- Hardbound: 256 pages
- Author: Davis Thomas and Karin Ronnefeldt
- Publisher: Promontory Press (1982)
- Product Dimensions: 12.0 x 10.5 x 1.0 inch
- ISBN: 0-88394-994-6
- Condition: : Good - (contains library stamp) Paper Jacket shows some yellowing due to age
People of the First Man
Life Among the Plains Indians in Their Final Days of Glory
Edited by: Davis Thomas & Karin Ronnefeldt
Watercolors by: Karl Bodmer
To Read People of the First Man is to explore the American West of the early 1800's when rivers ran pure and the land's proudest inhabitants were Native American Indians.
In 1833 the German explorer and naturalist, Prince Maximilian Wied, together with Karl Bodmer, his Swiss-born artist companion, traveled some 5,000 miles along the Missouri River during their year-long sojourn with the Plains Indians. Mandon, Blackfoot, Cree, Sioux, Minnetaree, Assiniboin, and Gros Ventres were among the diverse tribes of the Plains, where mastery of the horse had catapulted the Plains Indians to fame and undreamed-of material wealth less than a half century before Maximilian's arrival in North America.
In an economy enriched by bison and other plentiful game, warlike tribes on horseback produced a brief moment of Indian power and glory without benefit of a common language. Within a decade of Maximilian's return to Europe, Manifest Destiny, accompanied by smallpox and alcohol, led to the virtual extermination of the Plains culture.
Traveling as guests of the American Fur Company, which trafficked in pelts and illegal whiskey, the European travelers were quick to discern the Indian's fate. It became Maximilian's and Bodmer's dangerous task to live and travel among many tribes to record painstakingly their daily life and ceremonial activities. Karl Bodmer's watercolors of tribal warriors, women, and chiefs in full regalia, war parties, the hunt---faithfully reproduced here in full color, most of them for the first time--are certainly the finest paintings ever made of an aboriginal culture. Maximilian's monumental narrative, which has long been regarded as one of the classics of early western exploration, is presented here in a carefully edited version supplemented with revealing and previously unpublished entries from his original field journal.