41 Amazing Vintage Photos Showing Life of Native Americans in Western Canada during the Early 1930s

Between 1928 and 1934, the French-American anthropologist, artist, and writer Paul Coze (1903-1974) made four trips across western Canada collecting ethnographic objects for the Musée d’Ethnographie (Trocadero) in Paris and the Heye Foundation in New York.

An ardent admirer of Native American cultures, Coze helped organize the Cercle Wakanda, a group of Parisian “Indian hobbyists” who staged theatrical productions on Aboriginal themes. He also assembled a substantial private collection of ethnographic material from the Canadian Plains and Subarctic.

These photos from Provincial Archives of Alberta that he shot documenting everyday life of Native Americans in Western Canada in the early 1930s.

Cree girl playing with a child suspended in a small hammock, Waterhen River, Northern Saskatchewan
Cree men, women and children participating in a ceremony, Waterhen River, Northern Saskatchewan
Cree woman carrying domestic supplies, Waterhen River, Northern Saskatchewan
Cree woman smoking beside racks of drying meat, Waterhen River, Northern Saskatchewan
Cree women performing the round dance, Waterhen River, Northern Saskatchewan
Cree women working on a large moose hide, Waterhen River area, Northern Saskatchewan
Cree women working on a large moose hide, Waterhen River area, Northern Saskatchewan
Dancers going to a pow-wow
Dressing a horse for a ceremony, Nakoda summer camp near Banff, Alberta
Kamaistit inside a sweat lodge, Waterhen River Cree, Northern Saskatchewan
Kousahpatsican smoking his pipe, Waterhen River, Northern Saskatchewan
Kousahpatsican smoking his pipe, Waterhen River, Northern Saskatchewan
Nakoda riders Rocky Mountains, Alberta
Odjindja-Tchintchan, Nakoda medicine-man, near Banff, Alberta
Paul Coze greeting Wanhinkpe, Nakoda chief, Near Banff, Alberta
Pipe ceremony at Waterhen River, Northern Saskatchewan
Preparing for a ceremony, Southern Saskatchewan
Repairing a crack in a birch bark canoe with hot resin, Waterhen River Cree, Northern Saskatchewan
Squatipew, Cree, Star Blanket Band, Fort Qu’Appelle, South Saskatchewan
Blackfoot woman with hide-scraping tools, Alberta
Blackfoot woman, Alberta
Unidentified Man and child, Nakoda summer camp near Banff, Alberta
Unidentified Plains Cree at a powwow in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan
Unidentified Plains Cree at a powwow in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan
Women arranging their tepees, Southern Saskatchewan
Women cooking over an open fire, Nakoda summer camp near Banff, Alberta
Women scraping a large hide, Nakoda summer camp near Banff, Alberta
Young couple beside a lake, Waterhen River Area, Northern Saskatchewan
Young couple beside a lake, Waterhen River Area, Northern Saskatchewan
Young Cree woman between two elders, Waterhen River, Northern Saskatchewan
Young Cree woman with birch bark container, Waterhen River, Northern Saskatchewan
Young man inside a tepee holding pipe, Southern Saskatchewan
Young men in ceremonial dresses, Waterhen River, Northern Saskatchewan
Ashatcheway, a Cree medicine man, smoking an effigy pipe, Waterhen River Area, Northern Saskatchewan
Blue Bird and her sister, near Banff, Alberta
Blue Bird, Nakoda girl, near Banff, Alberta
Blue Bird, Nakoda girl, near Banff, Alberta
Ceremonial offering, Waterhen River, Northern Saskatchewan
Ceremony being observed by visitors, Southern Saskatchewan
Chief Two Bears beside his tepee, Southern Saskatchewan
Cree and Métis men performing the pipe ceremony, Waterhen River, Northern Saskatchewan

(Photos by Paul Coze via Provincial Archives of Alberta)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: