Monday, January 28, 2013

Iroquois Medicine Men

On September 30, 2013 I did a major revision to both the text and images in this blog posting to correspond with an article I wrote for Whispering Wind Magazine on the same topic (volume 42, #1, 2013). This posting also has additional images that space constraints would not allow in the published article.
Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Participation in 19th Century Medicine Shows
On the back of a recently discovered image, the subjects are identified as “Running Antelope and family, Warm Spring Indians, from Galion, Ohio” (figure 1) (the Warm Spring Indian Reservation is located in Oregon). In at least one other image of Running Antelope and his family (figure 2), they are identified as Mohawks from Caughnawaga, (today called Kahnawake) near Montreal. Their clothing, which is idendical in both images, and the motifs depicted in their beadwork would also suggest that they are Mohawks.  The inked note on the back of figure 1 is faded and it appears to be from the period; so why was this Iroquois family identified as Warm Spring Indians? The answer to this intriguing question is veiled in the history of patent medicines.
Figure 1 – Cabinet Card, 4.5 x 6.5 inches. Circa 1890. Identified on the front as Running Antelobe (sp) and Family. Period note on the back reads: “The Warm Spring Indians, Galion, Ohio. Running Antelope and family.” Both sides shown. Private collection.

Figure 2 – Cabinet Card, 4.5 x 6.5 inches. Circa 1890.  The subjects are identified on the back, in a period note, as Running Antelope, Caughnawaga [Kahnawake] Indian Sharpshooter. Photographer: E.J. Potten, Mansfield, Ohio. Both sides shown. Private collection.

     The story of patent medicines begins in seventeenth century England with the Crowns’ issue of a patent for Anderson’s Scots Pills. The inventor, a Scottish doctor named Patrick Anderson, claimed he got the recipe in Vienna. He subsequently relinquished the formula to his daughter who later conveyed it to a Dr. Thomas Weir, in 1686, who produced and sold the tonic as a laxative (Dary 2008:244).
     English patent medicines found their way to the New World with the first colonists, but these early settlers soon discovered it was cheaper to make them here, rather than import them from Europe, so a home-spun, American patent medicine industry was born. This was facilitated by the fact that few Americans trusted doctors, many of whom still used implausible treatment methods such as purging and bloodletting. In a new country, with few trained doctors, self-medication for practically every illness known to man was a way of life that few questioned.
     In 1715, a patent for distilling corn was issued to Thomas and Sybilla Masters. In addition to purifying the corn, their petition indicated that “…the said Corn so refined is also an Excellent Medicine in Consumptions & other Distempers” (Armstrong and Armstrong 1991:159).  They received a license for the first “patent” or over-the-counter medicine in America and it had the distinction of being called Tuscarora Rice.
     By the mid-nineteenth century most drug stores, many of which were owned and operated by doctors with questionable credentials, had generous supplies of elixirs on hand that claimed to cure ailments such as dysentery, malaria, small pox, yellow fever and consumption (tuberculosis of the lungs). This was the heyday for patent medicines in America and the countryside was replete with peddlers hawking remedies that claimed to cure virtually every ailment known to man. Between 1865 and 1900, hundreds of traveling salesmen were touring the country selling patent medicines. In an effort to attract crowds and spur interest in the sale of their products, they began providing entertainment with their offerings and the “medicine show” was born (figure 3 and 3a).  They were a garish fusion of carnival-like entertainment and sales pitch. The pitchman was often surrounded by performers drawn from the circus, traveling theater troupes and minstrel shows. Before radio, movies and television, these medicine shows were a leading form of entertainment in both urban areas and remote towns across America.  Alarmingly, they were also the foremost providers of health care.
Figure 3 – Oversized cabinet card of an Indian Medicine Show in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 5 inches high by 8 inches wide. Late nineteenth century. The stage was for the firm’s pitchman, who extolled the virtues of their products. The second man from the left is holding a small, rectangular box, as is the young boy seated in the foreground. This was likely the Indian remedy or tonic they were hawking. The dress style of the lady on the far right helps us to date this image.  The skirt is draped in pleats, asymmetrically to one side, in a style that was popular for a short time between 1887 and 1888. Photographer: C.M. Fowler & Co., Albany, New York. Private collection.

Figure 3a – Cabinet card, 4.5 x 6.5 inches. Circa 1890. Displayed is the main tent of the Oregon Indian Medicine Company. No location indicated.  Private collection.

Through most of their history, patent medicines enjoyed a free-flowing existence. No government agency required that medicine makers prove their tonics were effective or even safe. No law stopped them from listing on the labels or in advertisements whatever “cures” happened to be in fashion at the time, or required a list of ingredients or warnings on the labels (Armstrong and Armstrong 1991:160).
     These shows were fueled by advertisements that contained unproven claims and the use of scare-tactics was common. One particular ad for Ka-ton-ka, a blood, kidney, liver and stomach medicine, included a long checklist of symptoms for kidney disease such as: “an unusual desire to urinate at night; appetite alternately ravenous and meager; acid, bitter taste, with furred tongue in the morning; intense pain, upon sudden excitement, in the small of the back; indescribable crawling feeling up and down the back with extreme nervous irritability; annoying and perplexing loss of memory, even of common things,” were among the twenty-two manifestations included in the advertisement. It went on to state that “any number of the above symptoms, which too long neglected, will certainly terminate in Bright’s disease… (described by modern medicine as acute or chronic nephritis). Delay, therefore, in removing the above symptoms is exceedingly dangerous. They are the commonest order, and their very commonness encourages fatal neglect” (Edwards 1884:32).  
Figure 4 – Trade Card for Kickapoo Indian Remedies, 2.75 inches wide by 4 inches long.  Both sides shown. 1880s-1890s. Many of the Indian trade cards from the late nineteenth century depicted scenes of Indian life, battles, etc. suggesting their products came from a healthful and vigorous people. Private collection. 
     Every print medium was used to promote the company’s products such as trade cards (figure 4), handbills, posters, newspapers, magazines, etc.  A late nineteenth century handbill for Dr. S. P. Townshend’s extract of Sarsaparilla reinforced the notion that no embellishment or distortion of the facts was too farfetched; no statements about benefits or cures too outrageous. It claimed that his tonic was “The wonder blessing of the age and the most extraordinary medicine in the world!” It unabashedly went on to describe how
The great beauty of the superiority of this Sarsaparilla over all other medicines is, that while it eradicates the disease, it invigorates the body… It not only purifies the whole system and strengthens the person, but creates new, pure and rich blood; a power possessed by no other medicine, it has performed within the last three years, more than 150,000 cures of severe cases of disease; at least 20,000 were considered incurable (Armstrong and Armstrong 1991:166).
     Americans wholeheartedly believed that Indians had a deep knowledge of natural medicine and were skilled in its use.
One facet of the infatuation with the Romantic West reflected that Indian life illustrated by Longfellow in “Hiawatha.” As a Child of Nature, the American Indian was Learned in Nature’s Secrets, fathoming mysterious herbs and roots, capable, through Nature’s Direction, of controlling disease and thereby leading a ridiculously healthy existence (Clark and Clark 1971:vii).
     Populations in the East in particular, believed in the efficacy of Indian medicines and unscrupulous promoters capitalized on this. Firms that incorporated an Indian theme in their medicine shows had the most success.
     Company representatives had to present at least the perception of authenticity in merchandising their products, especially if they were hawking purported “Indian Medicines.” Non-Indian enactors who performed in these events had to look and dress like Indians as many popular products had indigenous or Native American sounding names.  Products such as Allen’s Indian Blood Corrector, Dr. Seneca’s Gall Remedy, Dr. Roger’s Indian Fever Cure, Aztec Pile Cure and Dr. Kilmer’s Indian Cough Cure Consumption Oil claimed to ameliorate cancer, syphilis, kidney disease and a host of other ailments. These were just a few of the thousands of remedies that were offered for sale with names that implied they were an indigenous cure for practically any illness known to man.
     The medicine shows were the forerunners of the Wild West shows and The Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company and the Oregon Indian Medicine Company were two of the largest. They chose a different approach to selling and took the medicine shows to another level by including actual Native performers who were paid, on average, $30 a month for their services (figure 5). Native people were employed by these outfits to demonstrate Indian life which gave the company’s patent medicines an air of authenticity.  Many product advertisements claimed that their “medicines” were “MADE BY INDIANS; USED BY INDIANS, AND SOLD BY INDIANS.”
Figure 5 – Cabinet card, 4.5 x 6.5 inches. A group of Iroquois medicine show entertainers. Period inscription on the back of the card reads: Caughnawaga [Mohawk] Indians with the Kickapoo Medicine Company. Season 1891. R.W. Telford, Manager. Private collection.
     One of the founders of the Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company, Texas Jack Bigelow, claimed to have been nursed back to health, from a deadly prairie fever, by a medicine prepared by the Native family that found him.  He alleged that they shared the formula with him for a remedy that was made from rare ingredients that were difficult to acquire and hard to prepare. In reality, Bigelow’s Segwa tonic was simply a mixture of mundane herbs, roots, aloe, baking soda, sugar and of course alcohol (a primary ingredient in many patent medicines), all purchased from a pharmaceutical firm. It wasn’t the ingredients that made this tonic famous; it was the promotion and the patent medicine companies were very good at this.
Figure 6 – Small pamphlet advertising the products of the Kickapoo Medicine company. An illustration of the fictional “Bright Eyes” appears on the cover. Private collection.
     The Kickapoo’s founders even created a brand for themselves in the form of an Indian princess by the name of Bright Eyes (figure 6).
Healy and Bigelow were masters of image and promotion. As devotees of the great Barnum, they followed many of his practices, such as decorating every inch of the building and adopting a mascot. Unlike Jumbo [Barnum’s elephant], the Kickapoo mascot required no upkeep – she was fictional. Her name was Little Bright Eyes, an Indian princess who appeared in the company’s literature. Healy and Bigelow played the exotica card for all it was worth, publishing countless ads, pamphlets, and magazines built around the romantic Indian who was in perfect harmony with the environment, never got an illness he couldn’t cure, and was the physical and spiritual superior of the white man (Anderson 2000:63).
     The fictional Bright Eyes no doubt spurred real life counterparts (figure 7). In this image of a group of Mohawks, both women have the name Bright Eyes beaded along the bottom of their dresses. In a circa 1894 image from the Library of Congress collection and illustrated in Trading Identities, by art historian Ruth Phillips, a similarly dressed woman is posing with a troupe of Mohawk entertainers from the St. Regis [Mohawk] Indian Show Company. Phillips writes that
the photograph documents the semiotic complexity characteristic of clothing worn in touristic performances. While the crown-like headdress worn by the woman refers to the standard Indian princess image, the prominent tree of life on the skirt pictures and preserves a key symbol of Iroquois cosmology and oral traditions (Phillips 1998:15).
     In both photographs, the women are wearing comparable dresses that have a variation of the “tree of life” motif, and in at least one other photograph of the Bright Eyes troupe, they are identified as Mohawks.
Figure 7 – Cabinet card, 4.5 x 6.5 inches. Possibly a group of Akwesasne Mohawk entertainers from the Saint Regis Indian Show Company. Both women have “Bright Eyes” beaded along the bottom of their dresses. Private collection. 
     Healy and Bigelow were accomplished promoters and they got the greatest showman of their day, Buffalo Bill, to endorse their most famous product. He was quoted in advertisements claiming “Kickapoo Indian Sagwa... is the only remedy the Indians ever use, and has been known to them for ages. An Indian would as soon be without his horse, his gun or blanket as without Sagwa,”
     The Bigelow Society indicates that the Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company
claimed over eight hundred employees by the late 1880's. Alas, the actual Indians were never Kickapoos but primarily Eastern tribes like the Iroquois and tribes from the West like the Sioux, Blackfoot, and Cherokee. A few were hired from reservations, as was done by Cody, and some were enticed away from Buffalo Bill's Wild West.

     Company representatives traveled ahead of the show to a target city, with advance publicity, to stir up interest in an upcoming event. Rallies were held in front of drug stores to promote the company’s products and special displays were set up in store windows with posters and a sampling of the company’s remedies. There were usually Indians on hand at these events to ensure the authenticity of the company’s products (figure 8). In this image, a young Indian family is standing before Hurds Pharmacy in Fairfield, Maine. Behind them is a display of Indian beadwork, suspended across the storefront window, perhaps offered for sale as a way for them to earn extra income? There is also a poster for the Kickapoo tonic, Segwa in the lower right hand corner of the window.
Figure 8 – Real Photo Post Card, 3.5 x 5.5 inches. Circa 1910.  A young Indian family standing in front of Hurd’s Pharmacy in Fairfield, Maine. On another postcard of this same family group and in front of this same store, they are identified as Chief Big Thunder and Princess Talikeno and daughter, Lightning Talikeno. Talikeno was possibly Iroquois. Text on the back of the card indicates that they “had entertainments and advertised Kickapoo remedies.” A poster for Kickapoos’ Indian Segwa, a blood, liver, stomach and kidney renovator, is seen in the lower right hand corner of the store window. Private collection. 
     Once a show came to town, a typical performance ran for about two hours and it didn’t follow any particular format (figure 9).
On the bill could be displays of marksmanship, broad ethnic comedy steeped in rough stereotypes, magic, stunts and acrobatics, dancing, or perhaps a strongman. Entertainments would make up about two thirds of the show. The performers worked on a stage with a runway into the crowd and a canvas backdrop with painted scenes of nature and life among the Native Americans. On the lip of the stage might be glass jars with repulsive-looking tapeworms suspended in clear liquid. The huge worms, said to be removed from prominent local citizens, were actually purchased from stockyards. Tapeworm expellers–need it be said?–were big sellers (Armstrong and Armstrong 1991:177).
     In another cabinet card that depicts Iroquois performers in these medicine shows, the seated child on the right is holding a box containing a bottle of Kickapoo Segwa, the company’s most popular patent medicine (figure 9a). It’s hard to see in the image but the box has the word SEGWA across the top.  I’ve often wondered if these old photos were done as advertisement for the Wild West and Medicine show promoters because images like these gave them at least an air of authenticity since they had real Indians working for them. This also suggested to their patrons that their patent medicines were authentic as well and made by the Indians, a totally fabricated notion of course.
Figure 9 - Cabinet card, 4.5 x 6.5 inches. Circa 1890. A group standing before a stage display for the Kickapoo Indian Medicine company. Based on the clothing and beadwork style, the three individuals on the far left may be Iroquois. No photographer or location indicated. Private collection.

Figure 9a – Cabinet card, 4.5 x 6.5 inches. Circa 1890. A group of Iroquois performers, possibly Akwesasne Mohawks, working for the Kickapoo Medicine Company. The child seated at the right is holding a package containing a bottle of Segwa, the company’s most popular patent medicine. Photographer: Dorge, Minneapolis, MN. 
     There were star performers on the Medicine Show circuit. One such individual was Nevada Ned Oliver. As the manager and head scout of the Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company he was usually seen wearing buckskins, a fancy, wide-brimmed hat and long hair. During a typical performance he would introduce the company’s troupe of Indians to the crowd, and it was reported that they would acknowledge him with nothing more than a grunt. When the final Indian appeared on stage, he delivered an oration, in his Native language, which Nevada Ned interpreted. Typically, Ned’s translation described how the Indian medicine they were offering to the crowd had saved the lives of untold numbers of Native people. After the sales pitch was delivered, the Indians would move about the crowd to sell the company’s remedy.
     Nevada Ned Oliver once admitted that he had never been within 2000 miles of Nevada. In addition to his job as show manager, he was also a trick shot and in his spare time he wrote crime novels.
Oliver was also honest enough to laugh at himself. As the manager (Indian agent) of the Kickapoo show, Oliver was supposed to translate the speeches, given in various Native American languages… But, as he later wrote, “what the brave actually said, I never knew, but I had reason to fear that it was not the noble discourse of my translation…” (Armstrong and Armstrong 1991:180).
     Quite a few nineteenth century photographs have survived that depict Native people who were involved in these medicine shows and in many of them the subjects are Iroquois (figures 10 and 11). 
Figure 10 – Cabinet card, 4.5 x 6.5 inches. Circa 1890.  The subjects are identified on the back as Mohawks. Photographer: A. B. Comstock, Waverly, New York. Private collection.

Figure 11 – Cabinet card, 4.5 x 6.5 inches. Circa 1890. The subjects are identified on the back as Seneca. Photographer: Chas. Latham, Bradford, Pennsylvania. Bradford was located just a few miles from the Seneca Reservation in Salamanca, New York. Private collection.
     The 1892 New York State census indicated that the use of traditional medicine practices among the Iroquois had almost disappeared by this date and that many were now involved in the medicine shows.
The days of the old “medicine man” have passed away. Young men from each of the reservations including Chief Philip T. Johnson, of Tuscarora, are “travelling men” for so-called Indian medicines, and make themselves welcomed and successful through the prestige of their Indian character and good address (Donaldson 1892:50).
      This same statistical study also listed 20 Mohawks from Akwesasne as traveling show men and no doubt there were many more from Kahnawake, in Canada, who were not included in the New York census.
     Not only were the Iroquois performing in the medicine shows, but some of them were involved in the direct sales of these medicines. The Department of Indian Affairs in Ottawa, Canada, reported that the Mohawk from Kahnawake were “engaged in the extensive manufacture of beadwork …  [and] in 1903 several residents of Caughnawaga were making good profit by selling patent medicines in Canada and the United States” (Department of Indian Affairs 1967:19).
Figure 12 – Circa 1890 advertising photograph for the patent medicine Ka-Ton-ka. 4.5 x 6.5 inches. Portrait of Chi-la-kaw, Wounded Wolf, an Iroquois working for the Oregon Indian Medicine Company. Both sides shown. Private collection.
     Another interesting image from the same period (figure 12) holds the key to the significance of many of these old images. The subject, identified as Chi-la-Kaw, is wearing an Iroquois style yoke or collar and his headpiece has Mohawk elements to it yet he is posing for the Oregon Indian Medicine Company which was located just a short distance from Seneca Reservation in Salamanca, New York.
     The Oregon Indian Medicine Company was founded by Colonel Thomas Augustus Edwards who was born in 1832 in Saugerties, New York. By his twenty-third birthday, he was already on a career in the entertainment business when he became the manager for the Spaulding and Roger's Circus.  At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was hired by the government to track down blockade runners. He was captured and held prisoner for a time and carried out a daring escape. Towards the end of the war, he became a government scout and in 1866, during the Snake War, he travelled to Oregon. It was on this campaign that he met the Cayuse scout, Donald McKay (figure 13).
It was in Oregon that Edwards learned about Indian medicine through Dr. William C. McKay, one of four sons of Alexander McKay… McKay was a physician to the Indians. His brother, Donald McKay was a prominent scout and Indian fighter. Both men had Indian wives. Both McKays returned east with Colonel Edwards about 1874, taking with them a party of Warm Spring Indians. Edwards and the Indians toured Europe and then New England demonstrating Indian skills and customs. In 1876 he took the Indian show to the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. It was there that he began selling Indian medicines (Dary 2008:259).
     In a circa 1888 advertising booklet for the Oregon Indian Medicine Company (OIMC) titled Luk-Cay-Oti – Spotted Wolf, one page is devoted to their celebrated manager, along with a general description of the origins of his company and the preparation of its products.
Figure 13 - Stereoview (circa 1873) of Donald McKay, captain of the Warm Spring Indian scouts during the Modoc War (1872-1873). Photographer: Louis Heller, Yreka, California. Private collection.
Warm Spring Indian Show
Col. Edwards has seen much of frontier life, and is perhaps the best posted man on Indian life, Indian customs and habits in this country. He has been the Manager of the Lava Bed Heroes since 1876; and their great success in selling their Medicines is largely due to his skilful and energetic management…The Warm Spring Indians never employ white performers to give their exhibitions. By this one feature alone the public can know the imitators. The standing figure of Donald McKay is on every bottle of Ka-Ton-Ka, printed in colors on a white wrapper. The ingredients of Ka-Ton-Ka are all gathered by the Warm Spring Indians in Oregon and Washington Territory. They prepare them in their own peculiar manner; and no druggist can duplicate that simple Indian preparation from his extensive stock of drugs, and all his experience and knowledge combined. If the white people could only enjoy the splendid heath of the Indian, what a happy race they would be; what money they could save in doctor’s bills, and what misery they would avoid (Edwards c1888:5).

     The OIMC was originally based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and their principal cure-all was a tonic called Ka-ton-ka.  In 1882, the company moved to Corry, Pennsylvania and was in full operation by 1885.
     Edwards claimed his business partners in this venture were the McKays from the Warm Spring Reservation, in Oregon. Donald McKay worked for both the US Army and the Bureau of Indian Affairs as the captain of the Warm Spring scouts during the Modoc War (1872-73).  His success in this endeavor earned him a good deal of publicity and fame with the public. He eventually left his life as a government scout and embarked on a career in both the Medicine shows and Wild West shows.  McKay’s step-mother, Isabelle Montour, was Iroquois and during the 1880s, he and his wife (Susan) and daughter (Minnie) toured the country promoting products for Edwards and the Oregon Indian Medicine Company.
     Edwards took advantage of McKay’s notoriety and used the old Indian scout’s likeness in many of the company’s advertisements. Although their operation was not as extensive as that of the Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company, they did have several shows touring the country at the same time. 
     Around 1888, Edwards published a list of the Indians that toured with him in his medicine shows.
        Names of the Indians Comprising this Troupe.
Donald McKay’s Heroes of the Lava Beds. Indian Warriors, Indian Squaws, Indian Papooses, Indian Braves, Indian Interpreters, Indian Children, Indian Trailers [Trackers], Indian Scouts. Chief American Horse, Tribal Chief.  Ae-Le-Ta or Dove Wing and Papoose. Scar-Face Bear, Great War Chief. Spotted Wolf, Pawnee Athlete. Ka-Kos-Ka, Medicine Man. Swift Runner, over 80 years old. Oc-A-La, Good Woman. Kaw-Sha-Gans, Red Wild Cat. Red Leaves, Half Breed Interpreter. Fluttering Willow, the Mother Squaw. Sul-Te-Wan, Bright Sun. Wi-Ne-Mah, Mountain Bird. These Indians have been traveling twelve years, two years of which they spent in Europe. Their Entertainments consists of the Manners, Habits, Customs, and Ceremonies of a Race of People once powerful, now nearly extinct (Edwards c1888:7).
     Many of the same names appeared in a late-nineteenth century advertisement that was posted in the Altoona Tribune, an Altoona, Pennsylvania newspaper (figure 14). The ad was taken out by the Oregon Indian Medicine Company to advertise the upcoming appearance of the Warm Spring Indians in Altoona. The announcement indicated that the Indians would perform at the Opera House and their Indian medicine men would be curing patrons, free of charge. The Indian’s were presumably doing this with the company’s patent medicines. A number of the Indians listed in the Altoona advertisements were Iroquois as I will point out below.
Figure 14 – Replica of an advertisement that appeared in the Altoona Tribune around 1885-1890. This was an Altoona, Pennsylvania newspaper that was advertising an appearance of the Warm Spring Indians at the Opera House. Original from the collection of John Odell.
     In 1886, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show played on Staten Island, in New York and the Oglala chief American Horse (figure 15) had replaced Sitting Bull as the Indian star of the show. That winter Buffalo Bill’s troupe also performed at Madison Square Garden (Scarangella McNenly 2012:25).  The Altoona Opera House advertisement indicates that American Horse would be appearing in Altoona and the Luk-Cay-Oti booklet mentions that he was a member of the Oregon Indian Medicine Company.  Did Colonel Edwards somehow entice American Horse to leave Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show to perform in his medicine show?  It’s not likely. As the Oregon Indian Medicine Company grew, Edwards hired more Native entertainers and his company’s proximity to the Seneca Reservation, in Salamanca, New York may have provided a ready resource of Iroquois representatives or a gateway to other Iroquois reservations.
Figure 15 – Studio portrait, 7 x 9 inches. 1898. This is the American Horse who toured with Buffalo Bill in his Wild West show. Photographed at the U.S. Indian Congress of the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition in Omaha, 1898. Photographer: Frank A. Rinehart (ca. 1862-1928) or his assistant Adolph F. Muhr (ca. 1858-1913). Private collection. 
     During this period, the entertainment business played an important role in the lives of many Native people as it provided them with another means to earn a living. It was also important for another reason; the Wild West and Medicine shows were a way for Native people to maintain many of their traditions. The Office of Indian Affairs (OIA) together with Indian schools such as Carlisle (as well as the church run residential schools in Canada), discouraged Indian participation in these events because they believed the shows were counterproductive to their assimilation efforts.  Show promoters on the other hand encouraged these performances as they were good for business. For the Indians, it was a way to openly engage in their traditional dances and ceremonies, thereby overtly circumventing the work of the churches and the OIA. Kahnawake Mohawks in particular had a good deal of experience in the entertainment business and show recruiters sought them out because “people there were well suited to the industry and participated willingly” (Scarangella McNenly 2012:104-105).
     Chi-la-Kaw, pictured on the advertising card in figure 12, is listed on the Opera House advertisement. Dove Wing, a sharpshooter from Kahnawake, is also slated to appear. In the Luk-Cay-Oti booklet she is described as
…one of the prominent features of this show… Her voice is a marvel. She produces those sweet, plaintive, melodious cadences, so peculiar to her race. When the troupe are singing their – wild and weird songs – the voice of Dove Wing can be heard like the rippling of water, soothing and modifying the wild tones into musical harmony (Edwards c1888:13).
     Dove Wing is pictured in several nineteenth century cabinet cards and in at least two of them she is depicted with American Horse and Scar Face Bear (figure 16 and 17). 
Figure 16 – Cabinet Card, 4.5 x 6.5 inches. Circa 1890. Depicted from left to right: Scar Face Bear, American Horse and Dove Wing, Mohawks from Kahnawake. Photographer: Smith and Hodson, St. Mary’s, Ohio. Private collection. 

Figure 17 – Cabinet Card, 4.5 x 6.5 inches. Circa 1890. The individuals depicted are Angus Montour (1851-1928), aka American Horse and his wife Dove Wing. Although American Horse was christened Angus, his Mohawk name was Twanietanekan, meaning the Two Snow Hills. He was a notable Mohawk chief who took part in several European tours with a Wild West Show.  Several years after the death of Dove Wing he was at The Hague, in the Netherlands, with a troupe of Indian entertainers, where he met Johanna Elisabeth van Dommelen. They fell in love and before long they were married. Afterwards he moved back to Kahnawake with his new bride (Altena 2009). Seated beside him in this image is his first wife, Charlotte “Sara” Beauvias, aka Dove Wing. She died in 1902. Photographer: Keethler, from Cynthiana, Kentucky. Private collection.
She was American Horse’s wife (Edwards c1888:1) and in both images she is wearing the same under dress with the identical border design along the bottom and her facial features are identical. The American Horse she is depicted with clearly not the same chief who participated in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show (figure 15).
     The American Horse that Dove Wing is depicted with is the Mohawk deer clan chief Angus Montour. Other identified images of him confirm this. Considering his promotional skills, it’s quite possible that Col. Edwards gave Angus Montour the name American Horse so that he could take advantage of the Oglala chief’s notoriety. 
     Scar Face Bear, who is wearing a wide-brimmed hat in figure 16, is also depicted in figure 18 wearing the same hat. The Luk-Cay-Oti  booklet describes him as a Warm Spring Indian.
Scar Faced Bear, hero of the Lava Beds, [his exploits in the Modoc War are described in the Luk-cay-oti booklet although they are not presently verifiable ] is a Warm Spring Indian. While he is ignorant of the lore learned from books, he has learned much from the great teacher, Nature, and in plain forest and mountain craft he is unexcelled. He is an unerring shot, a splendid trailer [tracker], a good horseman, and possessed of an abundance of that cool courage so essential to an Indian. In the course of his career he has passed through adventures of the most startling and hazardous description, though he rarely speaks about himself, and what we have learned of his history was gleaned by dint of much questioning in conversations around the camp-fire. Physically he is a splendid specimen of manhood. His body is covered with scars received in battle; he is tall, broad-shouldered, deep-chested, and as strong as a mountain lion (Edwards c1888:18).
          Even though he is described as a Warm Spring Indian on the back of figure 18, in reality, Scar Face Bear was also a Mohawk entertainer from Kahnawake and he has descendents that are living there today. 
Figure 18 – Carte-de-visite, 2.5 x 4 inches of Scar Face Bear (both sides shown). A period note on the back reads: “Scar-Faced-Bear. Accurate rifleman and celebrated war-chief. Ashland, Ky. July 1886. Of the Warm Spring Tribe.” This suggests that he was working for the Oregon Indian Medicine Company. His name can also be seen beaded onto his yoke. Private collection.
     Along with American Horse, Chi-la-Kaw and Dove Wing, the Altoona Opera House advertisement also list’s Kaw-shaw-gan, (the Red Wild Cat). The Luk-Cay-Oti booklet has a fanciful and perhaps somewhat apocryphal characterization of him.
Kaw-Shaw-Gance or Red Wild Cat.

Kaw-Shaw-Gance, or Red Wild Cat, is a full blooded Indian of the Warm Spring tribe of Indians, whose reservation is located in Crook County, Oregon. He was one of the seventy-one who were employed by the Government to conquer the Modocs in 1873. He distinguished himself as a warrior, brave, fearless and persevering. The conquering of Capt. Jack and his hostile band was due to the courage, cunning and subtlety of Warm Spring Indian scouts. Red Wild Cat was foremost in his zeal and ambition to show the soldiers what stuff he was made of, and he received personal recognition from Gen. Davis, to whom he turned over some of the prisoners that he had captured. He has been traveling with the Indians, introducing their Indian Ka-Ton-Ka for several years. He is a valuable exponent of the rights of the Indians, and represents manners, habits and customs of his race. He exhibits in his appearance on the stage the characteristics that distinguished him during the Modoc war – bravery, dash and courage (Edwards c1888:10).
     The following narrative describes the birth of the character Red Wild Cat and reveals that he was not a Warm Spring Indian as Edwards claimed but rather an Iroquois. In an 1889 account of the exploits of William Glazier, John Owens writes that:
At one time he [Glazier] joined another eccentric character named Tom Lolar, an Indian of the Seneca tribe, whose lands in the long ago of Indian history bordered the blue waters of Lake Seneca in central New York. This peculiar pair proceeded to electrify certain rural communities in their immediate neighborhood with huge posters, announcing that on a given night:
Kaw-shaw-gan-ce, or The Red Wild Cat, The Great Chief of the Walaitipu Indians, now traveling for the benefit of his tribe, proposes to exhibit to an enlightened public the trophies won by his braves, in their battles with other ferocious tribes beyond the Rocky Mountains, and the Great Chief will likewise give an exhibition of the WAR DANCES OF HIS NATION.
Accordingly, upon the night in question, Tom Lolar, as “Kaw-shaw-gan-ce,” and Henry Glazier as ticket agent, reaped such an excellent harvest that the latter concluded to start a “live Indian” upon his own account (Owens 1889:51).
     Tom Lolar no doubt invented Kaw-Shaw-Gance for the purpose of entertaining audiences and the financial remuneration that ensued. Col. Edwards alleged that he participated in the Modoc War and the capture of Captain Jack but that is presently unverifiable. He was most likely the individual described as the Warm Spring Kaw-Shaw-Gance on the Altoona Opera House advertisement and in the Luk-Cay-Oti booklet. Edwards did this no doubt to bolster his case that all of his entertainers were from out west and therefore more exotic than if he claimed they were from a local tribe. In an engraving of Kaw-Shaw-Gance in the Luk-Cay-Oti booklet, his attire has many Iroquois elements to it, including a jacket that is quite similar to the one on the man in figure 11, complete with beaded collar and cuffs in the Iroquois style (Edwards c1888:10). 
Figure 19 – Cabinet card, 4 x 5.8 inches. 1880-1890. Louisa Stump was born on May 5, 1868 of Iroquois parents from Kahnawake. She was an expert shot and traveled with the Kiowa Medicine Company for a time. She also worked with several other shows during that period. She was known to her friends as Rosy Gordon. Buffalo Bill Cody called her "The Prairie Flower" when she worked for him. She also awed the crowds with her trick shooting under the name "Texas Lillie". Her picture appeared in the National Police Gazette on July 26, 1890, where she challenged all "wing shots" in the world (wing shots were experts at shooting birds in flight).  Louisa died in the 1940s. Posed in this image with her husband, Louis Belmont Newell. Private collection.
     Prairie Flower, (figure 19) is not listed in the Luk-Cay-Oti booklet but she is featured in the Altoona Opera House advertisement. Louisa Stump (born in 1868; died in the 1940s), aka Prairie Flower, aka Texas Lillie, was a Mohawk from Kahnawake. She was a sharpshooter who worked with several Wild West and Medicine Shows during her entertainment career, among them Buffalo Bill’s and the Kiowa Medicine and Vaudeville Company of Steamburg, New York, which was located just a short distance from the Seneca Reservation in Salamanca. She was married to Louis Belmont Newell, aka Rolling Thunder, that at least one source identifies as Wabanaki.
     The photographic and written record indicates that entire Indian families worked and travelled together in both the Medicine Shows and Wild West shows. Native performers, photographed in their best regalia, were making statements of their identity, even if these images were taken to promote the company and convey an air of authenticity on the medicine shows and their patent medicines.
     So this brings us back to the original Mohawk image of Running Antelope and his family (figure 1). Why were they identified as Warm Spring Indians? It’s clear that they, along with many other Iroquois, were working for the Oregon Indian Medicine Company.  It’s not likely the general public had a personal interest in the specific tribal origin of the company’s representatives; their interest was in the company’s patent medicines and the entertainment value of their shows. Since the company’s advertisements always claimed their representatives were Warm Spring Indians, the public more than likely regarded all the Indians that worked for them as such, hence the note on the back. 
     In a letter by Donald McKay to his half-brother Dr. William McKay in Oregon, he admits that whenever he encountered people asking about the veracity and efficacy of the company’s Indian medicines that
I tel them that you git the old wemen to gather the ruts [roots] and dry it and you send it to me and they all think it so (Clark 1971:xiv).
     Perhaps the most revealing comment about the efficacy of patent medicines comes from the founder of the Oregon Indian Medicine Company himself. In his later years, Col. Edwards, “with creaking joints, maneuvered himself in a barber chair,” when a local resident of Corry, Pennsylvania asked: “Why not take some of your own medicine?” The old colonel replied: “That ain’t made to take. It’s made to sell” (Clark 1971:xix).

If you have an interest in Northeast Woodland beadwork you might find my book of interest. Titled: A Cherished Curiosity: TheSouvenir Beaded Bag in Historic Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Art by GerryBiron. 
Published in 2012. This is a brand new, hard cover book with dust jacket. 184 pages and profusely illustrated. 8.5 x 11 inches. ISBN 978-0-9785414-1-5.
Since the early nineteenth century, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) beaded bags have been admired and cherished by travelers to Niagara Falls and other tourist destinations for their aesthetic beauty, detailed artistry, and the creative spirit of their makers.  A long neglected and misunderstood area of American Indian artistry, "souvenir" art as it's come to be called, played a crucial role in the subsistence of many Indian families during the nineteenth century. This lavishly illustrated history examines these bags – the most extensively produced dress accessory made by the Haudenosaunee – along with the historical development of beadworking both as an art form and as a subsistence practice for Native women.
In this book, the beadwork is considered in the context of art, fashion, and the tourist economy of the nineteenth century. Illustrated with over one hundred and fifty of the most important – and exquisite – examples of these bags, along with a unique collection of historical photographs of the bags in their original context, this book provides essential reading for collectors and researchers of this little understood area of American Indian art.


References Cited:
Altena, Marga
2009    “The Lady and the Indian: Representing an Inter-ethnic Marriage in Dutch and Canadian News Media (1906-1928).” Published in the International Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue international d’├Ętudes canadiennes 38.

Anderson, Ann
2000    Snake Oil, Hustlers and Hambones – The American Medicine Show. McFarland & Company, Publishers. Jefferson, NC.
Armstrong, David and Armstrong, Elizabeth
1991    The Great American Medicine Show, Being an Illustrated History of Hucksters, Healers, Health Evangelists and Heroes from Plymouth Rock to the Present. Prentice Hall, New York.

Clark, Keith and Donna
1971    Daring Donald McKay or The Last War Trail of the Modocs. Oregon Historical Society, Portland, Oregon.

Dary, David
2008    Frontier Medicine from the Atlantic to the Pacific, 1492-1941.  Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

Department of Indian Affairs (DIA)
1967    Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development – Indians of Quebec and the Maritime Provinces (An Historical Review). DIA, Indian Affairs Branch, Ottawa, Canada.

Donaldson, Thomas
1892    The Six Nations of New York – Cayugas, Mohawks (Saint Regis), Oneidas, Onondagas, Senecas, Tuscaroras. Eleventh Census of the United States. Robert P. Porter, Superintendent. Extra Census Bulletin. Indians. Washington, D.C. United States Census Printing Office.

Edwards, Col. T.A.
1884    Daring Donald McKay, or the Last War-Trail of the Modocs. The romance of the life of Donald McKay, government scout, and chief of the Warm Spring Indians. Third Edition. An advertising booklet published by The Herald Printing and Publishing Company, Ltd. Erie, PA.
c1888  Luk-Cay-Oti - Spotted Wolf. An advertising booklet published by the Oregon Indian Medicine Company, Corry, PA.

Odell, John
1997    Indian Bottles and Brands. Published by the author.

Owens, John Algernon
1889    Sword and Pen; or Ventures and Adventures of Willard Glazier (the Soldier-Author) in War and Literature: Comprising Incidences and Reminiscences of his Childhood; his Checkered Life as a Student and Teacher; and his Remarkable Career as a Soldier and Author; Embracing also the Story of his Unprecedented Journey from Ocean to Ocean on Horseback; and an Account of his Discovery of the True Source of the Mississippi River, and Canoe Voyage Thence to the Gulf of Mexico. P.W. Ziegler & Company, Publishers. Philadelphia.

Phillips, Ruth B.
1998    Trading Identities – The Souvenir in Native North American Art from the Northeast, 1700-1900. University of Washington Press, Seattle and London. McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal and Kingston.

Scarangella McNelly, Linda
2012    Native Performers in Wild West Shows from Buffalo Bill to Euro Disney. University of Oklahoma Press.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Wabanaki Beadwork - Part 2

Follow this link to Part 1

      Wabanaki beaded bags from the mid-nineteenth century often employed bilaterally symmetrical designs that are relatively linear in their execution and incorporated limited areas of solid bead fill (figure 18). The inverted keyhole shape is occasionally encountered during this period and examples often include the double-curve motif.  Early bags that were beaded over paper patterns are not known to exist. Empirical studies indicate that like the Haudenosaunee, the earliest Wabanaki bags had linear designs and no areas of solid bead fill. The paper patterns appear to be a feature found on later bags and for the most part on the vase or inverted keyhole-shaped examples.
Figure 18 – Beaded bags, Wabanaki type. Glass beads, black velvet fabric, silk ribbon edge binding. Approximately 6 inches high by 5.4 inches wide.  1840s – 1860s. Maritime area bags from this period usually had bilaterally symmetrical designs and they rarely had paper patterns beneath the beads. Bag (c) is from the collection of Naomi Smith.
      A beaded stitch along the outside edge binding is uncommon on Wabanaki bags. Earlier examples are similar to the hexagonal shape found on early Iroquois work (figure 19). As a general rule, the earliest inverted keyhole-shaped bags have bilaterally symmetrical designs while those on later examples are asymmetrical. Virtually all the inverted keyhole-shaped bags I’ve seen incorporated motifs that were solidly filled with beads, suggesting their construction postdates the hexagonal-shaped examples.
Figure 19 – Beaded bags, Wabanaki type. Glass beads, black velvet fabric, silk ribbon edge binding. Approximately 6.3 inches high by 6.2 inches wide.  Circa 1840s. None of these incorporate the use of paper patterns beneath the beads. Bag (b) is from the collection of Naomi Smith.

     A very early Wabanaki bag is illustrated in figure 20.  The double-curve figures on this piece consist of both inward and outward turning curves that are in symmetrical opposition. This bag is hard to date because it’s such a rare example, but the overall symmetry and linearity of the design points to an early date, certainly no later than 1840 and possibly a decade or two earlier.  The scallop-shell motif is very unusual. The beautiful symmetry of this piece is more typical of Wabanaki work than that of the Haudenosaunee and the beaded fringe along the bottom is a very rare treatment.
Figure 20 – Beaded bag, early Wabanaki type. Glass beads, red wool broadcloth, silk ribbon edge binding (both sides shown), cotton lining. 8.2 inches high (not counting fringe) by 7 inches wide.  Pre-1840. An early bilaterally symmetrical bag with a scallop shell design. The fringe along the bottom is a rare treatment.
      Interpreting the designs in the beadwork is difficult as they were often very personal. The neighboring Naskapi and Montagnais often attributed a design inspiration to a specific dream. As one Penobscot artist remarked to the anthropologist Frank Speck, in the early twentieth century, “The idea of a design comes into the mind by itself and if you do not make it, you lose it, and it never comes back again” (Speck 1927:59).
Figure 21 – Beaded Bag, Wabanaki type, possibly Penobscot or Passamaquoddy. Glass beads, red wool broadcloth, silk ribbon edge binding. 6 inches in height by 5.9 inches in width.  Mid-nineteenth century. The bag outline is a variation of the inverted keyhole shape. From the collection of the Maine State Museum.


     Figure 21 illustrates a variation of the inverted keyhole shape on an unusual bag from the Maine State Museum. Donald Scotomah, the tribal historian for the Passamaquoddy in Maine, attributes it to either the Penobscot or Passamaquoddy. 


Figure 22 The Basketmaker. My portrait of Mamie Joseph. Colored and graphite pencils, acrylic, watercolor and ink. 28 inches high by 27 inches wide. Completed in 2003. Mamie was a Penobscot artist and basketmaker from Indian Island in Old Town, Maine. In this piece I’ve endeavored to capture the indelible spirit of one Penobscot artist. Though she is no longer with us, her art survives as a testament to the beauty of the human spirit, exemplified by her craft.
     A similar bag is depicted in my portrait of Mamie Joseph (figure 22), a nineteenth-century Penobscot artist and basketmaker from Indian Island, in Old Town, Maine. There is a long tradition of basket making among the Penobscot (figure 23a and b). While continuing to make utilitarian baskets, late nineteenth-century basket weavers began producing forms that were smaller, more portable, and highly decorated. They recognized the Victorian fondness for elaboration and produced baskets that were embellished with decorative weaves, dyed splints and sweetgrass and these forms have become known as “fancy baskets.”
Figure 23a – Real Photo Post Card of Maime Joseph in her home on Indian Island in Old Town, Maine. 3.5 inches high by 5.5 inches wide.  Circa 1907.



Figure 23b – Real Photo Post Card of two Penobscot women from Indian Island, in Old Town, Maine. One is splitting ash for baskets, the other is weaving sweetgrass. 3.5 inches high by 5.5 inches wide.  Circa 1920.
      During the nineteenth century, Bar Harbor, Maine, was one of the largest resort communities on the east coast and it was also a primary summer market where the Wabanaki sold their crafts (figure 24). Both the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy had encampments there. Others sold souvenirs to tourists on Indian Island in Old Town, Maine, while some travelled to resort areas along the coast to market their work.  Like the Haudenosaunee, Wabanaki artists were savvy entrepreneurs and took advantage of every opportunity to sell their imaginative creations. 

Figure 24 – One panel of a stereo view depicting a Wabanaki encampment titled: “Indian Tents, Bar Harbor, Mt. Desert, Me.” The detail view depicts several Wabanakis with examples of their baskets. Circa 1870. Photographer: M.B. Bradley, Bar Harbor, Mt. Desert, Maine.
     Several old photographs suggest that some Wabanakis were loosely connected with the spiritualist movement. In the second half of the nineteenth century, a wealthy woman by the name of Mary Colburn Weston organized a spiritualist group in Onset, Massachusetts. In the summer, she travelled from her home on Cape Cod to Skowhegan, Maine, where she befriended many of the local Indians. She also had contacts with the Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia and arranged for some of them to come to Onset where they set up camp, sold their baskets and participated in the activities of the spiritualist church (figure 25a and b).
Figure 25a – Printed postcard of Mrs. Mary Colburn Weston, the head of a spiritualist group at Onset, Massachusetts. 3.5 inches high by 5.5 inches wide. The card is titled: “Mrs. Weston, President of the Wigwam, and Indian friends, Onset, Mass.”  The Indians were Wabanaki either from Maine or Nova Scotia. The church building can be seen in the inset. Copyright 1906 by Samuel J. Smith, Onset, Massachusetts.
Figure 25b – 1879 albumen photograph of a group of Wabanakis at the Spiritualist Camp in Onset, Massachusetts. Although Mrs. Weston had Wabanaki friends from the Skowhegan, Maine area who attended her Spiritualist Group in Onset, these individuals were Mi’kmaq from the Annapolis Royal area of Nova Scotia. Two Mi’kmaq women, Mary Tony and Mary Paul, were among this group and are believed to be the women depicted in this image. Photographer: Burrell, of Brockton, MA.
     Though the Penobscot decorated their personal attire with beads, in none of the many old photographs I've studied are beaded souvenirs seen offered for sale (figure 26a & 26b). Though the beadwork that decorated traditional Penobscot clothing and accoutrements was as skillfully done and as aesthetically pleasing as that of any of the Wabanaki beadworkers, Speck noted that most of the area tribes regarded the Penobscot more for their wood-carving abilities.

Their work manifests care and skill, the intrinsic merit of their designs and their technique apparently entitling them to rank among the best native wood carvers in the north. Compared with the adjacent tribes the Penobscot are quite profuse in artistic decorations. It is indeed rather unusual to find tools and other wooden objects among the Penobscot which have not some ornamentation, either purely aesthetic or combined with utility in the form of cross-hatching or series of triangles which serve to make the hand-hold firmer (Speck 1927: 55-56).


    Regarding their beadwork he says:


Whereas, prior to a period dating back only some thirty years (late nineteenth century), the aesthetic impulses of these Indians expressed themselves in the production of beautiful bead and ribbon work designs. Now since there is hardly any beadwork done in the village, they find artistic  expression in the construction and designing of splint and sweetgrass baskets (Speck 1927:56).

Figure 26a – Real Photo Post Card of a Penobscot handiwork display in Old Town, Maine. 3.5 inches high by 5.5 inches wide. Dated on the back: July 6, 1936. Most of the pieces offered for sale are either baskets or items made from birch bark.
Figure 26b – Two Real Photo Post Cards of Sylvia Stanislaus, a Penobscot baketmaker. 3.5 inches high by 5.5 inches wide. The top image is dated 1911 and is at the Farragut Hotel at Rye Beach, New Hampshire where she regularly sold her work. The lower image was taken in 1921. She represented the Penobscot at the 1893 Columbian Exposition, in Chicago, and again in San Francisco, in 1906. She died in 1938. Though the images were taken about ten years apart, she was still using the same textile to cover her display table.

     It is possible that the beautiful beadwork Speck mentions was made for sale to tourists, but he could have been referring to the decorations found on their raiment. There is enough ambiguity in his statement for the question to remain open. The lack of adequately documented Penobscot souvenir bags and other beaded tourist items suggests that this was not a thriving activity among them.
Beadwork flourished among those groups who had ready access to material and who received enough remuneration from their work to make their handiwork economically viable. For the Penobscots, beadwork was largely reserved for internal use – to decorate personal regalia, such as peaked caps, headbands, cape collar and cuff sets, coat and dress lapels and skirts worn for special occasions (Faulkner 1998: 37). 



Figure 27 – Real Photo Post Card of Joe Francis, a Penobscot wearing a large beaded chief’s collar with a deer motif.  5.5 inches high by 3.5 inches wide. Circa 1912. Photographer: A.F. Orr, Old Town, Maine.
Fannie Hardy Eckstorm wrote that the Penobscot
“. . . were not masters of beadwork” (Eckstorm [1932] 1980:31).  She says that “examples of more elaborate work are rare, although the Indians still have the broad collar with a running deer on the front of it, which is passed on from one governor to another as a badge of office [figure 27].  There used to be many pictures of Indians wearing this collar of heavy beadwork, coming half-way down the breast. It has even been photographed on a woman, who would have no right to wear it [figure 28]. How old it may be, it is impossible to tell; pictures of it probably go back as much as sixty years, and no doubt the collar is much older” (Eckstorm [1932] 1980:32).
Figure 28 – Real Photo Post Card of Clara Neptune, a Penobscot elder, wearing the same beaded chief’s collar depicted in figure 27. 5.5 inches high by 3.5 inches wide. Circa 1912. Photographer: A.F. Orr, Old Town, Maine.

     The two designs on either side of the deer appear to be trees [figure 29]. The motifs are uncommon and generally not seen on souvenir beadwork. Even the treatment of the leaf motifs, with the dark center band, is unusual on Wabanaki work. There are also two, large circular floral-like motifs done in a quasi-Mohawk style of raised beadwork that have thick bundles of beads dangling from the center.
Figure 29 – Detail of the chief’s collar. 
Eckstorm goes on to say:
Considerable cheap beadwork, largely pincushions made of beads cut from glass rods, [bugle or embroidery beads] used to be sold by our Indians, but it was not made by them and had no claim to merit. A small amount of minor work was done for sale such as watch cases and pocket cases, the beads being small and predominantly light blue, with some vermilion and white ones for accents. This may, or may not, have been Penobscot work, though one piece which I particularly recall was no doubt local. . .
The result of a cursory examination of the small amount of material available or remembered, is an opinion that after they ceased to wear wampum belts. . .  [they] did very little good beadwork.  To them beads were merely a finish used on clothing to give contrast and vivacity to the work. The most elaborate examples were some of the collars and pointed revers [a coat lapel or trimmings to suggest one] worn by the men either separately or attached to coats. Here the ornamentation was often profuse and striking, but unless the ‘double-curve’ patterns were employed, it had little design. Women were apt to use beadwork on their moccasins and leggings, or on their caps, possibly on detached collars after the old wampum collars were given up (Eckstorm [1932] 1980:33-34).

     Two circa 1900 George Hunt business cards lists the items the Penobscot had for sale and beadwork is not on the list (figures 30 & 31). Their specialty was making baskets and other wood derived items and the photographic evidence suggests that they were not heavily involved in the production of souvenir beadwork.
Figure 30 – Business card for George H. Hunt, the Indian agent for the Penobscot in Old Town, Maine. 2.75 inches high by 4.5 inches wide. Circa 1900. Hunt ran an agency store in Old Town where he sold Indian novelty items that were made by the Penobscot. A distant view of the Penobscot village, on Indian Island, can be seen on the card.
Figure 31 – Another business card for George H. Hunt, the Indian agent for the Penobscot, on Indian Island, in Old Town, Maine. 3.5 inches high by 5.5 inches wide. Circa 1900. This card list’s the Penobscot items he had for sale.
If you have an interest in Northeast Woodland beadwork you might find my book of interest. Titled: A Cherished Curiosity: TheSouvenir Beaded Bag in Historic Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Art by GerryBiron. 
Published in 2012. This is a brand new, hard cover book with dust jacket. 184 pages and profusely illustrated. 8.5 x 11 inches. ISBN 978-0-9785414-1-5.
Since the early nineteenth century, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) beaded bags have been admired and cherished by travelers to Niagara Falls and other tourist destinations for their aesthetic beauty, detailed artistry, and the creative spirit of their makers.  A long neglected and misunderstood area of American Indian artistry, "souvenir" art as it's come to be called, played a crucial role in the subsistence of many Indian families during the nineteenth century. This lavishly illustrated history examines these bags – the most extensively produced dress accessory made by the Haudenosaunee – along with the historical development of beadworking both as an art form and as a subsistence practice for Native women.
In this book, the beadwork is considered in the context of art, fashion, and the tourist economy of the nineteenth century. Illustrated with over one hundred and fifty of the most important – and exquisite – examples of these bags, along with a unique collection of historical photographs of the bags in their original context, this book provides essential reading for collectors and researchers of this little understood area of American Indian art.


References Cited in Part 1 & 2

Bourque, Bruce J and Labar, Laureen A.
2009    Uncommon Threads: Wabanaki Textiles, Clothing, and Costume. Maine State Museum in association with University of Washington Press. Seattle and London

 Department of Indian Affairs
1967    Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development – Indians of Quebec and the Maritime Provinces (An Historical Review). Published by the DIA, Indian Affairs Branch, Ottawa , Canada

Eckstorm, Fannie Hardy
[1932] 1980 The Handicrafts of the Modern Indians of Maine, published by Robert Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor, Maine. Printed by Jordan – Frost Printing Co., Bangor, Maine.

Faulkner, Gretchen Fearon & Prince, Nancy & Sapiel, Jennifer
1998    Beautifully Beaded: Northeastern Native American Beadwork in American Indian Art Magazine, Volume 24, Number 1, Winter edition.

 Johnson, John W.
1861    Life of John W. Johnson who was Stolen by the Indians when three years of age, and identified by his father twenty years afterwards. Related by himself. Biddeford, Maine.

Speck, Frank
1927    Symbolism in Penobscot Art. Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History. Volume XXIX, Part II. Published by the American Museum of Natural History, New York City.

Wallace, Wilson D. and Wallace, Ruth Sawtell
1955    The Micmac Indians of Eastern Canada – University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

 Whitehead, Ruth Holmes
2001    The Traditional Material Culture of the Native Peoples of Maine in Bruce Bourque, Twelve Thousand Years: Native Americans in Maine. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

 Willoughby, Charles C.
1905    Textile Fabrics of the New England Indians, in American Anthropologist, New Series, Volume 7, F. W. Hodge, Editor, Lancaster, PA.