Seth Eastman: Depictions of Native American Life
by Beth Staats, Reference Outreach & Instruction Librarian, Minitex
eLibrary Minnesota Resources (for Minnesota residents)
1. "1853: Native American Women Frightening Birds In Their Cornfields." Original Artwork: Engraving By James Smillie After A Drawing By Captain Seth Eastman (Photo By MPI/Getty Images) -- Image Date: 1/1/1853 -- Image Date: 1/1/1853. (n.d.): Image Collection. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.
2. Bergson, Zach. "War, before & after." Hill 03 July 2012: 19. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.
3. "Circa 1835: A Native American Woman In Minnesota Scrapes And Dresses A Deerskin Stretched Across A Wooden Frame." Original Artwork: Painting By Seth Eastman. (Photo By MPI/Getty Images). (n.d.): Image Collection. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.
4. Jablow, Valerie. "A Soldier Artist On The Plains." Smithsonian 32.2 (2001): 42. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.
5. "Seth Eastman's West." American History 31.4 (1996): 42. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.
Additional Resources for Research
1. Historic Fort Snelling, Minnesota Historical Society
2. Perspective: Seth Eastman [1808-1875], Western Art & Architecture
4. Seth Eastman: Pioneer & Painter, Minnesota Historical Society
5. The Artist: Seth Eastman, Center of Military History, U.S. Army
6. The House Indian Affairs Commission-- Seth Eastman's American Indian Paintings in Context, Federal History, 2010
Teaching Guide: Seth Eastman: Depictions of Native American Life
Primary Source Analysis
For each source, ask students to indicate:
- the author's point of view
- the author's purpose
- historical context
For inquiry-based learning, ask students to:
- explain how a source tells its story and/or makes its argument
- explain the relationships between sources
- compare and contrast sources in terms of point of view and method
- support conclusions and interpretations with evidence
- identify questions for further investigation
This teaching guide helps instructors use a specific primary source set, Seth Eastman: Depictions of Native American Life, in the classroom. It offers discussion questions, classroom activities, and primary source analysis tools. It is intended to spark pedagogical creativity by giving a sample approach to the material. Please feel free to share, reuse, and adapt the resources in this guide for your teaching purposes.
When you look at these images, documents, and transcripts in Minnesota Reflections, be sure to use the zoom-in tool to view subtle details in the images and enlarge text for easier reading.
1. What can you learn about Dakota life from Seth Eastman's paintings?
2. What can you learn from viewing the images of Native American life and what are the stereotypes you identify from them?
3. How might the depictions of Native Americans be different if painted by one of their own?
4. How does Seth Eastman depict women vs. men in his paintings?
5. Who do you think built the structures represented in the paintings? What style of home is depicted?