Black Hawk Native American - Description and Points of Interest
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 is Black Hawk or Múk-a-tah-mish-o-káh-kaik, Black Hawk, Prominent Sac
Chief, Sauk and Fox tribe. The picture of him raises different points
of interest which increase knowledge and
understanding of Native Indian tribes:
materials have been used to make the clothes /
ornaments or decorations are being worn?
items or accessories is he holding?
image does the picture convey? Intimidating or
Can you identify the group or the region the Native
Indian belongs to?
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
“Black Hawk is the man to whom I have alluded, as
the leader of the ‘Black Hawk war’ who was defeated
by General Atkinson, and held a prisoner of war, and
sent through Washington and other Eastern cities,
with a number of others, to be gazed at.
“This man, whose name has carried a sort of terror
through the country where it has been sounded, has
been distinguished as a speaker or counselor rather
than as a warrior; and I believe it has been pretty
generally admitted that ‘Nahpope’ and the ‘Prophet’
were, in fact, the instigators of the war, and
either of them with much higher claims for the name
of warrior than Black Hawk ever had.
“When I painted this chief, he was dressed in a
plain suit of buckskin, with a string of wampum in
his ears and on his neck, and held in his hand his
medicine-bag, which was the skin of a black hawk,
from which he had taken his name, and the tail of
which made him a fan, which he was almost constantly
Manners, Customs and Conditions of the North
American Indians (1832 - 1839)
by George Catlin