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February 28, 2016

31 Rare Photos of Native American Children in the Late 19th Century

The Native Americans were grouped into tribes or nations usually based on the area they lived in and their culture such as their religion, customs, and language. Sometimes smaller tribes were part of a bigger tribe or nation. As best as historians can tell, these tribes were fairly peaceful prior to the arrival of Columbus and the Europeans.

There were hundreds of tribes throughout the United States when Columbus first arrived. Many of them are well known such as the Cherokee, Apache, and the Navajo.

Young children and babies spent all of their time close to their mother. The mother would go about her daily work and chores carrying the baby on her back in a cradleboard. The mother often nursed the young child until it was two or three years old.

Here, below is a collection of 31 rare and interesting vintage portrait photos of Native American children from the late 19th century.

A little girl, 1899

A Sioux boy, ca. 1890s

A young Cheyenne boy, 1895

American Indian girl, possibly Dakota Sioux, 1899

An Apache girl in a tattered dress, 1883

Arapaho boys, 1882

Cayuse twins, October 2, 1898

Cheyenne boy, 1878

Comanche boy, 1890

Comanche children, 1892

Comanche girls, 1891

Hopi children pose outdoors on the sand, Arizona, 1899

Kiowa Boys, 1890

Kiowa children, 1890

Kiowa girl on a horse, ca. 1890s

Lakota girls, ca. 1890s

Little Apache girl, 1894

Little Indian boys, 1898

Makah children pose outside, Washington, 1897

Northern Cheyenne girl, 1885

Oglala child at the Agency, Pine Ridge, South Dakota, 1893

Oglala child at the Agency, Pine Ridge, South Dakota, 1893

Ponca child with a feather headband, Arkansas City, Kansas, 1892

Ponca children traditional regalia, Arkansas City, Kansas, 1892

Two Indian kids wearing bugle beads, 1885

Two Kiowa children, 1892

Ute boy, 1894

Ute children, ca. late 1800s

Winnebago boy, 1866

Young Arapaho girl, 1864

Young beautiful Kiowa girl, 1894


  1. Wonderful photos! How fortunate someone had the foresight to take the pictures. Keeping in mind that the exposure time was lengthy and the subject had to remain still, they are very good, some looked fearful, some comfortable with getting their picture taken, but the last young lady is beautiful, confident and happy. Thank you for allowing them to be seen!

  2. Every proud and regal people. It is a shame what we did to them.

  3. What absolutely beautiful Children, I am a proud grandmother of a Washo Native American toddler named, Victor Joseph❤️

  4. These photos are just stunning. It’s rare to see so many vintage pictures of Native American children. I hope they always keep their culture alive.




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