Liam Brew, a senior at Loyola University Chicago, continues his HIST 398 fall internship by working on the drawings of Nicolas Point. The progress of his research can be followed at his internship blog.
This week I continued to analyze the collection of drawings which are the center of this internship. While last week I looked primarily at religious scenes and landscapes, this week I am analyzing battle and hunting scenes drawn by Point between 1841-1847. Despite a difference in subject matters and themes, I ran into the same problems from last week during the last few days. Many of the drawings are somewhat difficult to place chronologically and/or geographically, and therefore the majority of my time was spent looking through the research materials for any clues. One perfect example is a drawing depicting a handful of Flatheads attacking a much larger Blackfeet force, with a note from a previous researcher referring to Sacred Encounters. After finding the Encounters page which offered only a small contextualization for the scene, I used clues from the excerpt-namely the fact that it was during a tale end of a winter hunt and the fact that the Flatheads were attacking a superior force-to find the scene within the biography of Nicholas Point. As such, I was able to pinpoint the piece as having been drawn sometime around March 1844 during the tale end of the Winter Hunt, as well as the reasons behind the attack and what happened afterwards. This task was repeated many times over, my research materials becoming littered with Post-it notes and many of the drawings being well documented in terms of when and where they were drawn.
However, in many instances my investigation returned little in the way of clues or hints. For instance, many of the drawings depicted scenes of Native American warriors combating bears during hunting trips. The problem is that there are very few references to bears in any description of a hunting scene. One of the drawings show Gervais, the son of a well known Flathead chief, being attacked by a white bear during a hunting trip with the only indicator of time/place being the summertime foliage. Therefore, the next major hurdle is going to be closely scrutinizing each drawing that I’ve yet to place in the timeline so I can create a better chronological/geographic map of all of the drawings in each thematic section.