1796 – Artist George Catlin Born

On this date George Catlin, famous painter of Native Americans and scenes from the Old West, was born. Catlin was interested in Native American life since his childhood, and had heard much about Indians from his mother, who at the age of eight had been captured by them. After studying art for many years, Catlin went West with William Clark (of the Lewis and Clark expedition). He traveled with Clark for two years, negotiating Indian treaties, and painting Iowa, Missouri, Otoe, Omaha, and and eastern . Catlin then focused on the Mississippi and Plains Indians, and he spent substantial time in Wisconsin with the . Catlin spent eight years visiting over 45 different tribes, where he participated in buffalo hunts and observed Indian ceremonies, games, dances and rituals. He emerged with . He is known to have said: “. . .nothing short of the loss of my life shall prevent me from visiting [the Indians’] country and becoming their historian.”  [Source: ]