Wendy Red Star, 1880 Crow Peace Delegation

Red Star annotated photographs to restore dignity and context to US government-issued photographs of Crow chiefs.

Wendy Red Star, 1880 Crow Peace Delegation: Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Medicine Crow (Raven), Peelatchixaaliash/Old Crow (Raven), Déaxitchish/Pretty Eagle, Bia Eélisaash/Large Stomach Woman (Pregnant Woman) aka Two Belly, Alaxchiiaahush/Many War Achievements or Plenty Coups aka Chíilaphuchissaaleesh/Buffalo Bull Facing The Wind, 2014, 10 inket prints and red ink on paper, 16 15/16 x 11 15/16 inches (each) © Wendy Red Star (Portland Art Museum)

Key points

  • The Crow Peace Delegation of 1880 included Medicine Crow and five other chiefs who traveled to Washington DC to discuss land rights and negotiations over building the Northern Pacific Railroad through Crow territory.
  • Although these are portraits of individual chiefs, the photographs reflect the deliberate erasure of Native American culture that served to dehumanize the Crow and other indigenous peoples in the U.S. The use of these images in popular reproductions today continues the practice of outsiders commercializing Indian identity.
  • Red Star uses her artistic process to assert each man’s individual identity and accomplishments, as well as to learn more about her own culture as a Crow Indian and to share it with others.

Additional resources:

Learn about this object at the Portland Museum of Art

Visit Wendy Red Star’s website

Learn more about Crow culture and history

Read more about the Bureau of American Ethnography that hired Bell and others to document Native American culture

View this online exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian addressing cultural appropriation of Native Americans

Cite this page as: Wendy Red Star at Portland Art Museum and Dr. Steven Zucker, "Wendy Red Star, 1880 Crow Peace Delegation," in Smarthistory, September 13, 2018, accessed March 3, 2024, https://smarthistory.org/wendy-red-star-1880-crow-peace-delegation-2/.