Sioux Women

Santee Dakota women about 1870. 

When looking at photography of American Indian and other indigenous peoples, it is important to remember that Euro-Americans often set out in the early era of photography to capture their ideas of Indian peoples. The photographs are often misrepresentations, showing Indians wearing European clothing or engaging in white lifeways. This was a reflection of the pressure for Indians to assimilate to white ways at the time. Alternately, photographers posed their Indian subjects in a way that they thought represented what Indian people were and often were exaggerations and/or racist interpretations. 

Read more about how Native Americans are represented in media:

Schupman, Edwin. Photography changes the ways cultural groups are represented and perceived. Smithsonian Photography Initiative. 

Examples of these photographic representations are:

Edward C. Curtis 

Pictures of Native Americans in the United States. The National Archives.