Picture of Osceola , a Seminole 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 Seminole Indian is Os-ce-o-lá, the Black Drink, a Warrior of Great Distinction, 1838, Seminole 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.
Information about the Picture
During the 1830s, Osceola led the Seminoles of Florida in their long war against Indian Removal. At war's end, in January 1838, he was imprisoned at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina. When Catlin received a government commission to paint a man of such stature, he closed his exhibition in New York for several weeks to travel there, completing the portrait just in time: almost immediately after the sitting, Osceola died of a throat infection and, in Catlin's opinion, a "broken spirit." The tragedy of Osceola's life and death was not lost on Catlin, but it did not stifle his instinct for profit either. Instead of delivering the picture to the commissioner of Indian affairs in Washington, Catlin added it to his gallery and published lithographs priced at $1.50 apiece.
The Manners, Customs and Conditions of the North American Indians (1832 - 1839)
by George Catlin