Hinmatóowyalahtq’it (Chief Joseph)

Charles Milton Bell American

Not on view

In 1879, while forcibly confined on a reservation in present-day Oklahoma, Hinmatóowyalahtq’it, or Chief Joseph, was permitted to travel to Washington, D.C., where he met with President Rutherford B. Hayes and presented his case for the return of the Nez Perce to the Pacific Northwest. As was common for Native delegates visiting the capital, he posed for a photographic portrait in Bell’s studio. Standing in an artificial landscape composed of a papier-mâché rock, faux moss, and a painted backdrop, Chief Joseph looks into the distance, allowing the viewer to study him without the threat of a returned gaze. This studio setting was used by Bell when photographing several Native American leaders, including Mahˇ píya Lúta, or Red Cloud.

Hinmatóowyalahtq’it (Chief Joseph), Charles Milton Bell (American, 1848–1893), Albumen silver print from glass negative

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.