Arikara men, part of the Arikara tribe, were known for their prowess as hunters, warriors, and skilled craftsmen. They exhibited resilience, leadership, and a solid connection to their cultural heritage. Here we see six of them standing in a row, rattling and chanting a sacred hymn during a medicine ceremony in 1908. The Arikara take their name from mimicking buffalo horns by placing two bones on either side of their head and wrapping them in hair.
The migration of the Sioux and the westward advance of American pioneers saw the Arikara face a devastating blow to their livelihood. Generational conflict with the Sioux saw the Arikana driven out of their homelands, and smallpox ravaged the small community when European traders made contact with them.
Dakota Man With Calumet
When French missionary Jacques Marquette encountered the calumet, commonly known as the peace pipe, he wrote, “There remains no more, except to speak of the Calumet. There is nothing more mysterious or more respected among them.
It seems to be the God of peace and of war, the Arbiter of life and of death.” The calumet was pivotal in sealing contracts between tribes and tribespeople for millennia. A smoking bowl was carved out of a hard, red rock known as catlinite. A long stem would then be attached to the bowl in order to draw smoke from the burning tobacco.
In the radiant desert landscape of the southwestern region of North America and northern Mexico, three women, most likely belonging to the Qahatika nation, return with their bounty of Hansen fruits. Hasen is a fleshy, pear-like fruit that grows on the saguaro cactus in the southwestern region of North America and northern Mexico.
The second woman's carrier is known as a “kiho” and was particular to the Qahatika. The Hansen fruit is sweet and can be eaten fresh or dried. The Pima – relatives of the Qahatika – is known for making syrup and a fermented drink from it.
Bullchief Crossing Shallow Rapids
Venerated Apsaroke chief Bullchief guides his trusty steed through a river in this 1905 picture taken by Edward S. Curtis. Bullchief’s history is a true hero’s journey. His early career as a Crow warrior saw him earn no honor from warfare, and he returned home after each raid or battle empty-handed.
After a period of intensive fasting, Bullchief began to see visions that he would later credit with bestowing him with military might. At the time, “counting coup” was a form of enemy surrender that earned the highest praise, and Bullchief prided himself on holding the record.
Hopi Women Grind Corn
A Hopi woman looks up into the camera flash as she grinds corn alongside her three compatriots. Hopi women were easily identified by their distinctive hairstyles, which was unique and different than all other tribe women's styles. The well-defined circular hairstyle is known as the “squash blossom whorl” or “butterfly whorl.”
Unmarried maidens were The only Hopi women who wore their hair in this style. In order to achieve the creative whorl, the maidens’ mothers would tightly wind their hair around a circular piece of wood. Once the wood was removed, the ends of the hair would be tucked in place, and the shape would remain.