Sometimes its Just Hard to Tell

Our class discussion about Native American identity made me think about my favorite image of the 18th century.  Unfortunately I do not hold copyright on this image, so you must follow this link to view it.  The drawing is of a Stockbridge Indian and was done in 1777 by a German Officer named Johann Ewald who was serving with the British Army.  Looking at the image, it is hard to tell the race of this individual, who clearly displays both native and black features.  By the Revolutionary War the number of Stockbridge Indians in New England had declined significantly and many of them had mixed with blacks and mulattoes living in the area.  During the war many of the Stockbridge joined the Continental Army serving primarily in the Northern Theater and on Long Island.  At Fort Ticonderoga the Continental natives were forced to wear red wool caps to distinguish them from British allied natives.  The earlier image speaks profoundly about the mixed identity of this Stockbridge and how they were viewed during the American Revolution.

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