Cabinet Card – circa 1897

Cabinet Card – circa 1897 - No photographer or location indicated.

The Mohawks travelled extensively in the nineteenth century, performing in medicine shows, circuses, theatrical groups and especially in Wild West shows. Many were photographed in their regalia as they toured the country. In this exceptional image, a family of Mohawks, possibly from the Grand River Reserve, can be seen seated before a display of their beadwork. The hanging whisk broom holder directly above the woman’s head is dated 1897, in beads. The design on the man’s coat depicts a lion and a unicorn. These are old Scottish and British heraldic representations and as such, suggest a British tie-in.  In 1860, Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, visited the Grand River Reserve in Brantford, Ontario. Nine years later, the young Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught visited there and was appointed an honorary chief. So there may be a partisan connection between these events and the symbols on the man’s jacket. At the very least the heraldic icons point to a Canadian connection.