1855, "Wakechai," McKenney & Hall

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Wakechai, or the "Crouching Eagle," was one of the village chiefs, or civil magistrates, of the Saukie nation, and resided at the confluence of Rock River with the Mississippi. He was a popular and respected chief and was a great favorite of the whites, who found him uniformly friendly, honest, and disposed to maintain peace between his own nation and the American people. This beautiful portrait is from McKenney & Hall’s Indian Tribes of North America, Rice & Hart, Philadelphia, 1855. (page size: 6 7/8" wide x 10 ½" high). This copper plate engraved and original hand colored plate was based on the original painting by Charles Bird King, who was employed by the U.S. War Department to paint the Indian delegates visiting Washington, D.C. Most of Byrd’s original oil paintings were lost in a fire at the Smithsonian Institution. Thomas Loraine McKenney, a bureaucrat, who served as Superintendent of Indian Trade and with the Office of Indian Affairs, joined with James Hall, a lawyer and writer, saw their publishing product as one way to preserve an accurate visual record of a quickly receding culture. This engraving is in excellent condition.


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