Edward Curtis
Shows As He Goes, half-length portrait, circa 1905
Photographic print
43 x 30.5 cm
Image courtesy of Library of Congress

 

Years after the frontier battles that made the Apsaroke (Crow) Nation famous, Chief “Shows As He Goes” sat for this photographic portrait by Edward S. Curtis.
The image displays Curtis’ remarkable ability to fashion portraits incorporating traditional elements of dress and distinctive aspects of his sitters’ personalities. Moved “to form a comprehensive and permanent record of the important tribes of the United States and Alaska that retain to a considerable degree their . . . customs and traditions,” before they vanished, Curtis labored for 30 years to produce his 20 volume work “The North American Indian.”
The end of the Civil War ushered in a renewed national interest in westward expansion — spurred by the discovery of oil, gold, and the construction of a transcontinental railroad. Tensions quickly grew between the U.S. government, anxious to bring the north and south together through infrastructure programs, and Native American federations still adjusting after their forced removal to western reservations. Many native leaders became famous for their bravery, eloquence, and diplomacy during this period.

 

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