Native American Pictures


Delegations and Government Relations: Among the earliest true portraits of Native Americans are those made of tribal leaders or delegates who visited European capitals and Washington, D.C. for diplomatic purposes. These visits and visitors, as well as Indian-white relations such as treaty negotiations, legal affairs, land claims, and protests, are well documented in lithographs, drawings, studio portraits, posters, and photographic prints.

The Frontier, Villages, and Reservation Life: Away from the confines of the studio, independent and frontier photographers recorded life in Indian communities, on or near reservations where tribes were forced to relocate. The daily activities of many native tribes west of the Mississippi are well documented in historical photographs of domestic life, homes, ceremonies, games, and work of tribal people and their families.
A devout young Crow wearing a prayer shawl, shakes the traditional peyote rattle and holds a feather fan and staff during an all-night ceremony on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana, 1957. Photograph by John Vachon.  
Indian Wars and Confrontations: Since the first encounters, Indian-white relations have been largely characterized by hostility and violence, causing the term "Indian wars" to gain wide currency. Artists portrayed these bloody conflicts, sometimes literally and sometimes imaginatively, in drawings, prints, and in illustrations for popular newspapers and magazines. Because of limited technology, photographers were limited to documenting the grim aftermath of skirmishes, tribal leaders and combatants, battle sites, and other stationary subjects such as forts and military equipment. The Division's holdings reflect the full range of this sort of graphic and photographic documentation.
Although no photographs of the actual massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, exist, George E. Trager was the first photographer to record the burial of the frozen corpses of Lakota Sioux Indians in January 1891  
Federal Government Surveys and Other Expeditions: Some of the most important portrayals of native peoples were produced by artists and photographers accompanying exploration teams into the western parts of the United States, Canada, and Alaska during the 19th and early twentieth centuries. Images in this genre range from fanciful to authentic and include lithographs, stereographs, and photographs, many of which appeared in published reports.
One of the first photographs demonstrating Navajo weaving was taken by Timothy H. O'Sullivan on the federal government's Wheeler Survey in 1873.  
Expositions, World's Fairs, and Wild West Shows: The spectacle of "real Indians" featured in west show performances, anthropological exhibits, and world's fairs attracted artists and photographers who documented staged tableaux and memorialized many of the Native American participants in photographs. Performers are particularly well documented in the Division's collection of studio portraits while the actual shows are represented in other photographs and in posters advertising such attractions.
The Wild West Show became a popular form of entertainment for people east of the Mississippi and in Europe during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Native American performers helped recreate sham battles and performed traditional dances in the productions. Lithograph by Courier Lithographic Company, 1899.  
Pictorialist Photographs: Unlike documentary photographers, pictorialists tended to create romantic, idealized, and aesthetically pleasing images of Native Americans and Indian life, often using soft-focus, artificial settings, and other means of manipulation. Images in this category include more than 2,500 first generation prints created by the most famous and successful pictorialist photographer of Indians, Edward S. Curtis, who documented life among more than eighty North American tribes.
This work is apparently the earliest engraved portrait made from life of a Native American. Drawn and engraved by the Czech printmaker Wenceslaus Hollar, it depicts a twenty-three-year-old Algonquian Indian of Virginia who visited London in 1645.  
Nez Perce Yakima Washington 1911
Pictorialist Photographs: Unlike documentary photographers, pictorialists tended to create romantic, idealized, and aesthetically pleasing images of Native Americans and Indian life, often using soft-focus, artificial settings, and other means of manipulation. Images in this category include more than 2,500 first generation prints created by the most famous and successful pictorialist photographer of Indians, Edward S. Curtis, who documented life among more than eighty North American tribes.
In the 1906 work "Watching the Dancers," Edward S. Curtis photographed Hopi girls on a rooftop of Walpi pueblo.  
 

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Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children
These are stories from the various First Nations. They are well told. Get this for your kids. In an age of instant media, the storyteller's art is one that is timeless, connecting us to our oral past. Make sure that it connects to our future, too.

Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back
The Turtle's shell stand for the 13 cycles of the moon, each with its own name and a story that relates to the changing seasons. Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London collaborate to reveal the beauty of the natural world around us, while Thomas Locker's illustrations honor both Native American legends and the varied American landscape

Brother Eagle Sister Sky
The Earth does not belong to us. We belong to the Earth. The great American Indian Chief Seattle spoke these words over a hundred years ago. His remarkably relevant message of respect for the Earth and every creature on it has endured the test of time and is imbued with passion born of love of the land and the environment

The Talking Earth
Billie Wind lives with her Seminole tribe. She follows their customs, but the dangers of pollution and nuclear war she's learned about in school seem much more real to her. How can she believe the Seminole legends about talking animals and earth spirits?


Snake Tribe Priest

Tlingit Woman (Alaska) Pounding fish

Sioux Native American Tribe

Source:
Library of Congress

 



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