PORTRAIT OF FOUR KIOWAH NATIVE AMERICANS ON HORSEBACK : FOURSOME INCLUDES CHIEF QUALUPAH AND CHIEF HUNTING HORSE

This vintage real photo postcard features a portrait of four Native Americans on horseback. The foursome are members of the Kiowah tribe. Among the group are Chief Qualupah and Chief Hunting Horse.The other two riders appear to be women. The four are dressed in Native American clothing. They are in a field which has lines of rope holding American flags.  Perhaps they are  invited guest to an Amrican patriotic holiday celebration. Researching Chief Qualupah was an exercise in frustration. I learned nothing about him. There were chiefs mentioned that had names close to “Qualupah”,  leading me to believe that there are several different spellings of his name. Information about Chief Hunting Horse was plentiful. He was a well known scout during the Custer, Sheridan, and Sherman era. In 1871 he enlisted for a two year stint in the Seventh Cavalry commanded by Gerneral Custer. By the end of his legendary scouting career, his friends included Theodore Roosevelt and Geronimo. He was born in Medicine Lodge Kansas in 1846. He was the son of a Kiowa war chief and a Spanish woman who had been kidnapped in Mexico and raised by the Kiowas. Hunting horse came to “Indian Territory” (Oklahoma) at the age of fifteen. In 1917 he appeared in the silent Western film, “Daughter of the Dawn”. In the early 1900’s relatives began celebrating his birthday. These celebrations occurred every year until his death. Military and political figure were often among the attendees. Chief Hunting Horse died at the age of 107 and his funeral included full military honors. Who are the Kiowa? They were considered a nomadic tribe of the plains. It is thought that they originated in the northern basin of the Missouri River but migrated to the Black Hills around 1650. They lived peacefully there with the Crow Indians until they were invaded by the Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Sioux; resulting in the Kiowas moving further south. There they fought with the Comanche, but with the help of the Spanish, the two tribes formed an alliance and agreed to share their land. Joined by the Plains Apache, they hunted, traveled and fought war together.They raided settlements in Texas and New Mexico. They stole horses and mules which they used to trade with the Plains Indian tribes. In 1867, the Kiowa signed a treaty and agreed to settle on a reservation in Oklahoma. In 1901 their lands were open for settlement by whites and dissolving the contiguous reservation. Today, there are more than 12,000 Kiowa tribe members in Oklahoma and throughout the Southwest. The photograph taken for this postcard was taken by the Electric Studio. The postcard has an AZO stamp box indicating that the postcard dates back to sometime between 1910 and 1930. This postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

 

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THREE NATIVE AMERICAN SIBLINGS IN EL RENO, OKLAHOMA TERRITORY (PHOTOGRAPHED BY STOTZ)

This cabinet card is chock full of history. The photograph features three young Native Americans posing for their portrait at the studio of Christopher Charles Stotz (1851-1932), in El Reno, Oklahoma Territory. The subjects of this image are likely siblings. The young women are wearing identical dresses and are adorned with rings and beautiful earrings. The specific Indian tribe that these three young people represent, is unknown. Oklahoma was the home of many Indian Tribes including Pawnee, Creek, Apache, Arapaho, Choctaw, and others. Many tribes were relocated there from other states. As mentioned earlier, the photographer of this cabinet card is C. C. Stotz and his studio was located in El Reno, Oklahoma Territory. Oklahoma became a state in 1907 which means that this photograph was taken before that year. El Reno is located in central Oklahoma, about 25 miles from Oklahoma City. Fort Reno was built in 1874 and it’s first commander was Civil War hero, General Philip Sheridan. Sheridan named the fort after his friend, General Jesse L. Reno, who was killed in the Civil War. The fort was near the Cheyenne-Arapaho reservation. One of the fort’s missions was to “protect” the “Five Civilized Tribes”. This group was comprised of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole tribes. Employing the term “civilized tribe” was evidence of the special prejudice held against the tribes not among the designated five civilized tribes. Tribes described as civilized were tribes that had adopted many of the customs and values that were held by  European-Americans at the time.  Who was C. C. Stotz?  Stotz was born in Columbia, Pennsylvania.  He  established a studio in El Reno in 1889; the same year El Reno was founded. Therefore, this photograph was taken between 1889  (El Reno founded) and 1907 (Oklahoma statehood). During the 1880’s and 1890’s, he made field and studio photographs of Southern Plains Indians. Stotz is an acclaimed early photographer  of Native American’s and Native American life.