For nearly 120 years, it hung in the House Interior Committee chamber and no one seemed to notice. That was until freshman Rep. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, the only American Indian in Congress and a member of the committee, took a hard look at the painting, titled "Death Whoop." A Northern Cheyenne from Colorado, Campbell objected to the painting's grisly depiction of an Indian holding a bloody knife in one hand and a settler's scalp triumphantly in the other. Campbell asked committee Chairman Morris Udall to have the painting removed, and Udall, a champion of Indian causes, told Campbell, "If it offends you, it offends me."

Yesterday morning, as Udall and Campbell watched, the painting was removed from the committee room wall and returned to the office of the architect of the Capitol to be placed in storage. Campbell pointed out that every piece of legislation dealing with American Indians goes through the Interior Committee and that the painting, one of 10 painted in the 1860s by a retired brigadier general, was offensive to Indians who come to testify. He said the painting perpetuated a stereotype and added: "I don't see pictures of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II or the slavery of blacks."

Adding a bit of levity to the occasion, as he often does, Udall recalled an earlier conversation he had with committee counsel Frank Ducheneaux, a Sioux, on the merits of the painting. With Ducheneaux standing nearby, smiling, Udall quoted him as saying that it "has always been one of my favorites." At that, Campbell remarked: "He's a Sioux. In that part of the country, some of them haven't given up yet."

Out and About American Film Institute founder George Stevens Jr. is now wearing a green rosette in his lapel. Last week, while in Paris to attend the centennial celebrations of the International Herald Tribune, he was named an Officer of Arts and Literature by the French Minister of Culture. Beaming in the audience at the ceremony were Stevens' wife Liz, and friends Ethel Kennedy and Art and Ann Buchwald ...

Singer Diana Ross gave birth to a boy Wednesday. Named Ross Arne Naess, he is the first child for Ross and her husband, Norwegian-born industrialist Arne Naess Jr., in their two-year marriage. Ross, 43, has three children from a previous marriage, as does her husband ...

Signs are up all around Potomac announcing that Sugar Ray Leonard's golden retriever Werewolf is missing. Leonard said yesterday that the dog, a gift from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, had been missing for a week. Late yesterday, Leonard said he was rushing off to a Potomac animal shelter because a little boy had stopped by the house to say he had seen a golden there ...

Elizabeth Taylor, who looks terrific after slimming down, says she doesn't hold a grudge against comedian Joan Rivers, who got a lot of laughs poking fun at Taylor's weight. "My laugh was always the loudest, even when I was on the verge of tears," Taylor says in a Ladies' Home Journal interview. "How could I hate the person making the jokes when I knew I was responsible?" As for film stars she considers beautiful, Taylor listed Sissy Spacek, Meryl Streep, Kathleen Turner and Debra Winger. She added, "Thank God the big studios aren't around to tell them to become a blond or to fix their noses the way studios used to" ...