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Quarter plate, hand-colored ambrotype of a Dakota Indian seated in a studio setting, wearing a feather head dress and wrapped in a blanket, with a quiver, bow and arrows extending from beneath the blanket. Housed in full pressed paper case. Ca mid 1850s.
The subject is probably Mdewakanton, a Dakota tribe located in the immediate area around Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN. Photographers working in the area at this time include B.F. Upton and Joel Whitney, although there is no indication that either made ambrotypes. The absence of a sacred pipe indicates that the subject is not a chief. The quiver, bow and arrows make him an "everyman," though his carefully coiffed hair suggests a family of high status. He may have been a scout for an early expedition in Minnesota, who was photographed at the insistence of an officer who wanted to remember him, perhaps someone stationed at Fort Snelling.
A rare and desirable ambrotype portrait of a Dakota Indian.
Our sincere thanks to Mike Cowdrey for providing information regarding this image.
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