A Kiowa Mother With Her Child (1800s)


The photograph displays a Kiowa woman with her baby. What the child is in cradleboard. This was a type of baby carrier Kiowa women would use to hold their children. Such photographs are a record of a world that no longer exists. The Kiowa migrated from southwestern Montana to the Great Plains and much of their lifestyle centered around equestrian bison hunting.    American Indians were during the 19th century seeing their way of life eroded by US expansion west. The Kiowa were one of the last Plains tribes to surrender to the invading US Calvary. Although they were being forced onto reservations, this  did not stop the preservation of their history. The Kiowa recorded their history though pictographic art. The photographs taken during this period also add to historical preservation. History is not just about famous individuals and statesmen, but the general public like this woman and her child. Sadly, the child would be living in a world much harsher to Kiowa culture than during his mother’s generation.  American Indian history for a longtime was either ignored, distorted, or considered unimportant to the study of  the history of the United States of America. Racism and the myth of the American west that had been perpetuated in popular culture had warped the image of the American Indian. Only with the rise in ethnic studies and a new approach to examination of US history enabled a change in perceptions.

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