Wednesday, April 4, 2018


It's April.  Time to travel to the next state which is Arkansas.  Located in the South, bordering Missouri, Oklahoma, a bit of Texas, Louisiana, Missisppi, and the tip of Tennessee.

The original inhabitants of Arkansas were the Caddo, Osage, and Quapaw Indians.

Here are some paintings of the Osage done by the painter George Catlin.  

George Catlin, painted by William Fisk

Catlin was a fine painter who had a brief career as an attorney before he began his life's work recording Native Americans.  He was inspired initially by his mother who told him stories of her capture by an Indian tribe as a girl, and later by the artifacts brought back by Lewis and Clark.  He visited several tribes and did portraits over a period of many years.

I know George Catlin from his appearance in several Larry McMurtry books.  He was a character in the Berrybender Narratives.  He is also spoken of in the historical novel The Children of First Man, by James Alexander Thomre.  In the 1970 film A Man Called Horse his work is cited as one of the sources for its depiction of Lakota Sioux culture.  His works also figure repeatedly in the 2010 novel Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich.  There he is the subject of the unfinished doctoral dissertation of character Irene America.

During his lifetime he was unable to sell his work to the US Government but now it resides in the Smithsonian among other places including the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology.