12b. – Video – A Cree Chief –

This video raises the problem of what Kane records in his field notes vs. what appears in his published book as it relates to the story of Kee-a-kee-ka-sa-coo-way.

Video Script: A Cree Chief (R/T: 1:25)
In Paul Kane’s published book, Wanderings of an Artist, Kee-a-kee-ka-sa-coo-way is described as the head chief of all the Cree. But because we don’t know for certain whether Kane actually wrote this book himself, we have to piece together a picture from the most reliable sources to find out whether or not Kee-a-kee-ka-sa-coo-way was indeed Cree and a head chief.

Kane’s field notes, which are more reliable, imply that Kane at least believed Kee-a-kee-ka-sa-coo-way was Cree. The notes also say that Kane met him at Fort Pitt, which was well within Cree territory in the mid-19th century. But at that time, this territory was shared with the Plains Ojibwa, who were allied with the Cree in what was known as the Iron Confederacy. Interestingly, Kane’s field notes mention a chief Mukeetoo as an associate of Kee-ak-kee-ka-sa-coo-way and who historians tell us was Chief Black Powder, a Plains Ojibwa.

But Kane’s field notes don’t identify Kee-a-kee-ka-sa-coo-way as a chief, let alone a head chief. In fact, there was not really any such title as head chief in Cree culture. But the published book, Wanderings of an Artist, creates a different impression.

Now compare what Kane wrote in his field notes in September 1846 and what ends up in the book published under his name in 1859.

Proceed to Activity 12d. Compare Chief Text.

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