Foot War Party in Council, Mandan

  • George Catlin, Foot War Party in Council, Mandan, 1835-1837, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.458

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“This party was made up of the most distinguished and desperate young men of the tribe, who had sallied out against the [Arikara/Sahnish], and taken the most solemn oath amongst themselves never to return without achieving a victory. They had wandered long and faithfully about the country, following the trails of their enemy; when they were attacked by a numerous party, and lost several of their men and all their horses . . . In this plight, it seems, I had dropped my little canoe alongside of them . . . Seated on their buffalo robes, which were spread upon the grass, with their respective weapons laying about them, and lighting their pipes at a little fire which was kindled in the centre---the chief or leader of the party, with his arms stacked behind him, and his long head-dress of war-eagles' quills and ermine falling down over his back, whilst he sat in a contemplative and almost desponding mood, was surely one of the most striking and beautiful illustrations of a natural hero that I ever looked upon.” (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 1, no. 20, 1841; reprint 1973)

Foot War Party in Council, Mandan
On View
Not on view.
19 5/8 x 27 5/8 in. (49.7 x 70.1 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Western
  • Figure group – male
  • Ceremony – Indian – War Council
  • Ethnic – Indian – Mandan
Object Number
Linked Open Data
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