Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952)View Artist Biography
A Prairie Camp - Piegan
Volume, 9.5 x 12.5 inches
The camp was a combined one of the Piegan and many visitors from the Piegan of the north, the bloods, and the Blackfeet, in all some 230 lodges. If this poor remnant of a once so powerful tribe proved such an awe inspiring sight, what must it have been at the height of their existence! Red Plume describes the camp of his people when he was a youth as a circle a mile or more in diameter and in some places sixteen lodges deep. To have such a vast camp would have been worth long privation and hardship
Their lodges of buffalo skins and later of canvas, were of common tipi form. The testimony of the old men is that they used skin lodges while still in the forest, but this would seem doubtful, particularly as to their winter habitations. They likely begun gradually to use them as they moved southward on their hunting expeditions. The one distinctive feature of Piegan lodges is the characteristic decoration of the inner lining. They, like other Indians, often painted their lodges, so as to indicate either the coups of the owner or his medicine, or sometimes both.