[Portrait of Elk Family, Chief of Ute's Squadron] [Cabinet Card Photograph]. David Rodocker.
[Portrait of Elk Family, Chief of Ute's Squadron] [Cabinet Card Photograph]

Portrait of a Ute Police Officer and Family

[Portrait of Elk Family, Chief of Ute's Squadron] [Cabinet Card Photograph]

Notes: A cabinet card portrait of a Native American family: a man wearing a US Indian Police badge, a woman, and a young boy. They are dressed in a combination of traditional Native American clothes and Western dress.

Your cataloguer has seen another version of this photograph captioned "Elk Family" in the negative and has a further handwritten caption, "Elk Family, Chief of Ute's Squadron, Fort Duchesne, Utah." In a brief typed document entitled, "Record of the Fort Duchesne Indian Police" on the History Colorado website, the actions of "Captain Tom" are recorded. This is possibly the man depicted in this photograph, but it is impossible to know for sure (the "chief" of the Indian Police, according to the document, was always a white federal employee).

The pose of this image, of an apparent family unit in fine clothes, suggests that they either commissioned the photograph or willingly sat for Rodocker. The young boy is particularly finely dressed, with a bone breastplate, beaded moccasins, and fur hair extensions.

Rodocker traveled widely in the Midwest photographing Native Americans (he also reproduced some images by other photographers). He used a distinctive backdrop, visible in this image, with a tree on the right edge with an unreal twisted pattern to the bark.

Albumen photograph, 3-7/8 by 5-5/16 inches, on a mount (4-1/4 by 6-1/2) with the photographer's imprint at the base and a thin ruled border around the image.

Edition + Condition: A couple of tiny spots in the margin of the mount (not affecting the image), else a fine example, with excellent contrast and good tonal range. There is light surface abrasion to the back (verso) of the mount, affecting an inch along the top. The print is hand-trimmed, with slightly uneven edges. An exceptional image.

Publication: Winfield, Kansas: D. Rodocker, [ca. 1890].

Item No: #360830


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