Caddoe Indians Gathering Wild Strawberries by George Catlin

Name: Caddoe Indians Gathering Wild Strawberries | Artist: George Catlin Media: Oil on card mounted on paperboard | Year(s): 1861 - 1869
George Catlin | Caddoe Indians Gathering Wild Strawberries | 1861 - 1869 | Oil on card mounted on paperboard | National Gallery of Art, Washington, Paul Mellon Collection

About the Work

The Caddo Indians were one of the Texas tribes Catlin encountered but about which he said little. The Caddo Indians, "despite their linguistic affiliations with tribes to the north and west, faced east in a cultural sense," according to W. W. Newcomb, an authority on Texas Indian tribes. "Agriculturists first and foremost," they planted and raised crops of corn, beans, and squash. They were also proficient buffalo hunters, and Catlin painted them, as he did many Western tribesmen, giving chase to a herd in flight. This pastoral scene of Caddoes gathering wild strawberries is appealingly different. It involves families, not just men. Catlin also painted Kiowas-confirmed meat-eating buffalo hunters-collecting wild grapes. But his picture of Caddoes gathering strawberries captures the essence of their culture. Expert cultivators of the soil, they are shown enjoying nature's bounty, living in their own paradise harvesting the fruits of the land.