MS 515 - Montana Historical Society Collection, Photos of Native Americans
Three Native American photos purchased by George Horsecapture from the Montana Historical Society.
- Other: Date acquired: 06/14/1985
- Horse Capture, George P. (Person)
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Biographical / Historical
George Paul Horse Capture Sr, "Nay Gyagya Nee" (Spotted Otter), was a member of the A'aninin (Gros Ventre) tribe. He was born in Little Chicago on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation on Oct. 20, 1937. He lived there with his grandmother and cousins and served in the U.S. Navy as a ship-fitter for 4 years and after being honorably discharged he enrolled in welding school in the San Francisco Bay area. After working as a welder's helper for five years, he applied for and became the youngest state steel inspector and only minority person at that time for the State of California.
Indian activism was a strong topic in the late 1960s, and George participated in the Alcatraz occupation. That experience prompted his enrollment at the University of California-Berkeley, where he obtained his bachelors in anthropology. After graduating from Berkeley, he moved to Montana and taught at the College of Great Falls from 1974-77 and attended Montana State University-Bozeman from 1977-79, where he received his masters in history. He became one of the first Native American curators in the country when he accepted the position of curator of the Plains Indian Museum at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyo., in 1979. During his tenure, George organized important exhibitions like "Wounded Knee: Lest We Forget" and "PowWow." He also organized the Plains Indian Seminars that allowed Indian people and Anglos to exchange ideas and present new scholarly material. George worked closely with Indian tribes throughout the Northern Plains, ensuring that their voice was heard in a museum setting. He founded the first powwow grounds associated with a museum in the country. Annual celebrations continue to be held at the Joe Robbie Powwow Gardens.
In 1994, he became the deputy assistant director for cultural resources at the National Museum of the American Indian-Smithsonian Institution, and later, senior counselor to the director. During his ten years at NMAI, he was instrumental in the organizing and presentation of the new facility on the Mall in Washington, D.C. He was also an advocate for repatriation that resulted in the returning of many sacred objects to the appropriate tribes. He retired in 2004 but continued to consult for many museums and lecture, publish and powwow. He has received numerous awards and honors for his work, including an honorary doctorate of letters, Montana State University-Bozeman; humanities award, Montana Committee of the Humanities; presidential appointee to the National Museum Services Board; and a member of the Montana Committee for the Humanities.
He is widely published and known as an international expert on Native American art, culture and history. He also produced a film and television program. His work includes "I'd Rather Be Powwowing" and "Indian Country." He took great pride in completing his life-long work of creating the Tribal Archive Project, a database that includes information from worldwide museum sources about the A'aninin. Throughout his career, he firmly believed in empowering Indian people. He was close to the A'aninin's tribal brothers, the Northern Arapaho. He was a keeper of tradition and knowledge in the Horse Capture family, and fulfilled his Sundance vows. He was a mentor to many. He was also a man of dichotomies. He loved to travel as long as he didn't have to walk too far. He loved great simple Native American food and French cuisine.
Language of Materials
Source of Acquisition
George P Horse Capture
Method of Acquisition
- Description rules
- Other Unmapped
- Language of description
- Script of description
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