These are the original drawings that accompanied Edwin Thompson Denig's 451 page manuscript, entitled "Report to Hon. Isaac I. Stevens, Governor of Washington Territory, on the Indian Tribes of the Upper Missouri, by Edwin Thompson Denig." The drawings depict utensils, tools, game pieces, plants, warfare, hunting, a tipi, a scalp dance, and a map. Five of the drawings are attributed to anonymous Assiniboine artists. The drawings that are not attributed to the Assiniboine may have been drawn by Edwin T. Denig. All of the drawings were likely created between 1853 and 1854, while Denig was working on the report. Records indicate that his original manuscript included 15 pages ink drawings. The manuscript was published in 1930, in the Forty-sixth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology. Prior to being photographed for the publication, the 15 pages of drawings were trimmed into 39 smaller drawings, which were subsequently arranged and pasted onto 19 mounts. Included with the drawings is typed page identifying the drawings as "Original sketches for Plates 64-80 and Figs. 30-35 of Denig's "Indian Tribes of the Upper Missouri," edited by J.N.B. Hewitt, BAE-AR 46, Washington, D.C., 1930. " The page also contains a list of negative numbers.
Biographical / Historical:
Edwin T. Denig was born on March 10, 1812 in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. He entered the fur trade in 1833 as an employee of the American Fur Company. He would be employeed in the fur trade for the next 23 years. During this period he worked at Fort Pierre and Fort Union, eventually rising to the position of bourgeois at the latter post. In 1854 he authored a 451 page manuscript, entitled "Report to Hon. Isaac I. Stevens, Governor of Washington Territory, on the Indian Tribes of the Upper Missouri, by Edwin Thompson Denig." Denig left Fort Union in 1856. He died on September 4, 1858 near the city of Winnipeg, Canada. For further biographic information, see Edwin Thompson Denig, Five Indian Tribes of the Upper Missouri: Sioux, Arickaras, Assiniboines, Crees, and Crows (edited and with an introduction by John C. Ewers), University of Oklahoma Press, 1961.
Fort Union trading post was constructed by the American Fur Company in 1828 and was located near the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers. It was established to open trade with the Assiniboine, yet it served a variety of tribes, including the Crow, Arikara, Mandan, Hidatsa, Plains Cree, Chippewa, Blackfeet, and Sioux. These tribes exchanged beaver pelts and buffalo robes for trade goods at Fort Union. In 1866, the trading post was sold to the Northwestern Fur Company. A year later, the United States Army purchased the facility, which it subsequently dismantled. For further information, see: National Park Service, Fort Union Trading Post: Grandest Fort on the Missouri http://www.nps.gov/fous/history.htm Edwin Thompson Denig, Five Indian Tribes of the Upper Missouri: Sioux, Arickaras, Assiniboines, Crees, and Crows (edited and with an introduction by John C. Ewers), University of Oklahoma Press, 1961.