Although fans of Colorado history have probably heard of the most significant Native American leaders — Black Kettle, Left Hand, White Antelope, One Eye, and so on — portraits from the era are frustratingly undocumented. It would be nice to be able to point at a particular picture and say with certainty that this fellow is White Antelope and that fellow is Neva, but it hasn’t happened so far and probably never will.
Case in point: Two important portraits were taken in the fall of 1864 of the “peace chiefs” who had come to Denver to talk peace with Chivington and Evans (fruitlessly, as it turned out). A stenographer was present at this session, so we know at least the following chiefs were present: Black Kettle, White Antelope, Bull Bear. We know Left Hand wasn’t there, and there’s no mention of One Eye being there.
Here’s the most famous portrait taken, focusing just on the fellows in the middle row: Continue reading