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Ojibwa Portaging Around the Falls of St. Anthony

1835-1836 George Catlin Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 1796 Died: Jersey City, New Jersey 1872 oil on canvas 19 5/8 x 27 1/2 in. (49.7 x 70.0 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.465 Not currently on view

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"The [Ojibwe/Chippewa] . . . were swiftly propelled by paddles to the Fall of St. Anthony, where we had repaired to witness their mode of passing the cataract, by 'making (as it is called) the portage,' which we found to be a very curious scene; and was done by running all their canoes into an eddy below the Fall, and as near as they could get by paddling; when all were landed, and every thing taken out of the canoes, and with them carried by the women, around the Fall, and half a mile or so above, where the canoes were put into the water again; and goods and chattels being loaded in, and all hands seated, the paddles were again put to work, and the light and bounding crafts upon their voyage." George Catlin sketched this scene at the Falls of St. Anthony in 1835. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 51, 1841; reprint 1973)


Ethnic - Indian - Ojibwa

Figure group

Landscape - United States

Landscape - waterfall - Falls of Saint Anthony

Travel - land



paint - oil

fabric - canvas

metal - aluminum - support added