Gorgeous studio portrait of Spotted Hawk, a Cheyenne Indian
August 23, 2020
This studio portrait of Cheyenne Indian, "Spotted Hawk," was taken sometime around 1890, though the exact date is unknown. The photo's estimated date puts it within close range of the Wounded Knee Massacre, and an especially trying time for the Cheyenne and all Native Americans.
Spotted Hawk wears an elaborate costume with an eagle-feather headdress with danglers, bead necklace, kerchief, decorated breechcloth, elaborately quilled moccasins, metal armbands, and finger rings. He holds a rifle.
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He is staring off to the left of the camera, likely at the photographer's direction. The portrait was taken by Christian Barthelmess (1854-1906). Christian was born in Bavaria and immigrated to the United States in the early 1870s. Enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1876, he directed military bands and was an official army photographer. Barthelmess retired from the Army in 1903, but remained post photographer for Fort Keogh until his death in 1906.