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Plenty Coups

Plenty Coups
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Willem Wildschut, 1883 - 1955
Plenty Coups, c. 1848 - 1932
c. 1921
Gelatin silver print
Sheet: 91.4 x 61 cm (36 x 24")
Frame: 116.5 x 78.4 x 4.4 cm (45 7/8 x 30 7/8 x 1 3/4")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Gift of Ruth and Vernon Taylor Foundation, Beatrice and James Taylor
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Exhibition Label
Born near present-day Billings, Montana
A celebrated warrior as a young man, Plenty Coups played a crucial role in leading the Crow nation during the difficult transition to reservation life. Like his near-contemporary Booker T. Washington, he stressed the importance of education as a means to maintain tribal integrity and urged his people to become self-sufficient farmers. Although Plenty Coups became a Catholic, he revered and sought to carry on the native religion and traditional folkways of the Crow. Dressed in ceremonial regalia, Plenty Coups is thought to have posed for this photograph at the outset of his 1921 trip to Washington, D.C., where he served as the Native American representative at the burial of the unknown soldier of World War I at Arlington National Cemetery. Three years later, in part because of the Native contribution to the war effort, Congress passed the landmark Indian Citizenship Act.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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