Snowshoe Dance at the First Snowfall

  • George Catlin, Snowshoe Dance at the First Snowfall, 1835-1837, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr., 1985.66.451

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“The snow-shoe dance . . . is exceedingly picturesque, being danced with the snow shoes under the feet, at the falling of the first snow in the beginning of winter, when they sing a song of thanksgiving to the Great Spirit for sending them a return of snow, when they can run on their snow shoes in their valued hunts, and easily take the game for their food.” The details were probably sketched at Fort Snelling (in today’s Minnesota) in 1835, but George Catlin never saw the dance performed in winter. (Catlin, Letters and Notes, vol. 2, no. 51, 1841, reprint 1973; Truettner, The Natural Man Observed, 1979)

Snowshoe Dance at the First Snowfall
On View
Not on view.
19 1/2 x 26 7/8 in. (49.5 x 68.2 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Ceremony – dance – Snowshoe Dance
  • Ethnic – Indian – Ojibwa
  • Ceremony – Indian
  • Western
  • Figure group – male
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI