Chief Red Cloud (1821-1909), once regarded by white America as the "epitome of Lakota aggressiveness," walked an unenviable path as envoy of an outnumbered, outgunned exiled tribe in negotiations with the wily United States government. The Lakota Sioux chief posed on 45 occasions over a period of almost 40 years for such American photographers as Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, Charles Bell, David Barry, Frank Rinehart and Edward Curtis, making him possibly the most photographed 19th-century American Indian. In Red Cloud: Photographs of a Lakota Chief (Univ. of Nebraska, $35) Frank H. Goodyear III, assistant curator of photographs at the National Portrait Gallery, presents 81 photographs of Red Cloud collected from over two dozen museums and archives around the country. Goodyear contends that Red Cloud sat for so many photographs quite deliberately, intending for his image "to mark his presence and to negotiate relationships with others."
The book also reproduces an oil portrait done by Chicago artist Bessie Sandes Butler in 1903. Red Cloud hoped that the painting would survive so that future generations might "always go and look at the face of one of the last of the old chiefs that lived before the white men came to take over lands and turn us from the old trails we had followed for so many hundreds of years."
-- Mary Ishimoto Morris