Early American History Seminar: Scott Stevens, State University of New York at Buffalo

Early American History and Culture Seminar
Thursday, November 29, 2007

5:30 pm to 7:00 pm

“Figuring the Great Chiefs: Iroquois Portraiture from Verelst to Catlin”
Scott Stevens, State University of New York at Buffalo
Figuring the Great Chiefs: Iroquois Portraiture From Verelst to Catlin
, examines the turn to depicting specific Native leaders and the invention of the category of the ‘Great Chiefs’ in Anglo-American culture. I am particularly interested in the place of the portrait as it relates to the larger issues of the representation of authority, political alliance, cultural loyalty, and sovereignty. The chapter focuses on Joseph Brant and concludes with a reading of Zacharie Vincent, a late nineteenth-century Huron painter living in Montreal, who painted numerous self-portraits. His works constitute one of the first entrances of a Northeastern Indian into the fine arts tradition as it was defined in the period and manifest his own interpretation of Indian identity and its representation.