In Red Cloud: Photographs of a Lakota Chief, Red Cloud (1821–1909), the famous Lakota leader, comes to life through a series of extraordinary photographs that trace his career in stunning detail. Arguably the most photographed Native American of the nineteenth century, Red Cloud posed before the camera some fifty times and appears in over one hundred photographs, rivaling the number taken of Abraham Lincoln. This is the first time that the majority of these photographs have been gathered together. These images reveal much about Red Cloud—from the height of his position as a tribal leader in the 1870s through his years as an effective and controversial statesman to his old age and death in the early twentieth century.
Frank H. Goodyear III provides historical, biographical, and critical commentary that both illuminates the images and interrogates the motivations and attitudes of Red Cloud and his photographers. What does the succession of photographs reveal about the changing circumstances of Red Cloud’s life and those who photographed him? Why were photographers and the American public fascinated with the Lakota leader? Why did he choose to face the camera so many times? Goodyear provides a fully drawn portrait of the renowned Lakota leader and his relationships with outsiders, particularly those who continually attempted to capture his likeness with a camera.