Friday, 6 February 2015

Red Cloud and American Horse

Red Cloud and American Horse
This photograph was taken in 1891 by the Grabill Portrait and View Co., Deadwood S.D. 
(South Dakota). The image is of two Native Americans 'Red Cloud' and 'American Horse' , The overall symbolism of the image is of the infusion of Native Americans with that of 19th century US civilized culture. The image shows how far the Native American has had to submit (either voluntarily or not) to the control of the 'white man'. The setting of the image is that of a clear or plain landscape with the two Natives  stood in front of a traditional native tee-pee, this along with the wearing of a native feather headdress by 'American Horse' are a clear identifier of native efforts to maintain a cultural identity , However, the extensive western style attire worn by 'Red Cloud',  (i.e. hat, jacket, trouser) as well as the wearing of items that show the conversion of certain natives to accepting western technologies i.e. revolver and a time piece/pocket watch. additionally the positions held by the subjects are more subtle in the representation of cultural conversion , the symbolic 'hand shake' portrays how native have also adopted modern customs. 

However, the symbolism of this photo is deliberately exacerbated to promote inter-culture relations in the US at this time, (1891), as the photo was taken by a independent photograph company, in a non-frontier region the image is heavy set to promote greater submission by the native to US cultural dominance 

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