Encampment of Piekann Indians near Fort McKenzie on the Muscleshell River

Encampment of Piekann Indians near Fort McKenzie on the Muscleshell River

Karl Bodmer (1809-1893). Encampment of Piekann Indians near Fort McKenzie on the Miscleshell River. Hand-colored lithograph, Plate 97. McKenney, Thomas L. & Hall, James. History of the Indian Tribes of North America. Philadelphia: F.W. Greenough, 1838-1844.
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This plate is a reproduction of an aquatint which first appeared as Tableau 43 in the atlas to accompany Maximilian, Prinz von Wied's Travels in the Interior of North America..., published in German, French and English editions, 1839-1843.  It is based on sketches and watercolors, most of which Bodmer executed during a visit to Fort McKenzie in the summer of 1833.  The fort, operated by the American Fur Company, was actually located on the Missouri River near the Mouth of the Marias River, not far from present-day Fort Benton, Montana.  The Piekann or Piegan are a branch of the Siksika or Blackfeet Nation.  Bodmer was a consummate draftsman and the details revealed in this image make it a superb historical document.  For example, the differing sizes of the tipis reveal the relative social status and material well-being of the occupants.  The original sketches and watercolors on which this image are based are in the Maximilian-Bodmer collection at the Joslyn Art Museum and The Ayer Collection at The Newberry Library.