menu American Art Home Catlin Home Highlights from the Catlin Exhibition Campfire Stories with George Catlin: An Encounter of Two Cultures Catlin Shop Press Information
empty space
empty space empty space empty space empty space
Viewer Prefs small type large type empty space

4 of 34
Previous | Next

Kee-món-saw, Little Chief, a Chief, 1830
29 x 24 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Little Chief, a Kaskaskia, was one of Catlin's first subjects in the West. Little Chief was not, however, a member of a western tribe, as his dark suit, white shirt, and cravat suggest. Well before Congress passed the Indian Removal Act in 1830, the government had entered the business of removing eastern tribes from their ancestral lands to reservations west of the Mississippi. The Kaskaskia had already ceded their land in Illinois and were living south of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, when Catlin made his first western tour in 1830. Catlin described Little Chief as "half-civilized, and, I should think, half-breed," the result of more than a century of contact between the Kaskaskia and European traders.

American Art Home | Catlin Home
Virtual Exhibition | Catlin Classroom
Shop | Press