on an island in Lake of the Woods.  However, trade with the French continued until the French gave up North America in 1763.

The Pawnee Indians had a long tradition of living in present-day Nebraska.  Their first land cession to the United States took place in 1833 when they sold land south of the Platte River. The Massacre Canyon battlefield near Republican River is located within this area. Forty years & two land cessions later, the tribe lived in a small reservation on old Pawnee land, present-day Nance County. The Pawnees had kept a right to hunt buffalo on their vast, ancient range between the Loup, Platte & Republican rivers in Nebraska & south into northern Kansas, now territory of the United States. They had suffered continual attacks by the Lakota that increased violently in the early 1840s. The Lakota lived north of the Pawnee. In 1868 they had entered into a treaty with the United States & agreed to live in the Great Sioux Reservation in present-day South Dakota. By Article 11 they (also) received a right to hunt along the Republican, almost 200 miles south of the reservation.  Both the Pawnee & the Lakota complained regularly over attacks by the other tribe. An attempt to make peace in 1871 with the United States as intermediary came to nothing.

The Massacre Canyon battle took place in Nebraska on August 5, 1873 near the Republican River. It was one of the last hostilities between the Pawnee & the Lakota & the last battle/massacre between Great Plains Indians in North America.  The massacre occurred when a large Oglala/Brulé Sioux war party of over 1,500 warriors led by Two Strike, Little Wound, & Spotted Tail attacked a band of Pawnee during their summer buffalo hunt. In the ensuing rout more than 75–100 Pawnees were killed, men with mostly women & children, the victims suffering mutilation & some set on fire.

The Pawnee were traveling along the west bank of the canyon, which runs south to the Republican River, when they were attacked. "A census taken at the Pawnee Agency in September, according [to] Agent Burges  "71 Pawnee warriors were killed, & 102 women & children killed", the victims brutally mutilated & scalped & others even set on fire"  although Trail Agent John Williamson's account states 156 Pawnee died. It is likely the death toll would have been higher, for Williamson noted ". . . a company of United States cavalry emerge[d] from the timber. When the Sioux saw the soldiers approaching they beat a hasty retreat, although "Recently discovered military documents disproved the old theory" per the "Massacre Canyon Monument" article. This massacre is by some considered one of the factors that led to the Pawnees' decision to move to a reservation in Indian Territory in what is today Oklahoma.  The Pawnee disagree.

By 1862, shortly after a failed crop the year before & a winter starvation, the federal payment was late. The local traders would not issue any more credit to the Santee & one trader, Andrew Myrick, went so far as to say, "If they're hungry, let them eat grass."  On August 17, 1862 the Dakota War began when a few Santee men murdered a white farmer & most of his family. They inspired further attacks on white settlements along the Minnesota River. The Santee attacked the trading post. Later, settlers found Myrick among the dead with his mouth stuffed full of grass.

On November 5, 1862 in Minnesota, in courts-martial, 303 Santee Sioux were found guilty of rape & murder of hundreds of American settlers. They were sentenced to be hanged. No attorneys or witnesses were allowed as a defense for the accused, & many were convicted in less than five minutes of court time with the judge.  President Abraham Lincoln commuted the death sentences of 284 of the warriors, while signing off on the hanging of 38 Santee men on December 26, 1862 in Mankato, Minnesota. It was the largest mass-execution in U.S. history, on US soil.

Afterwards, the US suspended treaty annuities to the Dakota for four years & awarded the money to the white victims & their families. The men remanded by order of President Lincoln were sent to a prison in Iowa, where more than half died.

During & after the revolt, many Santee & their kin fled Minnesota & Eastern Dakota to Canada, or settled in the James River Valley in a short-lived reservation before being forced to move to Crow Creek Reservation on the east bank of the Missouri. A few joined the Yanktonai & moved further west to join with the Lakota bands to continue their struggle against the United States military.

Others were able to remain in Minnesota & the east, in small reservations existing into the 21st century, including Sisseton-Wahpeton, Flandreau, & Devils Lake (Spirit Lake or Fort Totten) Reservations in the Dakotas. Some ended up in Nebraska, where the Santee Sioux Reservation today has a reservation on the south bank of the Missouri.

Those who fled to Canada now have descendants residing on nine small Dakota Reserves, five of which are located in Manitoba (Sioux Valley, Long Plain, Dakota Tipi, Birdtail Creek, & Oak Lake [Pipestone]) & the remaining four (Standing Buffalo, Moose Woods [White Cap], Round Plain [Wahpeton], & Wood Mountain) in Saskatchewan.

Red Cloud's War (also referred to as the Bozeman War) was an armed conflict between the Lakota & the United States Army in the Wyoming Territory & the Montana Territory from 1866 to 1868. The war was fought over control of the Powder River Country in north central Wyoming.

The war is named after Red Cloud, a prominent Sioux chief who led the war against the United States following encroachment into the area by the U.S. military. The war ended with the Treaty of Fort Laramie. The Sioux victory in the war led to their temporarily preserving their control of the Powder River country.

The Great Sioux War of 1876, also known as the Black Hills War, was a series of battles & negotiations which occurred in 1876 & 1877 between the Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, & the United States. The cause of the war was the desire of the U.S. government to obtain ownership of the Black Hills. Gold had been discovered in the Black Hills, settlers began to encroach onto Native American lands, & the Sioux & Cheyenne refused to cede ownership to the U.S. Traditionally, the United States military & historians place the Lakota at the center of the story, especially given their numbers, but some Indians believe the Cheyenne were the primary target of the U.S. campaign.

The earliest engagement was the Battle of Powder River, & the final battle was the Wolf Mountain. Included are the Battle of the Rosebud, Battle of Warbonnet Creek, Battle of Slim Buttes, Battle of Cedar Creek, & the Dull Knife Fight.

Among the many battles & skirmishes of the war was the Battle of the Little Bighorn, often known as Custer's Last Stand, the most storied of the many encounters between the U.S. army & mounted Plains Indians. The Battle of the Little Bighorn, known to the Lakota & other Plains Indians as the Battle of the Greasy Grass & also commonly referred to as Custer's Last Stand, was an armed engagement between combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, & Arapaho tribes & the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army. The battle, which resulted in the defeat of US forces, was the most significant action of the Great Sioux War of 1876. It took place on June 25–26, 1876, along the Little Bighorn River in the Crow Indian Reservation in southeastern Montana Territory.

The fight was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, & Arapaho, who were led by several major war leaders, including Crazy Horse & Chief Gall, & had been inspired by the visions of Sitting Bull (Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake). The US 7th Cavalry, a force of 700 men, suffered a major defeat while under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer (formerly a brevetted major general during the American Civil War). Five of the 7th Cavalry's twelve companies were annihilated & Custer was killed, as were two of his brothers, a nephew & a brother-in-law. The total US casualty count included 268 dead & 55 severely wounded (six died later from their wounds), including four Crow Indian scouts & at least two Arikara Indian scouts. The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument honors those who fought on both sides.

That Indian victory notwithstanding, the U.S. leveraged national resources to force the Indians to surrender, primarily by attacking & destroying their encampments & property. The Great Sioux War took place under the presidencies of Ulysses S. Grant & Rutherford B. Hayes. The Agreement of 1877 (19 Stat. 254, enacted February 28, 1877) officially annexed Sioux land & permanently established Indian reservations.

The massacre at Wounded Knee Creek was the last major armed conflict between the Lakota & the United States. It was described as a "massacre" by General Nelson A. Miles in a letter to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

On December 29, 1890, five hundred troops of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, supported by four Hotchkiss guns (a lightweight artillery piece capable of rapid fire), surrounded an encampment of the Lakota bands of the Miniconjou & Hunkpapa with orders to escort them to the railroad for transport to Omaha, Nebraska.

By the time it was over, 25 troopers & more than 150 Lakota Sioux lay dead, including men, women, & children. It remains unknown which side was responsible for the first shot; some of the soldiers are believed to have been the victims of "friendly fire" because the shooting took place at point-blank range in chaotic conditions. Around 150 Lakota are believed to have fled the chaos, many of whom may have died from hypothermia.