Red Cloud quote

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.
- Red Cloud, Oglala Lakota Sioux (1822 - 1909)


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

Cherokee Prayer

help me always
to speak the truth quietly,
to listen with an open mind
when others speak,
and to remember the peace
that may be found in silence.

Cherokee dance, 1897,
associated with the native game of stickball, in North Carolina.
Photograph by James Mooney.

Cherokee boy and girl in costume on reservation, North Carolina.
Photographed by John K. Hillers, Jr., June 1939.



The Zuni people are a tribe of Pueblo Native Americans in the United States.
The name Zuni, in the native language, is A:shiwi; which was previously spelled Zuñi.

“Group of Zuni Indian “Braves,” at their Pueblo, New Mexico.”Expedition of 1873
      Geographical Explorations and Surveys West of the 100th Meridian.
T.H. O’Sullivan, Photographer.
Two Zuni Indian Girls.
1903 photograph by Edward S. Curtis

A Zuni pueblo: "A corner of Zuni",  photograph by Edward S. Curtis.

Zuni history
“Gardens surround the Indian Pueblo of Zuni,
in which are raised a variety of vegetables, such as pepper, onions, garlic &c.”
1873 Expedition Geology of National Parks, T.H. O’Sullivan, Photographer.
Library of Congress
 Archaeology suggests that the Zuni have been farmers in their present location for 3,000 to 4,000 years raising primarily corn, squash, beans, and other vegetables such as peppers, garlic and onions. Their agriculture, with their ingenious systems of irrigation, meant the Zuni could grow the grains maize and wheat. This led to the growth of their population and the development of large pueblos.
See more Zuni images