Eagle Chief, a Pawnee Indian, wears a winged hat with beadwork and feathers, a bearclaw necklace, peace medal and tomahawk in a photo taken by William S. Prettyman in the 19th century.
A Pawnee young couple and child pose for a photo. The design on the cradleboard is unique to the Pawnee and relates to the myth of the morning star.
Thirty photographs depicting Native American culture from more than a century ago are on display at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith as part of the “American Indian Realism” exhibit which runs until Aug. 28.
The free exhibit, which is sponsored by the Oklahoma Arts Council and the Western History Collections at the University of Oklahoma, is located on the west end of the first floor of the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center. Exhibit hours are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Fridays.
The Indian Territory in the late 1800s contained a hodgepodge of people, including Indians who had been removed from America’s borders and non-Indians seeking to claim land and find new opportunities.
To add to the diversity, a small group of entrepreneurs also traveled to the territory: photographers who set out to document the lifestyle of Indians in the area.
The display comprises the photographs taken by those photographers, and the result is a collection chronicling Indian life from 1890 to 1907 that reflects the familial pride and dignity of Native Americans despite the tumultuous times.
The exhibit also contains photographs of iconic characters of the period, including a portrait of Geronimo as he prepares to travel with Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show.
The “American Indian Realism” exhibit tours as part of the Oklahoma Museums Association’s traveling exhibits program. For more information on the exhibit, contact the UAFS Campus and Community Events Office at