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Indians with Meat Drying Rack / Monroe Tsatoke


Kiowa (Cáuigù)1 artist Monroe Tsatoke painted scenes depicting his own lived experience as well as oral histories from his community. He also drew inspiration from his father, Tsa To Kee (also known as Huntinghorse and Hunting Horse),2 who had a prized American Paint Horse, similar to the breed seen here. The Kiowa Nation, like many tribes with ancestral territories within the Great Plains of the United States and Canada, has a strong horse culture.

The scene here is set in a barren landscape devoid of trees, water, hills, or mountains. The artist has included scant tufts of prairie grass, signaling both the existence of a food source as well as its scarcity. Although all four figures are collectively petitioning for a successful hunt, our focus is on a hereditary chief wearing black leggings and an eagle-feather headdress, who is in a posture of prayer. Effective hunting techniques played a key role in survival on the Great Plains, and the spiritual practices and cosmological frameworks of many Indigenous societies and nations, including the Kiowa, were inextricably tied to the hunting and harvesting of food.

—Jordan Poorman Cocker, Henry Luce Foundation Curatorial Scholar for Indigenous Painting Collection Research, 2021

This text was developed from an interview with Monroe Tsatoke, Monroe Tsatoke’s grandson, by Jordan Poorman Cocker, May 19, 2021

1 Cáuigù is the correct identity used by the Kiowa Tribe.
2 Different transliterations by English speakers led to name and surname variants over time, and the names Hunting Horse, Huntinghorse, and Horse are all variations used by members of the same family.

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Indians with Meat Drying Rack; Four Indians
Monroe Tsatoke (Artist)
Native American; Kiowa
oil on canvas
Landscape; single-sided 0.407-0.417mm canvas, cotton? Linen?
Object Type: 
Accession No: 
Previous Number(s): 
0127.2224; 13273
Not On View

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