The Cultural Dilemma of Native Americans

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The Cultural Dilemma of Native Americans
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The Cultural Dilemma of Native Americans
In this painting by George Catlin titled “Assinneboine Chief before and after Civilization” it shows a very proud Assinneboine Chief standing straight and proud. His clothing expresses his Indian culture as he is dressed in leggings and shirt made of mountain goat skin, and finished with a pictured robe of buffalo hide over his right shoulder. Moccasins covered his feet and his tribal headdress decorated his head allowing his long hair to blend with the feathers of his headdress. In his left hand is his long pipe which he would smoke with those with whom he would want to make peace. The background which is painted in a lighter hue then the opposite side of the painting reveals a dirt road which leads to the capitol building in Washington, suggesting that the Chief is traveling to there with peaceful intentions. The only green in the painting is the landscape surrounding the Capitol building. Could this be to show the wealth of those who lived there, to depict that the grass may be greener on the other side? When he returned to the northern plains of his people Chief Wi-jún-jon looked nothing like that proud Indian chief who journeyed into Washington to meet with President Andrew Jackson some 18 months earlier. (Smithsonian American Art Museum). He stepped ashore in what appeared to be a colonel's military blue uniform complete with epaulettes of gold, a sash and belt, broad sword and high-heeled boots. (Catlin) A blue umbrella in his left hand and a paper hand fan in his right, his pockets are filled with jugs of whiskey and a tobacco cigarette has replaced his long pipe; which is nowhere to be seen. In the background lies the village to which he is returning the artist has painted this side in a darker hue perhaps depicting his thoughts on how this Assinneboine Chief has been refashioned to adapt to the “white man” ways. The only thing that remains...
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