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La-kée-too-wi-rá-sha, Little Chief, a Tapage Pawnee Warrior

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. 1985.66.102 Not currently on view


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George Catlin probably painted these images of Pawnee chiefs and warriors at Fort Leavenworth (in today’s Kansas) in 1832. He later described the tribe as: “A very powerful and warlike nation, living on the river Platte, about one hundred miles from its junction with the Missouri; laying claim to, and exercising sway over, the whole country, from its mouth to the base of the Rocky Mountains. The present number of this tribe is ten or twelve thousand; about one half the number they had in 1832, when that most appalling disease, the small-pox, was accidentally introduced amongst them by the Fur Traders, and whiskey sellers; when ten thousand (or more) of them perished in the course of a few months . . . The Pawnees have ever been looked upon, as a very warlike and hostile tribe; and unusually so, since the calamity which I have mentioned.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 34, 1841; reprint 1973)

Keywords

Ethnic - Indian - Pawnee

Ethnic - Indian - Tapage

Portrait male - Little Chief

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added