25 Rare Photographs Revealing What the Life of Native Americans Was Like 100 Years Ago

In 1906, Edward Sheriff Curtis, a commercial photographer from Seattle, was contacted by the famous banker J.P. Morgan who offered him $75,000 to create a photo series of Native Americans. Edward accepted the offer and spent more than 20 years traveling across North America, taking thousands of photographs and writing down the songs and stories of over 80 tribes.

We are amazed by Curtis’s colossal work, and we invite you to have a look at these unique images.

Sioux chiefs, 1905

Okuwa-Tsire, also known as “Cloud Bird,” of the San Ildefonso Pueblo, 1905

A group of Navajo in the Canyon de Chelly, Arizona, 1904

An Apache man, circa 1910

A Kwakiutl wedding party arrives in canoes, 1914

A Klamath chief stands on a hill above Crater Lake, Oregon, 1923

An Apache woman reaps grain, circa 1910

A Qagyuhl woman wears a fringed Chilkat blanket and a mask representing a deceased relative who had been a shaman, 1914

A Jicarilla girl, circa 1910

An Apsaroke man on horseback, 1908

A Nootka man aims a bow and arrow, 1910

Members of the Qagyuhl tribe dance to restore an eclipsed moon, circa 1910

A Hupa spear fisherman watches for salmon, 1923

A Hupa woman, 1923

Qagyuhl dancers, 1914

An Apsaroke mother and child, 1908

Piegan tepees, 1910

Nakoaktok dancers wear Hamatsa masks in a ritual, 1914

Hollow Horn Bear, a Brulé man, 1907

A Kwakiutl shaman performs a religious ritual, 1914

A Tewa girl, 1906

Kwakiutl people in canoes in British Columbia, 1914

Black Eagle, an Assiniboin man, 1908

A Qahatika girl, 1907

An Apache woman with a baby, 1903