Monchonsia, a Kansas Chief

Monchonsia, a Kansas Chief

Charles Bird King (1785-1862). Monchonsia, a Kansas Chief. Hand-colored lithograph, Plate 100. McKenney, Thomas L. & Hall, James. History of the Indian Tribes of North America. Philadelphia: F.W. Greenough, 1838-1844.
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White Plume (Mon-chonsia) (Kansa (Hutanga)), was a member of a large delegation brought to Washington, D.C. by Indian Agent Benjamin O'Fallon in 1821-1822.  The delegation included prominent chiefs of the Missouri, Omaha, Oto and Pawnee nations.  The purpose of the visit was to impress the Native American leaders with the power and generosity of the federal government in order to maintain peace on Western borders which the government was unable to defend.  The portraits painted of this delegation were the first which King was commissioned to execute.  In his portrait, White Plume wears earrings of wampum and hair pipes.  Hair pipes, often associated with Native American dress, were in fact trade articles manufactured in New Jersey from shell and later bone.  The seminal work on hair pipes by John C. Ewers can be found at http://www.sil.si.edu/DigitalCollections/BAE/Bulletin164/tptoc.htm.