Library of Congress: Digital Native American Photos


Dakota manThe Library of Congress (LOC) is an excellent resource for Native American research and information – and many of those resources are now available in a digitized format, including an extensive number of photos.

Here is an example of what you’ll find, but the site has these at much higher resolution

You can search LOC prints and photographs online catalogue to access these historical images. The URL for the site is:

On this page, we have also compiled LOC image lots that directly depict 19th and early 20th century Dakota people and life. (Please note: This is not an all-inclusive list, and the Library of Congress has additional lots on the subject.)

In searching for additional resources, you can also search by keywords (i.e. Sitting Bull, travois, Ghost Dance) and/or tribe names. (Tip: The LOC uses a single spelling for each tribe, for example, the spelling Ojibwa is used instead of Ojibwe for search. If a tribe you are searching does not yield any results, see if there are any alternate spellings you can try.)

Not all lots and/or all photos in a lot are yet digitally available, but most lots have at least some of their photos available online.


Sioux (Dakota, Lakota and Nakota)-Related Library of Congress Lots of Historical Images With Lot Descriptions

LOT 3076
Title: Grabill photographs of frontier life in South Dakota and Wyoming
Date Created/Published: c1887-c1892.

What’s included

3076-1: Ox teams in the Black Hills of South Dakota;

3076-2: Portraits of Oglala, Lakota, Miniconjou, and Brulé Indians, Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River, South Dakota;

3076-3: Railroads, including construction and railroad camps in South Dakota and Wyoming;

3076-4: Portraits of U.S. Cavalry & Infantry at South Dakota;

3076-5: Parades at Deadwood, South Dakota and Chicago, Ill.;

3076-6: Cityscapes and commercial buildings in South Dakota and Colorado;

3076-7: Ranch houses and a log cabin in South Dakota;

3076-8: Stagecoaches and coach drivers, including the Last Deadwood coach and Wells Fargo Express Co.;

3076-9: Military facilities at Fort Meade and Pine Ridge, South Dakota;

3076-10: Lumber mills in South Dakota;

3076-11: Portraits of Indians with U.S. officials at Pine Ridge, South Dakota;

3076-12: Cowboys, roundups, & branding at Belle Fourche, South Dakota and other locations;

3076-13: Portraits of hunters;

3076-14: Devil’s Tower National Monument and “Little Missouri butte”;

3076-15: Landscapes, buttes, and rock formations in the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyo.;

3076-16: Prospectors;

3076-17: Mines & mining activities, South Dakota;

3076-18: Chinese immigrant “hose team” and the burial of a Chinese immigrant, Deadwood, S.D.;

3076-19: Beef issue to Lakota Indians, Pine Ridge, South Dakota;

3076-20: Sheep herding, South Dakota; 3076-21: Miscellaneous.

LOT 3328
Title: Sioux Reservation Life in South Dakota
Date Created/Published: 1889, c1893-c1911.

Summary: Most images were taken on or near the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Images include the hitchlot at Rosebud Agency during the Crook Treaty Council; Sioux men and women butchering a steer and receiving beef rations; a Euro-American man reading the Declaration of Independence to a group of Sioux Indians at a 4th of July celebration; men and women participating at “Squaw Dance;” women and men cooking outdoors; women preparing dried beef; and a woman on a horse pulling a travois with a child in it. Also includes a portrait of Two Strike.

LOT 7106
Title: Indian prisoners of war, Fort Randall, Dakota Territory
Date Created/Published: c1882.

Summary: Stereographs of Sitting Bull [Hunkpapa Lakota] and other Sioux Indians at a campsite near Fort Randall, Dakota Territory. Images include issuance of supplies and rations; daily life and dwellings in winter and summer including inspections; a medicine tepee; women carrying wood bundles; portraits of Sitting Bull, alone and with his family; Eat Dog and his family; One Bull and Black Prairie Chicken; Steps, an Indian who lost his feet and hand due to frostbite; and a drill by the men of 25th Infantry Colored.

LOT 9135
Title: Views of Montana
Date Created/Published: 1898-1914.

Summary: Photographs show mines, court house and reservoir in or near Butte. Railroad station at Gardiner. Stagecoach from Harlem. Also, pony race, dancers, medicine man, etc., on the Ft. Belknap (Nakota) Indian reservation.

LOT 10426
Title: Ft. Meade, South Dakota
Date Created/Published: 1897.

Summary: Photographs show cavalry passing in review, tug-of-war and other field day events, individual officers on their horses, etc. Also, ice cutting, tree trimming, snow plowing, and fire drill. Commanding officer’s quarters, guard house, other buildings. Sioux Indians. Fourth of July and Decoration Day ceremonies.

LOT 11651
Title: Richard Throssel (Cree) images
Date Created/Published: c1903-c1907.

Summary: Throssel photographed mostly at the Crow Reservation in Montana. Images show Crow, Northern Cheyenne, and Sioux camps and tepees; scenes on the Little Bighorn River; grave scaffolds; a War Dance, Owl Dance, and Medicine Tobacco Dance; portraits of children and adults, many on horses; and portraits of Curly [Crow army scout], White Man Runs Him [Crow], Two Moons [Northern Cheyenne], and Long Otter [Crow].

LOT 12319
7 Generation Games has additional photos from this lot available here.
Title: Sioux Indian tribes of North and South Dakota
Date Created/Published: c1905-c1908.

Summary: Teton Sioux (Brulé and Oglala) and Yanktonai: Portraits of men (including Red Cloud and other tribal chiefs, medicine men, and a sun dancer), women, and children, most identified and most wearing ceremonial or traditional clothing, including peace medals and scalp shirts; men riding horses, wearing headdresses, carrying rifles and coup-sticks, singing and drumming, praying, hunting, and preparing for war; women drying meat on racks, constructing tepees, carrying wood, and riding horses; a Hukalowapi ceremony; animal skulls; ceremonial pipes (calumets) and pipe bags; altars; and tepees. Blackfoot (Sihasapa): Portraits of men wearing traditional clothing; a man wearing a medicine headdress; a woman scraping an animal hide; a burial site; and tepees.

LOT 12321
Title: Siouan tribes and Arikara Indians of North and South Dakota
Date Created/Published: c1908.

12321-A-Hidatsa: Portraits of men, women, and children, including a family portrait, most identified, most wearing traditional clothing; a man holding a bow and arrows; a man holding incense over a medicine bundle; a man praying; an Eagle Catcher (wearing eagle-feathered clothing) standing on a rock tower; a man holding a vessel (bowl) near the water as part of the ceremony of the bowl; images associated with Hidatsa legends including a stone, a tree, and home of the “water monster;” a winter tepee camp; a bull boat; and an abandoned village.

12321-B-Mandan: Portraits of men, women, and children, many identified; ceremonial figures and objects including Numak-mahana, Scattered Corn woman (keeper of sacred objects), a Buffalo dancer, an Okipe (Okipa) ceremonial Buffalo dancer, a man holding a buffalo skull to the sky, turtle effigy drums, contents of a medicine bundle, and a pictographic record of sacred turtle custodians; women gathering rush, picking berries, and paddling a bull boat; men standing on river banks; and an earthen lodge. 12321-C-Assiniboine: Portraits of identified men, some wearing fur clothing; a man holding an eagle as part of a ceremony; women setting up tepees; and tepee camps.

12321-D- Arikara: Portraits of men (including a tribal chief), women (including the “keeper of the medicine bundle”), and children, some identified, wearing traditional clothing; group portrait of a medicine fraternity; objects and activities associated with the medicine and corn ceremonies including Bear, Buffalo, Ducks, and Night men singing and dancing, the Dance of the Black-Tail Deer, blessing children, carrying cedar, a medicine lodge, an altar, pipes, rattles, buffalo medicine, bear medicine, waving osiers (willows), praying to cedar, medicine bundles; women gathering rush; and tepees.

LOT 12841
Title: Portraits of Indians attending the Indian Congress of the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition
Date Created/Published: c1898.

Summary: Predominantly studio portraits of Dakota (Sioux) men and women in traditional or mix of Euro-American and traditional dress. Other tribes depicted include Assiniboin, Apache, Kiowa, Tonkawa, Arapaho, Pueblo, Sac and Fox, and Siksika (Blackfeet). Sitters include Dakota chiefs Hollow Horn Bear and American Horse, and Apache leader, Geronimo. Also includes images of the Indian encampment on the exposition grounds showing Pueblo making bricks, Cheyenne and Arapaho doing the Ghost Dance, a Siksika (Blackfeet) woman and baby in front of a tepee, and a group portrait of the Indian Congress attendees.

LOT 12887
Title: Dakota Indian portraits and scenes
Date Created/Published: c1880-1910.

Summary: Studio portraits of Rain in the Face, alone, and with his wife; Gall, Sitting Bull, alone and with Buffalo Bill; Sitting Bull’s children, Crow Foot and Standing Holy; and outdoor portraits of Sitting Bull’s family in front of his house and tepee. Also includes images of a group of Dakota grass dancers, cattle being slaughtered in a fenced corral for meal distribution to the Dakota, scaffold burials in trees, and Dakota and Euro-Americans gathered around Euro-American men at tables for census at Standing Rock Agency.

LOT 12921
Title: Native American life in the Plains region
Date Created/Published: 1870-c1940.

Summary: Images relating to the Atsina (Gros Ventre), Dakota, Kansa, Pawnee, Crow, Sarsi, Siksika (Blackfoot), Assiniboin, Cheyenne, and other tribes. Includes images of encampments with tepees, canvas tents, people, and horses, some possibly of the Crow Fair; Cheyenne men dancing in a street, the “Ghost Dance,” horses pulling travois; group portraits of Dakota men, women, and children, and of a Blackfeet(?) group in traditional dress; a Euro-American man at Pine Ridge, South Dakota; a group of Pawnee men in a field holding stickball racquets; three young girls playing with doll-sized tepees; and scaffold burials in trees.

LOT 12961
Title: Winnebago, Omaha, Iowa, Sioux, Chippewa (Ojibwa), Pawnee, and Arikara portraits and camp scenes
Date Created/Published: 1865-1880.

Summary: Formal portraits of individual men and women, including named tribal chiefs, and groups in native dress, with some Euro-American influences. Also numerous camp scenes, and groups with tepees or travois, and groups at a (treaty or council?) tables. Two images show what may be the Winnebago agent’s large frame house, with Indians lined up nearby.