Two Sac and Fox Braves

Sac and Fox Nation
Title: Attendees of the 1898 Indian Congress : Two Little Braves (Sac & Fox)
Creator: Frank A. Rinehart (1861-1928)
Date created: 1898-1899
One of the prominent Indian tribes in Illinois were the Fox and Sacs (Sauk)
Description: Rinehart, a commercial photographer in Omaha, Nebraska, was commissioned to photograph the 1898 Indian Congress, part of the Trans-Mississippi International Exposition. More than five hundred Native Americans from thirty-five tribes attended the conference, providing the gifted photographer and artist an opportunity to create a stunning visual document of Native American life and culture at the dawn of the 20th century. Although the portraits are posed and artistically lighted in his studio, they have a candid intimacy that allows his subjects individuality and dignity, a quality not shared by most 19th-century ethnographic photography.
Rinehart printed the photographs as platinum prints, a photographic medium known for its delicate tonal range and permanence.

Sac and Fox Nation: The Meskwaki (sometimes spelled Mesquakie) were called Fox by Anglo-Americans and name Sauk was anglicised to Sac. They were two distinct tribes from the Northeast woodland area with a similar languages and culture.  It was not until 1734 that the Sac and Fox tribes joined in an alliance and extended westward beyond the Mississippi. Under US government recognition treaties, officials treat the two tribes as a single political unit.
The Northeastern Woodlands (dark green) includes
the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada

"The Sac and Fox culture is based upon respect for the life within themselves, their families, their communities, and all of creation. The Creator gave this way of life to the Sac and Fox people. The culture is the way things are done in relation to each other and all of creation. The Sac and Fox way of life is spiritually-based. They seek the guidance of the Creator in how to live. The oldest continuing religious practices are ceremonies like clan feasts, namings, adoptions, and burials." Sac & Fox Nation

1857 photograph of the "Mesquakie Indians responsible for the establishment of the Meskwaki Settlement" in Tama County, Iowa, Minnesota Historical Society.


Big Thunder of the Wabanaki

quote by Big Thunder native american indian

The Great Spirit is in all things: he is in the air we breathe. The Great Spirit is our Father, but the earth is our mother. She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Bedagi

Bedagi, also known as Big Thunder was a Penobscot (traditionally known as the penawahpskewi) Wabanaki Algonquin.

Bedagi or big thunder
 Big Thunder, late chief of the Penobscot Indians. Aged 90.
From Penn Museum: A Visit to the Penobscot Indians  

"Towering in height and personality, Frank “Big Thunder” Loring, Penobscot, (1827-1906) was a leader among Wabanakis who commercialized their public identities to make a living. Loring was a performer, producer, and promoter of “Indian entertainments,” and his name appeared in dozens of newspapers across New England, especially Maine.
Off stage, he was a hunter, guide, medicine man, and tribal leader. Clever in the marketplace, he boosted sales of Wabanaki relics and crafts by telling captivating stories about the objects and himself." Mount Desert Island

The term Wabanaki, which has been translated as “People of the Dawn” or “Dawnlanders,” arose during the 1700s to refer to the Wabanaki Confederacy of tribes that had banded together for military and political strength. Wabanaki is now used as an umbrella term for all the Native peoples on the Maritime peninsula (Maine, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island) and the Abenaki peoples of Quebec, Vermont and New Hampshire.
Abenaki should not be applied as an umbrella term for all the tribes – use Wabanaki. Abenaki refers to the Native peoples of Vermont and New Hampshire who do not have federal status in the U.S. [but do have state status in Vermont] and to the Abenaki Tribe with reserves in Quebec.
In Maine, there are 4 federally recognized Indian Tribes. These are:
a. The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians
b. The Aroostook Band of Micmacs c. The Penobscot Indian Nation
d. The Passamaquoddy Tribe


Red Cloud quote

native american quote by Red Cloud

I am poor and naked, but I am the chief of the nation.
We do not want riches but we do want to train our children right.
Riches would do us no good. We could not take them with us to the other world.
We do not want riches. We want peace and love.


Chief Iron Tail, Oglala Lakota chief of the Great Sioux Nation

Chief Iron Tail, 1898,
photo by Gertrude Kasebier,  U.S. Library of Congress
Chief Iron Tail was one of the most famous Native American celebrities of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Iron Tail (Siŋté Máza in his language) was an Oglala Lakota chief.(1842 - 1916)
Indian Head Nickel, 1913

Iron Tail is notable in American history for fighting at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876, his profile on the Buffalo nickel or Indian Head nickel of 1913 to 1938 and being a performer with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

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Major Israel McCreight, expert on Native American culture and friend of Iron Tail, reported: "Iron Tail was not a war chief and no remarkable record as a fighter. He was not a medicine man or conjuror, but a wise counselor and diplomat, always dignified, quiet and never given to boasting. He seldom made a speech and cared nothing for gaudy regalia, very much like the famed War Chief Crazy Horse. In this respect he always had a smile and was fond of children, horses and friends."

Chief Iron Tail in Long Bonnet



The Cherokee refer to themselves as Ani-Yunwiya (ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ), which means "Principal People. "Cherokee Indians originally called themselves Aniyunwiya, "the principal people," but today they accept the name Cherokee, which is spelled and pronounced Tsalagi in their own languages.
The traditional Cherokee society is matrilineal and therefore one’s clan is obtained through the mother. Other examples of tribes based on kinship with the mother or the female line include the Choctaw, Gitksan, Haida, Hopi, Iroquois, Lenape, Navajo and Tlingit.
The Cherokees lived in the southern Appalachian Mountains known in Georgia as the Blue Ridge, including much of the Blood Mountain.

Map of Cherokee Indian territory 1830
1830 Map of Georgia with detail showing the Cherokee territory
by Anthony Finley Co. of Philadelphia
They spoke an Iroquoian language, while most of their indigenous neighbours spoke languages of the Muskogean, Algonquian, or Siouan language families.

They were close allies of the British for much of the eighteenth century trading tools, weapons, and other manufactured goods for their deerskins. They easily took on the English clothing and traditions.

Cherokee native american indians
The Three Cherokees came over from the head of the River Savanna to London in 1762.
From l to r: Outacite (Man-killer), Austenaco (Judd's friend), and Uschesees ye Great Hunter (Cunne Shote?)

Source: Tom Hatley, The Dividing Paths: Cherokees and South Carolinians through the Era of Revolution (Oxford University Press, 1993).


Chief Joseph and family

Description by museum: This photograph is historically significant and has great human interest as well. It may be the only extant copy in existence of F. M. Sargent's cabinet card of Nez Perce Chief Joseph and his family in Leavenworth where they were exiled from 1877 to 1885.
Chief and his band of Nez Perce lived peacefully in the Wallowa Valley of Eastern Oregon until 1877 when the U.S. government decided to move the band to a small reservation in Idaho. When General O.O. Howard threatened a cavalry attack, a few dissatisfied warriors raided a settlement and killed several whites. Fearing retaliation, Joseph fled with his band of 700 men, women and children in a retreat towards Canada that covered 1400 miles. They finally gave up 40 miles from the Canadian border where Joseph uttered the famous words "From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever."
Curator's statement: Look into Chief Josephs's face. What was he thinking and feeling at that moment? I believe this photograph is one of the most revealing portraits in our collection. You can see great dignity, pride, intelligence, and sadness in Joseph's face and body language as well as tension, and perhaps some anger. - Elaine Miller

a sacred place to the Nez Perce Tribe
Wallowa Lake and Wallowa Mountains in Oregon, USA.
Wallowa Lake in the Nez Perce National Historical Park which is part of the ancestral homeland of the Nez Perce Tribe, and is a sacred place to the Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. "Iwetemlaykin" is the Nez Perce name for this area of the Wallowa Lake basin. Pronounced ee-weh-TEMM-lye-kinn, the name translates to "at the edge of the lake."


Ojibwe women and children

Ponemah, Roland W. Reed, 1908
Ojibwe woman with papoose
Papoose Pack-a-Back, Roland W. Reed, 1908
Ojibwe Indian
A 1908 Roland Reed photo of an Ojibwe woman tapping for maple syrup
Ojibwe Indian by Roland Reed
Chief's Daughters, Roland W. Reed, 1908
Ojibwe Indian by Roland Reed
Everywind, Roland W. Reed, 1907

All of these photographs are the work of Roland W. Reed, in 1907 and 1908 and published in the book Alone with the Past: The Life and Photographic Art of Roland W. Reed, in 2012.


Native american indian musical instruments

 Apache native american indian instrument
Chasi, a Warm Springs Apache musician playing the Apache fiddle, 1886.
Photo by A. Frank Randall
Chasi, an Apache musician, playing the "Apache fiddle" a single stringed instrument made from the tubular century plant. Chasi is from Chíhéne (Tchi-he-nde), also known as the ‘Red Painted People’, known as Warm Springs Apache Band. He was Bonito's Son, the Chiricahua chief. (see Chiricahua Apache americans) 

Native Americans considered music to be a gift from the Creator. Popular instruments were drums, rattles made from gourds or horn or turtles, drumsticks, rasp, whistle, bullroarer, and flutes. The apache fiddle is a rare instrument among other native American tribes besides Apache.
rattle made from turtle

Apache Bull Roarer
Apache Bull Roarer (tzi-ditindi, "sounding wood")
J.W. Powell, Director - Ninth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution 1887-'88. Washington, D.C. 1892

 Water drums, used by Iroquois, Navajo, Cherokee, Creek, and Apache, contained some water to create a unique sound. They were considered sacred drums.
native american indian water drum
Water drum
The Ojibwa, Ottawa and Pottawatomii called them midegwakikoon.

They were usually made by hollowing out the middle of a wooden log and tightening a wet animal hide over the opening and attaching it to the drum which had some water inside. Each drum created a unique sound because the amount of water varied. Wyandot and Seneca/Cayuga traditionally used a groundhog skin (daˀyęh) for the drum covering and other tribes used deer skin or other hides.
Peyote Drummer by Edward S Curtis 1927
Peyote Drummer by Edward S Curtis 1927

Native American Indian with Headdress and Drum
Native American Indian with Headdress and Drum; image shows Native American Indian dressed in traditional costume and playing drum. SOURCE Calisphere
Native American Indians plays a flute
Thurlow Lieurance with three Native American Indians, one of whom plays a courting flute
Dayton C. Miller Photograph Collection
Library of Congress, Music Division, Washington
Provenance: Thurlow Lieurance, Lincoln, Nebraska, 29 May 1922.


Thomas Edison produced these films in his Black Maria studio New Jersey in 1894.  The Native Americans performed the buffalo dance at the studio, so in that sense it is 'staged', but the date is authentic - 24th September 1894.

  • Native American Music
  • Depasquale, Paul; Eigenbrod, Renate; and Larocque, Emma; eds. (2009). Across Cultures/Across Borders: Canadian Aboriginal and Native American Literatures, unpaginated. Broadview.
  • Nichols, John D. (1995). A Concise Dictionary of Minnesota Ojibwe, p.88. U of Minnesota.


Nez Perce boy

Nez Perce boy photograph
Title: Nez Perce boy, Colville Indian Reservation, Washington, ca. 1903.
Photographer Latham, Edward H. Studio Location United States-Washington (State)-Nespelem.
Notes: Young boy stands outside on blanket. He wears feathers and decorations in his hair, long shirt over leggings, beaded moccasins, necklaces, bracelet, vest, and leather pouch attached to belt. A sash with ornaments is draped across his chest.


Cree Beliefs and Spirituality

Cree native american indian beliefs
Images part of the Canadian Copyright Collection held by the British Library, and digitised as part of the "Picturing Canada" project.

Realize that we as human beings have been put on this earth for only a short time and that we must use this time to gain wisdom, knowledge, respect and understanding for all human beings, since we are all relatives. – Cree proverb

The Cree, is a North American indian tribe that was prominent in the past and now the largest First Nations group in Canada, with a thriving Algonquin language.

The Cree are a race with strong spiritual values that are imbedded in their culture and the respect they have for others and the earth.

The concept of Mother Earth in the Cree worldview is about the interconnectedness of all things - not just the earth and humans but also all of the animals, plants and minerals. They believe that all living beings and some inanimate objects have spirits or "manitowak"

They speak of a "Great Spirit"  - misimanito - that is part of all activities in life and an "Evil Spirit" - macimanito-w.

Through dreams and visions, Cree secure the help of powerful spirits in activities such as hunting. Feasts and dancing are held following successful hunts.
The primary Cree values are:
  1. Wâhkôhtowin – kinship
  2. Mîyo wîcêhtôwin – getting along together
  3. Mâmahwohkamâtowin – working cooperatively
  4. Manâtisiwin and manâhcihitowin – respect for self and respect for each other
  5. Pîkiskwêstamowêwin – speaking on behalf of others
  6. Kiskinwahasimôwêwin – accepting guidance
  7. Kiskanowapâhkêwin – a keen sense of observation
  8. Nanahihtamowin – obedience, to listen with an open heart
  9. Kisêwâtisiwin – compassion, loving kindness
  10. Tâpwêwin and kanâcisowin – honesty and clean living
  11. Wîcihitowin – sharing
  12. Okihtowihiwêwin – generosity
  13. Tapâtêyimisôwin and êkakistêyimisowin – humility
A. W. Gelston - This image is part of the Canadian Copyright Collection held by the British Library, and has been digitised as part of the "Picturing Canada" project. 1913.
  • Handbook of North American Indians. Vol. 6, Subarctic. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution. 1981.
  • Cree Language and Culture 9Y Guide to Implementation (4–6) 2009 Alberta Education, Canada.
  • WIKIPEDIA: images