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George Catlin
Black Rock, a Two Kettle(?) Chief
1832
oil
29 x 24 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.



Black Rock's headdress of eagle feathers, ermine skins, and horns signifies his status as leader or “war-chief of his band,” the Teton Dakota (Western Sioux). Catlin described Black Rock as “a tall and fine looking man, of six feet or more in stature; in a splendid dress, with his lance in his hand; with his pictured robe thrown gracefully over his shoulders.” To emphasize Black Rock's nobility, Catlin borrowed the stately pose of a Roman senator from antique art. The Teton Dakota now live in South and North Dakota.