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Ambrotype portrait of Tak-bi-tsa-kish

Tintype portrait of unidentified Pawnee man

Ambrotype of "Smutty Bear"
about 1858

One of the earliest images of Native Americans
This ambrotype of of Mea-to-sa-bi-tchi-a, or Smutty Bear, a Yankton Dakota, is among the first photographic images of Native Americans. Smutty Bear was part of a large Native American delegation that came to Washington, DC, during the winter of 1857-58. Under duress, members of the delegation signed a treaty that greatly reduced their lands in return for promises of money and provisions that were never fulfilled. This prompted the Sioux Revolt of 1862, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of settlers and the mass hangings of 38 Native Americans.

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