Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sioux Man

Today's picture is from 1900, and shows a Sioux Indian man. The picture was taken by Gertrude Kasebier, who took a number of portraits of Native Americans.


  1. What an excellent strong photo.
    He is sitting there with his peace pipe that has a tress of hair attached to it. Now, it is hard to say if it is horse hair or human hair, but I would almost think it is human hair.

  2. early american crackpipe?

  3. Hardly a crack pipe my friend. I don't know much about these pipes so I figured I'd research a little. These pipes were used in relgious ceremonies or to seal a covenant or treaty. They filled them with a herbal tobacco or herb mix native to the area. The smoke was very harsh so they didn't usually inhale. It's called a calumet which is what the Normans called it when they first saw them in the early 1600's. I'm not sure what the Native American term is. I don't know much about them so maybe someone has more info or can correct me if I'm wrong. I do know that calling it a "crack pipe" as the previous blogger joked is an insult.

  4. Dave, you are correct about the insult. The Lakota name is Canupa (Chanupa). They would use red willow bark or tobacco in them. The Canupa is considered a sacred object.

  5. These are all wonderful pictures of the Indians relatively soon after their "defeat' by the white man. I met a number of Souix Indians when I was stationed in South Dakota in the late 60's.

    By that time they were a poverty ridden people who fought against whiskey and isolation from main stream life. These conditions, no matter why they developed as they did, left the ones I met bitter and without hope. The challenge had gone out in their eyes.

    Recently I visited some pueblos in New Mexico and saw some improvement in the Indian life. Job training seems to be the best hope for the young Indians willing to adapt to the regulations of the business community. I hope their lives continue to improve.

  6. Just a sidelight to the Apsaroka Indian comments of yesterday.

    The Apsaroka are a Crow Indian originally a part of the Gros Ventre tribe that split and migrated to the Rockies in Montana.

    I come from a small town, Absarokee, Montana that at one time was a reservation headquarters for the Apsaroka tribe. A great web site for their history can be found at

    Some great history..

  7. I agree with RTD, a very strong photo. Beautiful!

  8. Thank you for identifying the photographer! I have always known of Kasebier as a photographer of mothers with their children. She made a name for herself by making "painterly" photos. I had no idea she did studies of native americans as well.

  9. Beautifully clear photograph. I just wish the subject weren't in such a sterile-looking environment (as studio, by the look of it). I prefer photos of people in their own environments.

    Why is it that so many people refer to Native Americans as though they were all gone, as though they all only existed in the past? There are many, many still existing, still living, still breathing. Some are very poor, some have made it 'out' of poverty and are doing fine.

    (By the way, my comment is not meant as a criticism to anyone).

  10. " the daughter" squaxin island Washington stateDecember 8, 2016 at 2:53 PM

    He was most likely a chanupa carrier, holder for the people who walk the red road. These people carried the weight of all the prayers and thoughts that are put upon the pipe while it is in their hands. All those thought and prayers stay with the chanupa"peace pipe" and the holder carries the weight of the people through the chanupa. A huge responsibility due to the fact that they are born to be the carrier at birth..the chanupa is used in many ways and there are several carriers.anything done in a good way is rite, and anything done the rite way is good.ALL MY RELATIONS NAH-TAK-WE-AH-SEI


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