Zitkala Sa, Sioux Indian and activist

Description
In addition to photographing of Sioux performers sent by Buffalo Bill Cody to her studio, Käsebier was able to arrange a portrait session with Zitkala Sa, "Red Bird," also known as Gertrude Simmons (1876-1938), a Yankton Sioux woman of Native American and white mixed ancestry. She was born on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, like many of the Sioux traveling with the Wild West show. Well educated, she studied at reservation schools, the Carlisle Indian School, Earlham College in Indiana, and the Boston Conservatory of Music. Zitkala Sa became an accomplished author, musician, composer, and dedicated worker for the reform of United States Indian policies.
Käsebier photographed Zitkala Sa in tribal dress and western clothing, clearly identifying the two worlds in which this woman lived and worked. In many of the images, Zitkala Sa holds her violin or a book, further indicating her interests. Käsebier experimented with backdrops, including a Victorian floral print, and photographic printing. She used the painterly gum-bichromate process for several of these images, adding increased texture and softer tones to the photographs.
Location
Currently not on view
Date made
ca 1898
maker
Kasebier, Gertrude
Physical Description
platinum print (overall material)
paper (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 15.8 cm x 6.7 cm; 6 1/4 in x 2 5/8 in
ID Number
PG*69.236.109
accession number
287543
catalog number
69.236.109
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Gertrude Kasebier
Photography
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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