Big Road Census (USA), 1881 or 1882
This is a Big Road Census.
The Oglala Lakota chief Big Road produced this pictorial roster after his band was assigned to the Standing Rock Indian Agency (in what is today parts of North and South Dakota), and the agent there demanded a list of his followers. Each man is identified by a small image suggesting his name, such as Bear Looking Back (top row, second from the left) and Low Dog (second row, first image). The leaders of family bands hold a pipe and pipe bag, while leaders of war expeditions brandish war clubs. This paper has served many purposes: to the government agent, this census was an instrument of control, while to Big Road it was an assertion of chiefly authority. Contemporary Lakota artist Arthur Amiotte used scraps of images from it in one of his signature collages, which combine visual traces from a tribal past to construct a wry commentary on Lakota history.
It is credited
National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution NAA MS 2372 (Inv. 08631100).
Our curators have highlighted 2 objects that are related to this one.
Its dimensions are
H x W: 41 × 34 cm (16 1/8 × 13 3/8 in.)
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.