Osceola , a Seminole 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 of the Seminole Indian is Os-ce-o-lá,
the Black Drink, a Warrior of Great Distinction,
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.
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.
Manners, Customs and Conditions of the North
American Indians (1832 - 1839)
by George Catlin