Three Native Americans in woods, teepee in left background; man and woman seated in left forefront. Standing male with headdress on right facing left. Deer lying on ground at center.
Expansion into the vast western areas of the continent often included encounters with Native American peoples. This literary scene is from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s (1807-1882) narrative poem, Hiawatha. In Hiawatha’s Wooing, Hiawatha lays a dead buck on the ground before Minnehaha, who sits next to her father in front of their teepee. The bright blue used to color the feathers and Hiawatha’s clothing is unusual as Currier & Ives seldom used that palette. At the doorway of his wigwam stood the ancient arrow maker, In the land of the Dacotahs, making arrow-heads of jasper, At his side in all her beauty sat the lovely Minnehaha, Sat his daughter Laughing Water. Through their thoughts they heard a footstep, Heard a rustling in the branches and with glowing cheek and forehead, Suddenly from out of the woodlands Hiawatha stood before them! At the feet of Minnehaha, Hiawatha laid his burden, Threw the red deer from his shoulders as the maiden looked up at him. Looked up from her mat of rushes, said with a gentle look and accent, “You are welcome Hiawatha!”