Ambrotype portraits of unidentified Native Americans, c. 1850s/1860s

chubachus

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 27, 2014
Messages
1,231
Location
Virginia
#1
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Man named "Su-rit".

Almost no information is provided with these. Could they have been taken during the Civil War? What is the medal (peace medal?) and eagle insignia Su-rit is wearing on his hat? Is the hat insignia this US M1855 eagle (?): http://www.horsesoldier.com/products/relics/11540

From the National Museum of American History.
 

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diane

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Messages
20,361
Location
State of Jefferson
#7
The Peace Medals are very interesting. The man wearing one is a chief of the Chippewas. The Minnesota regiment made up of the Chippewa served with distinction, and wore the medals to affirm their loyalty to the US and that they were separate from the Dakota troubles. These medals were given out by American presidents beginning with George Washington, which followed a British tradition of giving similar medals to tribal head men. My few greats uncle Pine Tree had a British silver gorget that was buried with him and later dug up by ghouls - it was located some years ago in a museum in North Carolina and returned to the Catawba tribe. Curiously, the tribes valued these gorgets more than the medals - the reasoning was the British didn't make a lot of promises but when they did, they kept them. Americans...not so much! These medals are also similar in purpose to the Lincoln canes much valued by the Pueblos. Each pueblo had received a cane of peace from Spanish and Mexican authorities to symbolize their independence, and Lincoln continued the practice.
 

chubachus

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 27, 2014
Messages
1,231
Location
Virginia
#8
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"This ambrotype portrait 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, D.C., 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. This photograph is one of a series a of portrait daguerreotypes made of Native American chiefs while they crossed the country to meet with US Government officials in Washington, D.C. When passing through St. Louis, Missouri, these chiefs were photographed by Thomas Easterly and John Fitzgibbons."

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