In 1832 Karl Bodmer accompanied Maximilian, Prince of Wiedneuwied, in Germany, on a tour of America. The following year Bodmer took a boat from St. Louis and sailed up the Missouri River. He stayed at Fort Union before exploring the lands of the Blackfeet, the Mandans and the Minnetarees.

On his journey Bodmer painted the life, customs, dress and ceremonies of the Native Americans. A total of 81 plates by Bodmer appeared in Travels in the Interior of North America, 1832-34.

Karl Bodmer (extreme right) meeting the Minnetaree (1833)
Karl Bodmer (extreme right) meeting the Minnetaree (1833)

Primary Sources

(1) Lewis Morgan, Kansas and Nebraska Journal (June, 1859)

The Minnetaree village is a large village of dirt houses. Soon after we arrived the people who crowded the bank commenced a scalp dance on the top of the bluff in front of the pickets. They used two drums, like tambourines, which were beat by the dancers themselves, and they danced in a ring from right to left about 30 in all, one-third of them women. They all danced. The women sang in a sort of chorus, with their voices an octave above those of the men. The step was the up and down on the heel step. They were celebrating the taking of the Sioux scalp we heard complained of at Fort Pierre. This morning I met the 3 who took the scalp, painted and dressed, coming through the village towards the boat, and walking side and slide, singing their exploit. The dance, the song, the music, and the step among all our Indians came out of one brain.