Winnebago Chief


Little Elk (Hoo-wa-ne-kaw) (Winnebago (Hotcangara)) was painted by James Otto Lewis (1799-1858) at the Treaty of Prairie du Chien (1825).

He was also painted by Charles Bird King and George Catlin (1796-1872) in 1828 in Washington, D.C., during a visit of a Winnebago delegation.

Little Elk fought on the side of the British in the War of 1812.

He subsequently changed allegiance and became a supporter of the Americans and promoter of peace on the western frontier.

He was a signatory of treaties between 1825 and 1832 which resulted in the removal of the Winnebago from the area of Wisconsin to lands west of the Mississippi River.

In this portrait, Little Elk is wonderfully attired in trade silver, a Presidential Peace Medal and ornamented leather necklace.

He carries a pipe tomahawk and has painted his torso with what appear to be bear paws.