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Háw-che-ke-súg-ga, He Who Kills the Osages, Chief of the Tribe

1832 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 29 x 24 in. (73.7 x 60.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.122 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, East Wing

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George Catlin described He Who Kills the Osages as “an old man” wearing a “necklace of grisly bears’ claws, and a handsome carved pipe in his hand.” The name of Kills the Osages is redolent of the history of his tribe as well as his own battle achievements. A century before Catlin’s arrival in the West, the Missouria controlled the fur trade on the river that bears their name; their dominance, however, was under constant assault from the Osages, who eventually won. By the time Catlin met this elderly war chief, the Missouria, much reduced in power and number, had joined with the Otoes. Catlin probably painted this image at Fort Leavenworth (in today’s Kansas) in 1832. (Catlin, 1848 Catalogue, Catlin’s Indian Gallery, SAAM online exhibition; Gurney and Heyman, eds., George Catlin and His Indian Gallery, 2002)


Dress - ethnic - Indian dress

Ethnic - Indian - Missouri

Portrait male - He Who Kills The Osages - bust

Recreation - leisure - smoking


paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added