[NATIVE AMERICANS]. [MEYER, Julius (1839-?)]. Carte-de-visite photograph of Meyer and Chiefs Sitting Bull, Swift Bear, Red Cloud and Swift Bear, taken by photographer Frank E. Currier, probably at Meyer's "Indian Wigwam," "170 Farnham St., Cor. 11th" Omaha, Nebraska, [ca.1872]. 4 1/8 x 2¼ in., mounted albumen with printed captions on recto and elaborate advertising and descriptive text in decorative types on verso. Very slight wear to edges.
A FAMOUS IMAGE OF JULIUS MEYER AND SIOUX CHIEFS. Meyer, born in Bromberg, Prussia, emigrated to Omaha, Nebraska, in 1867 and befriended members of the plains Indian tribes, especially the Lakota and Oglala Sioux, who christened him "Box-ka-re-sha-hash-ta-ka" (sometimes rendered as "Curly haired man who talks with his tongue"). Meyer displayed a remarkable knack for Indian languages, and claimed to be able to speak six different Native American tongues. He served briefly as an interpreter for Gen. George Crook. A sort of western P.T. Barnum, he enthusiastically catered to the growing American fascination with the vanishing Indian and exotic imported merchandise, opening a unique emporium, the "Indian Wigwam" in Omaha. His wares, as described on the present carte, included "Indian, Chinese and Japanese Curiosities, Tomahawks, Bows and Arrows, Covers, Pipes, Scalps, Mocassins...Shells, Antediluvian Fossils, Petrifactions, etc." as well as "specimens of all Western Minerals, Photographs of Indians and Western Landscapes...Buffalo Robes, Beaver, Mink, Otter...and all other kinds of Indian dressed Furs and Skins." In later years, Meyer toured Europe with a group of Native Americans. In the photo, he is shown in elaborate fringed buckskins, while three of the four Sioux pose in western formal garb.