Essay about North American Indians

Essay about North American Indians

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As the first ethnographer of Indian culture, George Catlin plays a vital role by offering the western eye a glimpse into the “uncivilized” North American Indian culture—both pictorially and textually. Following the Lewis and Clark expedition, Catlin took it upon himself to set out and paint prominent Indian leaders in their traditional attire, as well as to document his experiences through a series of letters. Catlin’s work, North American Indians, stands out as a valuable time capsule for the modern reader.
With the United States rapidly expanding westward, Catlin recognized the urgency required him. He tells us in his second letter, “I have flown to their rescue—not of their lives or of their race (for they are ‘doomed’ and must perish), but to the rescue of their looks and their modes” (11). Clearly, Catlin sees no hope for the survival of the Indians when confronted with imperialism. He goes on to compare the plight of the Indians to that of the phoenix, suggesting that through his efforts, “they may rise from the ‘stain on a painter’s palette,’ and live again upon canva...

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Essay about North American Indians

- As the first ethnographer of Indian culture, George Catlin plays a vital role by offering the western eye a glimpse into the “uncivilized” North American Indian culture—both pictorially and textually. Following the Lewis and Clark expedition, Catlin took it upon himself to set out and paint prominent Indian leaders in their traditional attire, as well as to document his experiences through a series of letters. Catlin’s work, North American Indians, stands out as a valuable time capsule for the modern reader....   [tags: Ethnology, Catlin]

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