Picture of Pawnee Native American - Description and Points of Interest
The name of the artist is George Catlin (1796-1872). The picture, depicting traditional dress, provides the opportunity to study the culture and clothing of this Native American Indian. The name of the Native Indian in the picture of the Pawnee Indian is translated as 'Brave Chief' who was of the Skidi or Wolf Pawnee tribe. The picture of him raises different points of interest which increase knowledge and understanding of Native Indian tribes:
What materials have been used to make the clothes / headdress?
What ornaments or decorations are being worn?
What items or accessories is he holding?
What image does the picture convey? Intimidating or friendly?
Can you identify the group or the region the Native Indian belongs to?
The title we have given the picture reflects the name of the tribe, for ease of identification.
Description of the Picture
The artist of this painting, George Catlin, wrote the following to accompany this picture:
“A very powerful and warlike nation, living on the river Platte, about one hundred miles from its junction with the Missouri; laying claim to, and exercising sway over, the whole country, from its mouth to the base of the Rocky Mountains. The present number of this tribe is ten or twelve thousand; about one half the number they had in 1832, when that most appalling disease, the small-pox, was accidentally introduced amongst them by the Fur Traders, and whiskey sellers; when ten thousand (or more) of them perished in the course of a few months... The Pawnees have ever been looked upon, as a very warlike and hostile tribe; and unusually so, since the calamity which I have mentioned.” George Catlin went on to describe Brave Chief as having “impressions of hands painted on his breast.”
The Manners, Customs and Conditions of the North American Indians (1832 - 1839)
by George Catlin