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March 18, 2021

33 Incredible Portrait Photos of Native Americans in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries

Native Americans, also known as American Indians, First Americans, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, sometimes including Hawaii and territories of the United States and sometimes limited to the mainland.

Portraits of Native Americans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

There are 574 federally recognized tribes living within the US. “Native Americans” (as defined by the United States Census) are Indigenous tribes that are originally from the continental United States, plus Alaska Natives.

The population of California Indians was reduced by 90% during the 19th century—from more than 200,000 in the early 19th century to approximately 15,000 at the end of the century, mostly due to disease. Epidemics swept through California Indian Country, such as the 1833 malaria epidemic.

During the California Gold Rush, many natives also were killed by incoming settlers as well as by militia units financed and organized by the California government.

Since the 1960s, Native American self-determination movements have resulted in changes to the lives of Native Americans, though there are still many contemporary issues faced by Native Americans.

Today, there are over five million Native Americans in the United States, 78% of whom live outside reservations: California, Arizona and Oklahoma have the largest populations of Native Americans in the United States. Most Native Americans live in small-town or rural areas.

Here below is a set of incredible photos from Rick Soloway that shows portraits of Native Americans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

"Curley" a Crow Indian Scout for General Custer

Apache warrior seating and holding a sheathed bow and arrow quiver

Bear Shield

Chief American Horse

Chief Brave Bear

Chief Crazy Horse

Chief Red Whip

Chief Running Bird

Chief White Horse

Frank Hup and son

Iron White Man

Joseph and Susie Good

Judge Bird Head and wife

Little Chief

Long Bull

Lovely Enohet woman

Mountain Chief

Mrs. James Cedar

Mrs. Locke

Pawnee couple, Genoa, Nebraska

Pawnee tribesman, Genoa, Nebraska

Pawnee woman, Genoa, Nebraska

Sioux Indian

Two Strikes, Chief of Sioux Nation, Wounded Knee, SD

Unknown Native American Indian with ornate headdress

Unknown Native American with an ornate headdress

Woman in traditional dress

Wounded Bear, Wounded Knee, SD

Young American Indian mother and her baby

Young Chiricahua Apache woman in native dress

Young Kiowa (Kiawah) woman in native dress

Young Native American man with a rifle standing next to a seated Caucasian man wearing a hat

Young Native American woman


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