U-ta-wa-un – Illustrated

Well, this may be the last of the Indians in Paris series, but then again it may not. Let’s see what the future brings.
Today I am sharing a number of cartoons found in the New York and Paris media in 1867 which may be directed at my good friend U-ta-wa-un. The humor of the times is often foreign to me. I don’t understand everything, but perhaps some of my readers will. In any case, it is interesting to find these items and fun to share them.

Cartoon 1

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, 23-Feb-1867, pg. 368

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, 23-Feb-1867, pg. 368



POLITE FRENCHMAN (to Sioux Indian)— “Ah ! oui-ya-as. I flatter myself that I have the honor to address Mistare Andrews Johnsons.”


This may actually be directed at the current President of the United States, Mr. Andrew Johnson, who was not terribly popular at this time. No matter who it is directed at, I don’t get the joke. Guess you had to be there. The Indian dude does not look much like a Sioux to me. But then, I don’t imagine too many common folks of this time period have much idea what a Sioux looks like.

Cartoon 2



Decorative plate from the series “World Fair” from the
Mona Lisa Portal collections at Museums of France
(used with permission)


In this illustration, the individuals are inside the Expo Palace in front of a French shop displaying pants and suspenders. The caption is in French and reads “Pourquoi ne portant pas de pantalon, ces sauvages américains veulent-ils acheter des bretelles?” It does not translate well. With help from several local friends it has been loosely translated as;

Since they are not wearing trousers why do these American Indians want to buy suspenders?


Cartoon 3

The Strangers in Paris - Comic Illustrastion - The Indian of the Rocky Mountains

La Vie Parisienne – Parisian life, 25-May-1867, Issue 21, page 365
from page of cartoons titled “The Strangers in Paris
( reproduction from original magazine owned by Ne-Do-Ba )



Transcription & Translation (Google Translate)

The Indian of the Rocky Mountains, the pale face. My father’s hair is white, he must know a lot. He would teach his son what red trail we meet diners at 32 cents, including wine


I believe the cartoonist is suggesting this Indian looks (or at least acts) like a white man and is experienced at tracking down meals that include wine at a decent price. I think the umbrella is priceless.
The reference to the white haired father, could be either a grandfather (old & wise) or perhaps the President of the U.S. (but he was not in the public favor at this time).
This cartoon strikes me as being aimed directly at my friend U-ta-wa-un and suggests he is practical but not at all what Paris was expecting from an American Indian.

Cartoon 4


La Vie Parisienne – Parisian life, Issue 21, 25-May-1867, page 372
from page of cartoons titled “Dress Rehearsal of the American Circus
( reproduction from original magazine owned by Ne-Do-Ba )



Transcription & Translation (Not Google Translate!)

Red Skins. – The big (or tall) snake – provided he thinks better of hissing.


And here is my friend U-ta-wa-un in his circus attire, complete with nose ring. Are those binoculars in his hand? Does he use them to search for his next meal? Is that We-no-na next to him with a nose ring?
His nose ring is mentioned in text in another section of this newspaper and I have one engraved image of him with a nose ring, but the other images do not show a nose ring. This suggests the nose ring was just part of a costume and perhaps only used when performing with the circus.
I do not get the joke, but my friend, Bob, suggested – perhaps since he’s so intimidating it’s a good idea not to agitate him.
So, here you have it folks – U-ta-wa-un Illustrated – cartoons from New York to the 1867 Paris Expo to performing with the American Circus. So, does this make him an International clown ;-)


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Canyon Wolf 
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